Malawi Volunteer FAQ

Volunteer in Africa » Volunteer in Malawi » Volunteer in Malawi Application

  • Give me some facts about Malawi

  • How is the weather in Malawi?

  • Which airport should I fly into?

  • Will I be picked from the Airport?

  • Do I need visa to enter Malawi?

  • What immunizations/vaccines will I need?

  • What about Malaria in Malawi?

  • Is it safe to drink tap water?

  • How is food in Malawi?

  • What clothing is appropriate? Any cultural restrictions?

  • What are the laundry arrangements?

  • What do I need to pack?

  • What about the electricity supply for laptops, hair-dryers etc?

  • Is internet service available?

  • What is the currency in Malawi?

    Give me some facts about Malawi

    Malawi is often referred to as the warm heart of Africa because Malawians are very warm and friendly. Its capital is Lilongwe and has a population of 11.6 million.

    The official language in Malawi is English. It’s currency is Kwacha.

    Malawi is landlocked. The third largest lake in Africa called Lake Malawi or Lake Nyasa covers 1/5 of Malawi. Lake Nyasa has more species of fish than any other inland body of water in the world.

    How is the weather in Malawi?

    The hot months are January - March while May - July are relatively cool and nights can be chilly, especially in the highlands. It is warm around Lake Malawi. The rainy season is from November to March. Carry lightweight clothing for areas around Lake Malawi area. Warmer clothes are advised for higher areas and May - July.

    Which airport should I fly into?

    Volunteers will be picked up from either Lilongwe International Airport (LLW) or Blantyre International Airport. Lilongwe International Airport is the main airport.

    Will I be picked from the Airport?

    Yes, you will be picked up from either Lilongwe International Airport (LLW) or Blantyre International Airport. Upon arrival, our volunteer coordinator in Malawi will have a placard bearing your name and Advance Africa at the arrival lounge.

    Do I need visa to enter Malawi?

    Citizens of Commonwealth countries such as UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada receive a free, automatic 30-day tourist visa at the point of entry. Other countries that receive a free visa on entry are USA and most European nations (except Switzerland). Visa extensions are free and give you up to a maximum total stay of 90 days. These can be arranged at the immigration offices in Blantyre and Lilongwe.

    What immunizations/vaccines will I need?

    If you are travelling to/from a country where yellow fever is present you will need to take a yellow fever vaccination.

    Vaccinations are not mandatory but highly recommended vaccinations include:

  • Diphtheria and tetanus
  • Polio
  • Hepatitis A & B
  • Typhoid
  • Yellow fever
  • Rabies
  • Meningitis
  • Malaria
  • Cholera
  • Consult your doctor for more details.

    What about Malaria in Malawi?

    Malaria is common in Malawi. To protect yourself, you should;

  • Visit your doctor 4-6 weeks before travelling for any necessary anti-malarial medication.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites by using insect repellant on exposed skin.
  • Wear long sleeved shirts and trousers especially in the evenings.
  • Spray you room with an insecticide and use a mosquito net around your bed.

    Is it safe to drink tap water in Malawi?

    We recommend that you purchase bottled water for drinking purposes. You can buy bottled water from supermarkets and most shops in Malawi.

    How is food in Malawi?

    The staple diet in Malawi is Nsima eaten with vegetables and fish or meat. Other common food in Malawi include; nthochi (banana) bread, mbatata (sweet potato) cookies, mtedza (peanut) puffs and zitumbuwa (banana fritters).

    What clothing is appropriate? Any cultural restrictions?

    Bring along some comfortable, casual and semi-casual clothing: sweat shirts, shorts, jeans, skirts and any other clothing that you would ordinarily wear. Include warm clothing for nights, especially if you volunteer in July and August. Avoid flashy items.

    When out in the community, it is good to follow local etiquette. Female volunteers need to wear pants and/or long skirts. Dressing in Malawi is quite liberal. However, approach it with cultural sensitivity in mind and you will be fine. Please ask when you are not sure what is and is not appropriate.

    What are the laundry arrangements?

    Volunteers are responsible for their own laundry. You will probably need to hand wash your clothes or pay someone to do your laundry.

    What do I need to pack?

    You will encounter hot days and cool nights. Bring clothes for all climates. Rough clothing is excellent.

  • Sleeping bag & sleeping mat
  • Medical kit
  • Insect repellent
  • Sun cream
  • Headache tablets
  • Plasters
  • Malaria tablets
  • Toiletries
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss.
  • Soap & razors
  • Towel, face towels and shampoo
  • Tampons/condoms
  • Clothes
  • Socks
  • Shirts
  • Jeans/long trousers
  • Underwear
  • Sweatshirt/jumper
  • Shorts, T-shirts, swimsuit
  • Skirt
  • Sandals/flip flops/thongs
  • Walking shoes
  • Small day-pack or bag to carry your daily items
  • Sunglasses
  • Money belt and pouch to hold your passport
  • Books
  • Torch & batteries
  • Water bottle

    Do not bring in too much luggage

    What about the electricity supply for laptops, hair-dryers etc?

    Before travelling, you need to know the type of electric plug and socket in your destination and also the voltage of the electric power, the frequency (Hertz) and any special requirements like fuses or earth connections that may interfere with the use of your equipment.

    The electricity supply in Malawi is 220/240 volts/50 Hz (240V 50 Hz D & G). The electric sockets are three-pin square (British-type).

    Remember that simple adapters do not convert voltage or frequency. Incorrect use may keep you from using your equipment, damage it and even cause personal injuries. Using a plug adapter just changes the shape of the prongs.

    Countries with different voltages and frequencies may use similar plugs. Check if you need a power converter and not simply a plug adapter.

    Is internet service available?

    Internet is available at internet cafes throughout Malawi. Many cybercafés usually charge just under USD $1 for an hour of browsing.

    What is the currency in Malawi?

    The currency is Malawi Kwacha. You will be able to change foreign exchange at the bank at the airport and also at any other banks in the major towns. U.S dollars are favoured.

    Do not accept offers to change money on the streets at good rates. You will only get cheated.

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