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Is it safe to travel to Malawi?

Is Malawi Safe to Travel?

Malawi, located in south-east Africa, borders Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique. It is a popular destination for both backpackers and worldly travellers: attracted by the lake (the third largest in Africa), the wildlife; did you know? The Big5 can be found in Majete National Park and the reputation of course. Malawi isn’t nicknamed ‘the Warm Heart of Africa’ for nothing! The people of Malawi are extremely friendly and that is one of the reasons why Malawi is safe to travel.

In this post, we will discuss the safety of travelling in Malawi and reflect on personal experiences.

Let’s begin by looking at the recent history of Malawi.

Historical and Political Context

Background and Independence

Malawi gained independence from Britain in 1964, and since then, it has maintained a peaceful stance. The absence of historical persecutions and a lack of civil wars make it a relatively stable destination.

Political Situation

Malawi has been a multi-party democracy since 1994, with minimal political unrest in recent years. The low threat level from terrorism sets it apart from other regions.

Unlike many other nations, Malawians haven’t fought amongst themselves: the country has never had a civil war.

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Health & Safety

COVID-19 Precautions

While the number of COVID-19 cases is relatively low, it’s essential to stay updated on travel restrictions and quarantine requirements. Refer to the Malawi Ministry of Health for the latest information.

Crime and Safety

Despite its economic challenges, Malawi boasts a low crime rate. Visitors are advised to take precautions, especially in major cities like Lilongwe, Blantyre, and Limbe.

Road Travel

Road travel is generally safe, but driving at night can be risky due to inadequate lighting. Visitors are cautioned about minibus and pick-up truck travel, recommending more reliable coach services.

Health Risks and Healthcare

Health Precautions

Visitors should consult their doctors 8-10 weeks before traveling to Malawi to get immunizations against various diseases. HIV/AIDS and malaria are prevalent, so appropriate precautions are essential.

Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia)

Schistosomiasis is found in freshwater in Malawi. Even if you swim in certain parts of the lake, consider taking recommended medication upon returning home for peace of mind.

Healthcare Facilities

According to the World Health Organization Report, Malawi health system ranks number 185 out of 190. It is impossible to comment on the quality of clinics and hospitals throughout Malawi, however, I recently visited a clinic for the first time and was seen very promptly after registering and having a quick check of my weight and blood pressure. Following my diagnosis, I was placed on a course of antibiotics and 5-days later my symptoms had gone.

Travel Recommendations

Staying Safe

With the right precautions, traveling in Malawi can be as safe as in any other country. Utilize common-sense safety measures to minimize risks.

Reputation and Rankings

Malawi consistently ranks as one of the safest countries in Africa and is deemed safer than the UK by some measures.

Solo Travel

Many travelers safely explore Malawi on their own. While using a reputable tour operator is a good option, solo travel is entirely feasible.

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Need more convincing?

Time and time again Malawi is listed as one of the safest countries in Africa; 6th in this poll by Answers Africa. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), Malawi is one of 15 countries that are safer than the UK.

The best way to remain safe when travelling Malawi is to use a reputable tour operator to arrange your travel and accommodation and use their guiding services to explore this magnificent country. That being said, thousands of people, safely, solo travel Malawi every year.

Don’t take my word for it – visit Malawi and see for yourself!

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How Safe is Malawi FAQs

Is Malawi Safe for Tourism?

Malawi is generally considered safe for tourism. It is often referred to as “the Warm Heart of Africa” due to the friendly and welcoming nature of its people. While it has its share of challenges, including some health risks and occasional petty crime, tourists who exercise common-sense precautions should have a safe and enjoyable experience in Malawi. It’s essential to stay informed about the current situation, follow local guidelines, and take necessary health precautions.

Can a U.S. Citizen Travel to Malawi?

Yes, U.S. citizens can travel to Malawi. U.S. citizens typically need a visa to enter Malawi, which can be obtained upon arrival at the airport or applied for in advance at a Malawian embassy or consulate. It’s advisable to check the latest visa requirements and entry conditions with the Malawian embassy or consulate in the United States before your trip.

Is Malawi Safe for Female Travellers?

Malawi is generally considered safe for female travellers. However, like in many other countries, female travellers must take certain precautions to ensure their safety. These include avoiding walking alone in quiet or poorly lit areas at night, using reliable transportation options, and dressing modestly to respect local customs. It’s also a good practice for female travellers in the region you plan to visit to research and follow specific guidelines.

Is Malaria a Risk in Malawi?

Yes, malaria is a risk in Malawi. Malawi is classified as a high-risk area for malaria transmission. Travellers to Malawi, including U.S. citizens, are strongly advised to take malaria precautions. This may include taking antimalarial medication, using insect repellents, wearing long-sleeved clothing, and sleeping under mosquito nets, especially in areas with a higher risk of malaria transmission. It’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before your trip to determine the most suitable antimalarial medication for your specific needs.

About the author

Originally from Malawi, Gabi grew up around the world as the daughter of a diplomat, but The Warm Heart of Africa soon called her home. She now lives in Lilongwe with her husband, three dogs, a cat, a tortoise, and six guinea fowl. She spends as much time in the bush or on Lake Malawi as she possibly can, enjoying life on the water or photographing the Big 5.

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