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Malawi is located in the south eastern part of the African continent and it is bordered by Tanzania and Mozambique. This landlocked country has some of the best tourist destinations and that is why you will find many tourists lounging in the different destinations in the country. Before you travel to the different destinations in Malawi, there are a few things that you need to know so that by the time you get to the country you are well versed with the country that you are visiting.
Getting to Malawi
There are several flights from other countries that go to Malawi and most of these land at the international airport known as the Kamuzu international airport where you will get other means to take you around the country. There are no direct flights to this small country and this means that you will use different planes to get to the country but it is the only easy way. There are several catalogues from where you can get the different flights that get into Malawi for your safari.
Transportation within Malawi
As a tourist in Malawi, you will be moving to different destinations within the country and therefore will need to know how the transportation system in the country works and what is perfect for you. There are numerous transportation means that you can use around the country that is by either public transportation or private means.
There are rental cars on the market that you can get while on a safari in Malawi. The cars will be extremely many but it is better to get a 4by4 because they can get you anywhere you want to go even during the rainy season on the bad roads and this normally works when you plan on driving yourself around Malawi.
But if you book through the tour companies, you do not need to worry about transportation because everything about transport will be taken care of.
Malawi has a very good public transportation system and this is what makes it a good safari destination. As long as you know how to keep time, the various buses that are available will transport you at an affordable price so that you get to your destination on time.
And while travelling to places that near water bodies, there is a ferry that is available and it is known as the Ilala ferry and this will take you to the different destinations within the country. As a tourist, you need to know that the Ilala ferry never keeps time and therefore you need to be extremely patient, you need to have and make sure that you book the first class cabins so that you avoid the congestion on the ferry.
The food in Malawi
Malawi is known for her good food that is always prepared with ingredients straight from the garden. Their food can be found in the restaurants or along the streets but irrelevant of where you get the food from, it always has the same great taste. The staple food for the Malawians is Nsima, which is porridge like and it is made from either Maize or cassava. The Nsima dish can be served with a variety of other dishes therefore as you are in Malawi, make sure you get a good taste of the food that is served in the country.
Communication within the country
Communication in the country is a bit easy due to the fact that some of the locals speak English and it is also advisable that once you get into the country, you get yourself a local sim card so that you can easily call your friends and the different service providers and you do not need to worry about the signals even when you are in a remote place in the country.
For all those that cannot easily communicate, you will need a tour guide who will help with the translation between you and the locals.
There are over sixteen local languages in Malawi but the language that is mostly used for communication among the locals is the Chichewa as it is understood by almost everyone in the country. If you are a tourists and want to learn the Chichewa language, there are pamphlets that can be availed to you so that you can teach yourself the language to ease on your communication.
When should one travel to Malawi
The best time for one to travel to Malawi is during the dry season and although it is always the peak season, it is much better to travel around this time that runs from May to October and avoid the rainy season that floods most of the roads that lead to the various destinations. But this does not mean that you cannot visit the country any other time because it is an all-round tourist destination depending on the activities that you want to do.
The safety in Malawi
Malawi is extremely safe too visit because of the security that is provided by the government although it still advisable that you be extra careful with your valuable possessions because they might be pick pocketed from you especially if you are walking in a crowded place.
Health safety in Malawi
Malawi is well known for being a haven for malaria which means you need to prepare yourself before heading to the country. There are several vaccines that are required before you can gain entrance into the country and some of these include:
- Malaria vaccines and tablets due to the many mosquitoes in the country.
- Bilharzia, which is got from the Lake Malawi the largest water body in the country.
- A yellow fever vaccine is also needed before you are granted access to Malawi and you will also need to contact a doctor before travelling to Malawi.
- Other vaccines that are needed include the typhoid, tetanus, polio and diphtheria vaccines.
Money in Malawi
The local currency of Malawi is known as the Malawian Kwacha and it is what is used as a medium of exchange. The US dollar is also used but since in most cases the ATMs do not work or are faulty, it is better you exchange your money at the airport before travelling to other parts of the country because it might be harder for you to purchase anything if you do not have the local currency.
Getting the Malawian tourist Visa
You can either get your Visa from your home country embassy or get it on arrival at the International airport in Malawi. Payment for the Visa goes for only 70 dollars but note that not all countries can get their Visa on arrival which means that you will have to first look at the list of the those countries so you do not end up being denied entry into Malawi. The Visa days indicated on the Malawian visa do not necessarily mean that those are the days that you are supposed to spend in the country but the days that are indicated by the immigration officer are the ones that you should follow and remember to walk with your visa always in case you run into authorities. In case you are a South African citizen, you do not need a visa to access Malawi the only thing that you will need is your passport.
What you need to pack before heading out to Malawi
Just like any other country, there are a few essentials that you need to pack as you head out to Malawi and it does not matter what activities you will be carrying out during your stay. Some of the things that you need to pack are:
- Trekking shoes, the only way you can get to admire what the country has to offer is by trekking and therefore you will need comfortable shoes.
- A torch, the country experiences many electricity black outs and that is why it is advisable that you carry a torch for such times.
- Both warm and light clothes to match the ever changing climate in Malawi.
- Loose change that will act as tips for the tour guides.
Where to stay in Malawi
There are numerous accommodation facilities that are found in Malawi and you can choose any of those as long as they fit in your budget. The accommodation facilities are divided into three categories that is the budget accommodations, luxury accommodations and mid-range accommodations. When it comes to accommodation, it is better if you book early especially during the peak season to avoid any inconveniences.
It is sometimes hard to determine how much time you can spend in Malawi because there are way too many activities for one to carry out but given the chance, you can still join tours and visit different places at the same time so that you get to see most of the country. With the above information, you can easily pack your bag now and head out to Malawi for your safari.
Best Time to Travel/Climate
For the majority of travelers,the dry or winter season is actually the most appropriate (that is from April or May to the end of October or November. The likelihood of rain is minimal, temperatures during the day are largely pleasant (between 20◦s Celsius) and then low vegetation plus limited accessibility of water mean that viewing of game is at its finest. Nonetheless, some of the finest birdwatching can be done from November up to April while the Nyika orchids of are best toured from December up to March or April. The temperatures are somewaht by altitude in Malawi. During the hottest month (normally in November) highest temperatures will be approximately 30°C. but in the coolest month (usually July) highest temperatures reach the lower 20’s. On the highlands likeViphya,Zombaas well as Nyika) the nights are usually very cold. The warmest area, through the year, is theLower Shire Valley found in the lowest altitude. Rainfall is very rare through the dry months and even in the purported wet months, the rains are regularlybrief storms, as is characteristic of the tropics, and never does the climate severelyhinder the travelers. throughout the country, rainfall changes, with the high areas recording the highest amounts.
Health & Safety
It is recommended to Immunise against polio, hepatitis A,tetanus as well as typhoid. immunisationagainst Yellow fever may be needed only by travelerscoming from a yellow fever areas. There is a danger of malaria so prophylactics must be taken. getcurrent advice from your medical specialist. There is a danger of contracting also bilharzia if you bath in some parts of the stunning Lake Malawi nonetheless the danger is slight near the major beach hotels. This infection is somewhat easily treated whendetected. Malawi is also a high risk zone for AIDS.
Malawi is regarded a safe nation for tourists and locals are justlyrecognized for their sociability. Nevertheless, the normal precautions must be taken as advised for all tourists in anyplace.
Food and Drink
Splendid fish dishes are commonly available althoughparticularly around Lake Malawi. The majority hotels plus safari camps offer “western” cuisines with, probably, game plusirregularly local foods like maize-meal porridge. Also Soft drinks are availed everywhere. Then Beers – commonly Carlsberg, spirits like Malawi gin as well as South African tasty wines are equitably priced and frequently available. Bottled drinking water must be used in rather than tap water.
Dress is mostly informal. Swim-wear in additionto very skimpy wear should be limited to the beach- resorts. When on safari, natural colors must be worn in place oflight or bright colors. In the highlands, especially during the winter months from April to September, it is normally cold in the eveningsso sweaters will be required. Also it is very cold during the morning / night safari game drives.
The currency unit ofMalawi is the kwacha (shortenedas MK internationally and K locally). This kwacha separates into 100 tambala. Basically speaking, the kwacha is the only one used. Banks within the towns open weekdays starting from 0800 up to 1300. Additionally Mobile banks function along the shores of the lake and within the more distantareas. Travellers Cheques or even foreign -hard currency notes are extensively accepted. Keep away fromcurrency traders on theblack market. There isn’t a restrictiononthe amount of foreign- currency brought into the countryalthough it should be declared and well accounted for on leaving. just MK3000 of the local currency is allowed forexport. There are ATMs operating 24-hour in Mzuzu,Lilongwe as well as Blantyre. Merely local currency is distributed and that is restricted to about the equivalent of US$140,GB£85 and Euro110 dependent on exchange rateswithin a duration of 24 hours.