What you need to know

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Before you leave for Malawi or Zambia you will need to think about administration and health procedure. Visa, vaccinations, money, international insurance and medical precaution are little details that can make a big difference in your trip.All you need to know before a trip to Malawi and Zambia is here. If you have any questions we are at your disposal to answer.

Passport and visa

Malawi
A passport valid for at least six months after you leave the country with, at least, 2 blank pages is necessary to travel to Malawi. Since October 2015 Malawi requires travellers, depending on their country of origin, to buy a visa in order to stay in the country and state the number of days they are planning on staying. This visa is valid for 30 days and you can extend it up to 60 days more for a total of 90 days maximum. It will cost you 5000 Malawi kwacha (MWK) to extend your visa for 30 days and 10000MWK for 60 days.
2 options of visa depending on the kind of trip you are planning:

  • Single entry visa: US$75 if issued within Malawi and US$100 if issued abroad. With a single entry visa, the traveller is granted permission to enter Malawi, the visa is cancelled as soon as the visitor leaves the country. If you are planning to stay only in Malawi, this is the best option for you.
  • Multiple entry visa: US$150 if issued within Malawi and US$220 if issued abroad. A multiple entry visa allows the traveller to make multiple entries into Malawi within the validity of the visa. If you are planning to leave Malawi and come back during your trip, for example to Zambia, this option might interest you.

Entries into Malawi can be made at any land border or airport. You can request your visa from any foreign Malawian office. You will also be able to request your visa at your arrival in the country. If you chose this option and in order to avoid any inconvenience at the port of entry, we recommend you fill out the visa application form in advance. As some clients experienced trouble entering the country without requesting the visa in advance, we recommend you to carry a proof of your flight back and any document that could support your visa request.

Don’t forget to bring dollars with you, any other currency may not be accepted. Dollars are necessary for your visa fees and widely accepted within Malawi and Zambia.

Zambia

if your trip includes a visit to our beautiful neighbour you will need a specific visa to cross the border. The Zambia visa costs US$50 and you will be able to buy it at the border. Your Malawian Style guide will help you if needed but the procedure is very simple, no form needed.

Remember that on your way back from Zambia to Malawi, if you opted for a single entry visa when you arrive in Malawi, you will need to buy a new visa.

Health and vaccination
Coming to Malawi and Zambia means facing a totally different world, a few precautions need to be taken in order for you to fully enjoy your trip and avoid any bad surprises! We highly recommend you speak with your doctor before your trip to make sure you are not missing any information and to answer all your specific questions.

Routine vaccination
Before you leave for your trip make sure you are up-to- date on your routine vaccines: MMR (measles-mumps- rubella), diphtheria-tetanus- pertussis, chickenpox and polio are on the list. Vaccination against hepatitis A and typhoid is suggested and you should discuss with your doctor the necessity of hepatitis B and rabies depending on the type and length of trip planned.

Malaria
Both Malawi and Zambia are situated in a malaria risk area and prophylaxis is highly recommended. We advise you to schedule an appointment with your doctor in order to decide which kind of medicine will suit you best and to start the treatment before your trip. To avoid mosquito bites, it is recommended to wear repellent, long sleeves and long pants during the evening as well as sleeping under a mosquito net and using your fan.

Yellow Fever
There is no yellow fever in Malawi but Zambia is a risk area. If you are planning on going there you will have to get the vaccine. Don’t forget to carry your yellow fever certificate with you, you could be asked to show it at the border.

Bilharzia
If you want to swim in Lake Malawi, be aware that there is a risk of contracting bilharzia. The risk is lower around lodge areas but we recommend you to take the appropriate medication following your stay by the lake. Praziquantel is the most effective medication, it is sold in every pharmacy in Malawi, and very cheap.

Water
Water is sold very cheaply all over the country. We strongly recommend water be drunk only when bottled, or previously boiled.

Money
US dollar is widely accepted in Malawi and Zambia, bring some but you may also need local currency. As Malawian and Zambian kwachas are not available abroad we recommend you to change or withdraw local money upon your arrival at the airport. Remember to advise your bank of your trip in order to avoid any problems with your credit card whilst in Africa.

Cash machines and ATM’s are available in big cities but do not always work. Keep in mind that payments by card are rarely possible. When they are, due to number of power cuts or network issues you might not be able to pay with you card, consequently we recommend you to always carry cash to avoid any inconvenience. Before leaving check that you benefit from an international travel insurance and if you are planning any specific activities such as climbing a mountain, diving or bungee jumping at the Victoria Falls you might need a specific insurance.

All you need to know before a trip to Malawi and Zambia is here. If you have any questions we are at your disposal to answer.