Updated June 2020
When you think of holidays, you think packing, booking a flight, accommodation and sun cream, what you may not consider is administration and health procedure. Visa, vaccinations, money, international insurance and medical precautions are also part of the trip but are often forgotten. As we know all the procedures, we created a short guide to help get you through this not-so-fun part of travel.
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
Top of the list and the first thing you need to think about: passport and visa.
In order to travel to Malawi, you will need a passport valid for at least six months after you leave the country and make sure you have, at least, 2 blank pages.
Malawi requires travellers, depending on their country of origin, will need to buy a traveller’s visa IN ADVANCE in order to enter the country. You can start and complete your application HERE.
- Single entry tourist visa (valid for 30 days): US$50 ppWith a single entry visa, the traveller is granted permission to enter Malawi, the visa is cancelled as soon as the visitor leaves the country but the applicant is entitled to extend this visa at a local immigration office for a fee after the 30 days for a further 30 days, this can be done a maximum of two time.
In order to travel to Zambia, you will need a passport valid for at least six months after you leave the country and make sure you have, at least, 2 blank pages.
Zambia requires travellers, depending on their country of origin, will need to buy a traveller’s visa either in advance on on arrival at most ports of entry in order to enter the country. Your Crafted Africa guide will help you if needed but the procedure is very simple, no form is needed. The standard tourist visa is valid for 30 days.
- Single entry visa: US$25 ppWith a single entry visa, the traveller is granted permission to enter Zambia, the visa is cancelled as soon as the visitor leaves the country.
Don’t forget to bring dollars with you, any other currency may not be accepted. Dollars are necessary for your visa fees and are widely accepted within Malawi and Zambia.
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! Firstly, all travellers entering Malawi or Zambia will need to show a trackable COVID-19 vaccination certificate to enter. If you are unvaccinated, you will need to provide a negative PCR COVID-19 test that has been taken no more that 72hrs prior to arrival in the country. We highly recommend you speak with your doctor before your trip to make sure you are not missing any information regarding other recommended vaccinations or medication and to answer all your specific questions.
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 are suggested and you should discuss with your doctor the necessity of hepatitis B and rabies depending on the type and length of the trip planned.
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. HERE are some antimalarial options recommended by the CDC.
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.
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 take the appropriate medication following your stay by the lake. Praziquantel is the most effective medication, it is sold in every pharmacy and is very cheap.
Water is sold very cheaply all over the country. We strongly recommend water be drunk only when bottled, or previously boiled.
US dollar is widely accepted in Malawi and Zambia, but you may also need local currency. As Malawi Kwacha and Zambia Kwacha 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 the number of power cuts or network issues you might not be able to pay with your card, consequently we recommend you always carry cash to avoid any inconvenience.
You are now almost ready for your trip! You should add international travel insurance to your to-do list. If you are planning any specific activities such as climbing a mountain, diving or bungee jumping at the Victoria Falls you might need specific insurance. Now the fun part begins, packing.