Malawi

Malawi

Use Normal Level of Caution

The Republic of Malawi is located in southern Africa, east of Zambia and northwest of Mozambique. The population is about 17 million people. The government is a multi-party democracy with a president as chief of state and head of government.

Malawi was made a British protectorate in 1891, known as Nyasaland and became the independent nation of Malawi in 1964. Malawi is one of the world’s least developed countries, and the economy depends on foreign aid. From time to time, aid has been frozen due to concerns about corruption or human rights issues. The country faces problems of population growth, corruption, and HIV/AIDs.

Travellers can enjoy two UNESCO World Heritage sites, Lake Malawi National Park and Chongoni Rock Art Area, as well as very friendly people, beautiful vistas, and wildlife at wildlife reserves and national parks.

Currency MWK: Malawi Kwacha
Language English; Chichewa commonly spoken
Capital Lilongwe
Recent Alerts 3
Latest Alert March 19, 2017 - Cholera appears in Nsanje, Malawi

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in Malawi. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Hepatitis A

There is a significant risk for hepatitis A virus exposure in Malawi through contaminated food or water.

Hepatitis B

There is a significant risk for acquiring hepatitis B in Malawi.

Typhoid Fever

Unvaccinated people can become infected through contaminated food and water in Malawi, especially when visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Yellow Fever

There is no risk of yellow fever transmission in this country. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers over 1 year of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited more than 12 hours through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Rabies

Rabies occurs in the Malawi. Travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk.

Sleeping Sickness (Type 1)

There is an increased risk for travellers spending a lot of time outdoors or visiting game parks. Travellers to urban areas are not at risk.

Cholera

Cholera outbreaks occur in Malawi. The risk to travellers is low unless living or working in poor sanitary conditions, drinking untreated water or eating poorly cooked or raw seafood in this country.

Chikungunya Fever

Chikungunya fever has occurred in this country.

Dengue Fever

Outbreaks of dengue fever may occur.

Schistosomiasis

This disease is present in Malawi and is acquired through contact with fresh water, such as swimming, bathing, or rafting. Well-chlorinated swimming pools and contact with saltwater in oceans or seas will not put travellers at risk for schistosomiasis.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis occurs in Malawi. Travellers to Malawi are at risk for tuberculosis if visiting sick friends or family, working in the health care field, or having close prolonged contact with the general population.

Malaria

All areas of Malawi are at risk for malaria.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to Malawi.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is a significant risk of exposure to hepatitis A for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is a significant risk of infection with hepatitis B for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Typhoid Fever Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to typhoid fever in this country through consumption of unsafe food and water. Since exposure to unsafe sources is variable within this country, the vaccination against typhoid fever is generally recommended, especially when visiting smaller cities or rural areas, where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Yellow Fever Vaccine

The yellow fever vaccination is not recommended. However, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers over 1 year of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited more than 12 hours through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Rabies Vaccine

Pre-travel vaccination against rabies is recommended for travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) since they may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Persons with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk and should be vaccinated.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to Malawi.

Anti-malarial Drugs

Recommended anti-malaria medications include atovaquone-proguanil, mefloquine or doxycycline. Resistance to chloroquine and sulfadoxime-pyrimethamine has been reported.

Safety and Security in Malawi

Emergency Numbers

199
997

Personal Safety

Most travel to Malawi is trouble free. Petty crime is common, including pickpocketing and theft. Carjackings do occur. Keep doors locked and windows up. Do not carry valuables or large amounts of cash. Always keep valuables out of sight. Avoid walking in isolated areas, and avoid walking at night. Tourists have been targeted walking from the Old Town to the new Capital City. If mugged or robbed, do not resist as the assailants are usually armed.

Thefts are known to be common at main bus stations in Lilongwe, Blantyre, main ports for the Llala ferry, and Kenyetta Drive. Carjackings are known to occur in urban areas and at the borders of Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Be very cautious of anyone asking for a ride, claiming to be a tour guide or offering food or drink. There are reports of people being robbed after their food or drink is drugged.

There is a high road fatality rate in this country. Road conditions can be poor, and vehicles can be in disrepair.

There are stiff penalties for drinking and driving and speeding.

Homosexuality is illegal in Malawi.

There are heavy penalties for drug possession, sale or use.

Extreme Violence

There is low risk of violent crime in Malawi.

Political Unrest

Large demonstrations do occur in Malawi. Always avoid all public gatherings and demonstrations.

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