For international volunteers coming to Malawi from abroad, here’s some important information to read before your departure:
Visas and Immigration
A full valid passport is required for entry into Malawi, though visitors from many countries do not need to pre-arrange visas before their departure. For a stay of less than 30 days, a tourist visa will be issued free of charge at your point of entry. For stays longer than 30 days, visitors will need to visit the immigration offices in Blantyre and pay for an extension.
Travellers to Malawi should visit a clinic in their home country before departure to consult a medical professional on the immunizations needed. Tetanus, polio, typhoid, and hepatitis A vaccinations are advised. Yellow fever vaccinations are not required for Malawi, but if a traveller is coming from a country with risk of yellow fever, proof of vaccination is required upon entry. Anti-malaria prophylaxis (pills) should be strongly considered, as there is a risk of malaria in all parts of the country.
Other Important Information
The time zone in Malawi is GMT +2. It is one hour ahead of European time, seven hours ahead of eastern US time, and ten hours ahead of western US time.
The international country code for Malawi is +265. When dialling a Malawian number from another country, the first 0 of the phone number should not be dialled.
Major hotels and restaurants accept credit cards, but credit card use is limited (especially outside cities). Volunteers can take out cash in the local currency, the Malawian kwacha, from automated banking machines.
What to bring
- Bug spray
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Some dress clothes/office-appropriate clothes (depending on your volunteer position)
- US dollars (to be exchanged for Malawian kwacha at a forex bureau or used at a tourist location)
- Mosquito net (easily purchased in Malawi)
- Photocopies of your passport
- First-aid kit
- Plug adaptors (Malawi uses three-pronged plus, the same as those used in Great Britain)
- Your own laptop, especially if your volunteer work will require the use of a computer
- Unlocked cellphone (SIM cards and airtime are easily purchased upon arrival)
- Hand sanitizer
- Water bottle
- Travel insurance information
- Books and movies for quiet down-time