Comprehensive, temporary travel restrictions take effect in Malawi on Wednesday, April 1st. International scheduled flights to and from Malawi as well as passenger transport on roads in and out of Malawi will be suspended. For more information about coronavirus, see the section Health.
Large demonstrations can be arranged at short notice. Norwegians are encouraged to exercise extra caution; Follow local media and follow the advice of the Malawian authorities, avoid large crowds and avoid unnecessary traffic in and between cities when demonstrations are underway.
The number of violent demonstrations and burglaries has increased sharply since the May 2019 presidential election. Burglary occurs in all residential areas, including small hotels and guesthouses. When choosing a home/ accommodation in Malawi, the site’s preventative security measures should be considered.
Most visitors enjoy a hassle-free stay in beautiful and pleasant Malawi. There is little crime compared to neighboring countries, but pocket theft occurs. However, the greatest risk is related to poor infrastructure and transport safety.
In October 2017, riots occurred in the mountainous region and the Mulanje district in southern Malawi as well as the three neighboring districts of Phalombe, Thyolo and Nsanje. Around ten people were reported killed and several attacked, including two tourists. The situation seems to have calmed down, but travelers in the aforementioned districts are nevertheless advised to pay extra attention to personal safety and follow the local media.
- Countryaah: Lilongwe is the capital of Malawi. Check to find information of population, geography, history, and economy about the capital city.
The terror threat is considered small. However, like other countries, Malawi can be hit by terrorist attacks without warning.
Pocket theft occurs, and especially near the markets and bus stations in Lilongwe and Blantyre. One should therefore be wary of this. Robbery can occur and you should not carry large sums in cash or visible valuables. During the daytime one can usually move safely in most places, but among other things. the absence of street lights means that after dark, areas should be avoided where there are few people. Residents of the larger cities should be aware of the security around the homes as armed burglaries in the evening and night hours can occur, especially in Lilongwe, Blantyre and Zomba. It is recommended to have guard (s), alarm and grille at exterior doors and windows, as well as barbed wire and/or electric fence.
Smuggling, possession and use of narcotic drugs are strictly prohibited and can result in severe penalties.
Corruption is common in Malawi – even within the police. Do not accept money claims (fines) without involved officials presenting identity and service cards. If you have to pay fines, you must ask for a receipt.
Buying uncut gemstones is illegal.
Traffic and transport: Malawi has left-hand traffic. Safety belts are required. There are many traffic accidents in relation to the number of vehicles, and traffic is considered the greatest safety risk. This is due to a consistently poor technical standard at the car park, overloading and little respect for speed limits. Drivers should exercise extreme caution in respect of other road users, holes in the road, abandoned roadside vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians and animals.
Driving in the dark poses a particular risk and should be avoided outside the city centers as many cars do not have working lights. Travel between cities in public mini-buses and vans should be avoided. The alternative is larger and more reliable buses that run between the major cities. Mobile phone use is prohibited when driving.
Political turmoil: Riots and political demonstrations occur. Care should be taken to seek out demonstrations, and it is important to stay informed through local media.
Sexual orientation: Gay acts are prohibited in Malawi, and violation can result in several years in prison.
Natural disasters: Floods can occur in river valleys in parts of Malawi during the rainy season. Then short but heavy rain showers can cause rivers to cross their shores in no time. Malawi is often exposed to drought periods. As a result, crops can fail and food security increases among the country’s poorest. The frequency of earthquakes in the area is low, but Malawi is part of the Rift Valley which is known for earthquakes at irregular intervals. The embassy encourages Norwegians in the country to become aware of the precautions that should be taken before, during and after any earthquakes.
Travel registration: Norwegian citizens staying for a shorter or longer time in Malawi are encouraged to register on reiseregistrering.no or at the embassy on arrival. Norwegian citizens are encouraged to have valid travel insurance.
Always read the insurance terms carefully beforehand, and be aware of the following:
- Does the insurance cover the country you are going to?
- Is the insurance valid for the entire duration of the trip?
Most travel insurance policies have exemption clauses that include existing illness/chronic illnesses. If you are going to do special activities during your stay abroad, such as extreme sports, you should investigate whether it is necessary to take out additional insurance. If you are affected by illness or accident during a temporary stay abroad, you should contact the insurance company (alarm center) or tour operator. You may also need advice or practical help from a nearby foreign service station.
Most trips abroad go smoothly, but remember that everyone can get sick or be exposed to accidents – also abroad. Therefore, be well prepared!
Local emergency numbers: Police – Lilongwe 01 796 333, Blantyre 01 823 333, Mzuzu 01 320 544 or 01 311 333
Fire: Lilongwe 01 757 999 or 01 751 444, Blantyre 01 871 999, Mzuzu 01 332 177
The numbers below can only be dialed from landlines: Police 997, Hospital 998,
Hospital – Lilongwe:
- Kamuzu Central Hospital: 01 117 47260 or 017 54 725
- MASM Clinic (at Ufulu Road in Area 43) 0888 189 070 or 01 761 743
- ABC Clinic 01 761 670
- After closing time: AMS Doctors 0888 211 002 or 017 50404
- Blantyre: 01 874 333 or 01 877 333
- Mzuzu: 01 320 044 or 01 320 116
In the event of an emergency, information sent out from the embassy will primarily be found on the embassy’s website, as well as on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website. The embassy’s phone number is +265 1 774 211.
Outside the embassy’s opening hours, the public can contact the UD’s 24-hour operating center on tel. +47 23 95 00 00 or by e-mail – [email protected] The telephone number of the UD’s switchboard is 22 24 36 00.
Said Norwegians must be reported to local police in Norway. Relatives in Norway can call 02 800 and then come directly to their local police district.
Please note that entry regulations may change. The Foreign Service is not responsible if the following information on entry regulations or visa requirements is changed at short notice. It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid for entry and to familiarize themselves with the current entry rules for each country.
From 1 October 2015, Norwegian citizens must have a visa to enter Malawi.
Norwegians can apply for a visa in advance at the Malawi High Commissioner in London or obtain a visa on arrival at Malawi. If a visa is obtained on arrival in Malawi, the Embassy recommends that all travelers carry with them completed documentation, as well as having USD in cash equivalent to the fee for the desired visa. See the website of the Malawi High Commissioner for the necessary documentation as well as the amount applicable to the type of visa.
We also note that foreign citizens with permanent residence in Norway may be subject to other visa requirements for Malawi.
Police and immigration authorities carry out checks on foreigners regarding valid stay in the country. It is recommended that everyone has a passport and a valid visa at all times. Alternatively, you can have a copy of your passport, but remember in case of a copy of the visa stamp page. The inability to document a valid stay in the country is in itself sufficient grounds for being arrested.
Malawi is yellow-free and wants to remain so. Therefore, the authorities require that you must present a valid yellow fever card if you come from an area with yellow fever (or are in transit at an airport in a country with yellow fever for more than 12 hours).
For the latest up-to-date information on Malawi travel regulations, travelers are encouraged to check with the Malawi High Commissioner in London.
It is the traveler’s responsibility to ensure that travel documents, passports, visas etc. are valid.
Coronavirus (covid-19): Comprehensive, temporary travel restrictions take effect in Malawi on Wednesday, April 1st. International scheduled flights to and from Malawi as well as passenger transport on roads in and out of Malawi will be suspended. Domestic passenger transport on the road, passenger trains and passenger boats is also affected by the travel restrictions. Norwegians in Malawi are encouraged to read and listen to local media for updated information.
The Public Health Institute of Malawi is responsible for coronavirus readiness in Malawi. Malawian authorities are checking air passengers on arrival in Lilongwe and Blantyre, and arrivals must fill out a health declaration. Norwegians must expect to be quarantined upon arrival in Malawi. See the Malawian Ministry of Health’s Facebook page for updated information including updated quarantine rules.
Norwegian travelers and Norwegians staying in Malawi should keep abreast of the development of the corona virus. Feel free to follow local authorities’ advice, guidance and instructions on how to deal with the situation. The Institute of Public Health provides advice on infection control when traveling. You can find more information and guidance from Norwegian health authorities on the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
The quality of health care is very varied, but is generally not in accordance with Northern European, Western standards. If you become seriously ill, you will usually be flown out of Malawi for treatment in South Africa, possibly to Europe. It is therefore very important to take out travel insurance that has good coverage for such incidents before leaving Norway.
The embassy refers to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health for health professional travel advice and guidance for Norwegians traveling to Malawi.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic has affected a significant portion of the population and it is estimated that approx. Ten percent of Malaysians between the ages of 15 and 49 live with HIV (National Statistics Office, 2010). Unprotected sex involves a significant risk of infection for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
The water in the cities can be drunk after boiling/filtering. If you do not have the opportunity, it is recommended to buy water. It is easily accessible.
Personal hygiene is especially important in hot and humid climates. Wounds are easily infected and should be cleaned and covered. Water, soap and plastics are usually sufficient. Fungal infections in the skin may occur.
Malawi is considered to be a risk area for car resin. For this reason, swimming in rivers and fresh water is not recommended. For information on car resin, see the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, or contact your local medical office.
Vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis are recommended. Contact the Norwegian health authorities/vaccination clinic for updated advice well in advance of departure.
Rabies vaccine is recommended if you expect to be in close contact with animals.
Time difference in relation to Norway, +/- 0 when it is summer time in Norway, +1 when it is winter time (GMT +1).
The current is at 220 volts. However, devices with valuable electronic components should be protected with a surge protector as the current is unstable. This is usually bought in the largest cities.
There are two mobile networks – Airtel and TNM – in all cities and most other areas. If you are going to use a local mobile phone with a prepaid card, you can easily obtain a sim card from a local mobile phone dealer. It is advantageous to open mobile phones with a binding before leaving Norway. Norwegian mobile phone subscriptions may not work in Malawi.
The Internet offering is diverse (including Burco, Skyband, Globe, Tonse, MTL) and growing. Most hotels and hostels have relatively good possibilities for wireless internet connection.
According to allcitycodes, the national telephone code is +265, and the internet domain is.mw.
The currency unit is the Malawian kwacha. Visa, American Express and in some cases MasterCard are accepted by major hotels and tourist sites (often for a fee). They can also be used to raise money in the major cities’ bank branches, exchange offices and for ATM withdrawals. ATMs are relatively easily accessible in larger cities such as Lilongwe, Blantyre, and Mzuzu, but are otherwise not widely used. Cash can also be exchanged at exchange offices and banks.
Normal opening hours: Most shops close between 5pm and 6pm. Some supermarkets are open from 7am to 8pm. Many small shops close two hours in the middle of the day. Friday afternoon, many Muslim business owners shut down to participate in Friday prayers.
Banks: On weekdays the opening hours are from 08 to 15. On Saturday, most banks are open between 09 and 12. Most public offices are open from 07 to 17. It is recommended to visit the offices between 09-12 and 14-16.
National Holidays (2017): January 15 (Chilembwe day), March 3 (Martyr’s day), April 13 (Tiny Thursday), April 14 (Long Friday), April 17 (Easter Sunday), May 1 (Workers’ Day) day), May 14 (Kamuzu day), July 6 (Independence Day), October 9 (Mother’s Day), and December 25 (Christmas Day). When a holiday falls on a weekend in Malawi, it usually triggers a day off the following Monday.
Local customs: Most Malaysians appear to be helpful, positive and outgoing. Fraudulent and loud voices, visible drunkenness, profanity/ugly use of words and disrespectful accusation can be taken badly – especially by the elderly. The costume is conservative.
When you meet a Malawian, it is common to hand-greet, and then a small greeting ritual follows “How are you, your family”, etc. It is common to introduce yourself after exchanging greetings. Thank you for your service.
English is the official language, and the national language is chichewa. If you travel in the countryside, you will find that few speak English, but in the larger cities you can usually understand English.
Climate: Malawi has tropical/subtropical climate. The year can be divided into three seasons. The cold season, which lasts from May to August with July being the coldest month, the warm season from September to November, and the rainy season which normally lasts from December to March/April. During the cold season of the year, the daytime temperatures are around an average Norwegian summer day, but have cool nights. It is recommended to use a high sun factor sunscreen to protect the skin and to drink plenty of water to avoid drying out.
There are large elevation differences in Malawi – from below 100 meters. to mountains over 3000 meters above sea level. A significant part of Malawi is located at 1000 meters above sea level. and higher. Here it can go down to zero degrees at night during the cold season.
It is forbidden to photograph military facilities and their surroundings. Be careful when shooting outside the national parks. In general, one should also ask about law before taking pictures of people.