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Malawi is a developing landlocked country in southern Africa. Tourist facilities in major cities and in resort areas are steadily improving, but remain limited. Aging infrastructure and lack of investment have rendered electricity, water supply, and telecommunications unreliable in rural areas. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Malawi for additional information.


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Image of Malawi
Country Name: Malawi
Continent: Africa
Capital City: Lilongwe
Boundary Countries:

Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia

Recommended Hospitals in Capital:

Blantyre:  Blantyre Adventist Hospital
Lilongwe:  Adventist Health Centre
Makwasa:  Malamulo Hospital

Main Cities:

Lilongwe, Blantyre, Zomba, Monkey Bay, Chipoka, Mzuzu, Nkhotakota, Nkhata Bay, Chilumba, Karonga

Country Size: 118,480 sq km
Population: 13,603,181



Chichewa 57.2% (official), Chinyanja 12.8%, Chiyao 10.1%, Chitumbka 9.5%, Chisena 2.7%, Chilomwe 2.4%, Chitonga 1.7%, other 3.6%

Currency: Malawian Kwacha (MWK)
Predominant Religions:

Christian 79.9%, Muslim 12.8%, other 3%, none 4.3)

National Holidays: Independence Day (Republic Day), 6 July (1964)
Economic Status:

Landlocked Malawi ranks among the world's least developed countries. The economy is predominately agricultural, with about 85% of the population living in rural areas.


Malawi Armed Forces: Army (includes Air Wing and Naval Detachment)

US Presence:
U.S. Embassy in Lilongwe
P.O Box 30016
16 Jomo Kenyatta Road, Lilongwe 3, Malawi
Telephone: (265) 1 773 166
Document Requirements:

A passport, return ticket, and adequate funds are required for entry into Malawi. U.S. citizens traveling to Malawi for tourism, transit or business for 30-days or less can obtain a visa at the airports or border points of entry. The 30-day visa may be extended up to an additional 30 days prior to visa expiration. Currently, the Malawi Immigration Department is charging for all visa extensions as follows: a) A 30-day visa (or less) is granted at any port of entry and is Free b) Application for a visa extension for an additional 30-days (or less) is MK 5,000.00 c) Application for a second visa extension for an additional 30-days (or less) is MK 5,000.00 A visa extension application must be submitted prior to the visa’s expiration date. There is no guarantee the request will be granted. Americans wishing to volunteer, study, conduct research or business for more than 90 days in Malawi are responsible for requesting the correct type of visa from the Malawian Embassy or Consulate, prior to traveling to Malawi. There is no guarantee requests for changing one's immigration category (e.g., from tourist to Temporary Employment Permit) will be granted. Foreign citizens whose primary purpose of travel is to participate in religious activities (voluntary or paid) should obtain a Temporary Employment Visa (TEP) rather than a tourist visa through their sponsoring organization or business. Malawian immigration authorities have fined, arrested, and deported American citizens who entered Malawi with a tourist visa and proceeded to conduct other activities inconsistent with their tourist status (e.g. business or volunteer services). Occasionally, some airlines have required travelers to have a Malawian visa before boarding connecting flights in European airports. Malawian Authorities confirm that there is no requirement for obtaining a tourist visa for short stays (30-days or less) prior to arrival in Malawi. American citizens are reminded that they are subject to Malawi’s laws. Individuals that overstay on their visa, even unknowingly, have been fined, arrested and deported. Malawi charges all non-Malawians an airport departure tax which is payable only in U.S. Dollars. Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our web site. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information sheet.

Major Airports:

Airports:  42, Airports w/paved runways:  6

Lilongwe – Kamuzu International Airport (LLW/FWKI)
Lilongwe Airport, Malawi, ADL Operations, PO Box 30311, Lilongwe 3, MALAWI
Tel: +265 1 700 899
Fax: +265 1 700 913
Customs, hours: Sun-Wed 0400-1600, Th-Fri 0400-1730, Sat 0400-1930
Tel: +265 1 700 218
Fax: +265 1 762 899

Servicing Airlines:
Risks and Precautions:

Spontaneous civil disturbances, primarily related to labor and student strikes, occur, but are uncommon. U.S. citizens should avoid crowds, political rallies and street demonstrations and maintain security awareness at all times.

Even though Malawi is known as "the warm heart of Africa," there is a criminal element present. Most crimes against Americans involve property. Carjacking and residential break-ins are prevalent throughout Malawi. Perpetrators of these crimes are usually well-armed and may resort to violence with little provocation. Petty street crime (robbery and pick-pocketing) is common, and break-ins have also occurred in hotels/lodges throughout the country. American citizens are urged to avoid traveling on foot at night, especially in urban areas, as armed muggings and assaults have increased.  Specifically, expatriates have been targeted in Lilongwe, and several Americans have been injured. Even when walking in a large group, city streets should be considered unsafe after dark. Pedestrians should be cautious even during daylight hours. Visitors in need of transportation should request that hotel or restaurant management call a taxi or car service.

Wild animals may pose a danger. Travelers are advised that, even in the most serene settings, wild animals can pose a threat to life and safety.

Dress codes against short skirts on women and long hair on men no longer exist, but travelers may wish to dress modestly, especially when visiting remote areas.

Mortality Statistics:

Infant MR total:  20.75 deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth:  TOTAL 77.43 years   (male 74.78/female 80.34)

Immunization Indicators:

Required:  None

Recommended:  Hep A & B, Rabies, Typhoid
Boosters:  MMR, DPT, poliovirus

Infectious Disease Concerns:

degree of risk: very high

Food borne illnesses such as travelers’ diarrhea, giardiasis and hepatitis A occur commonly. Travelers are urged to avoid tap water, ice cubes and unsterilized raw fruits and vegetables. Schistosomiasis (also known as Bilharzia) and malaria are endemic in Malawi. Trypanosomiasis (African Sleeping Sickness) is transmitted by the bite of a tsetse fly common to game parks in Malawi. Other health risks include typhoid, tetanus, and rabies.

Overall Quality of Medical Services:

Medical facilities are rudimentary and most local medical providers do not speak English fluently. Medications are not consistently available; many American medications are not available at all. For any major medical problems travelers should consider obtaining medical treatment in South Africa where advanced medical care is available. Health care institutions and providers require payment (primarily cash) at the time of service, and may even require payment before service is given.

Providers in Network:
Direct Payment: 0
Referrals: 23
View Network Providers
Recent Medical Threats/ Concerns/Warnings:
Communications Info:

Country Calling Code:  +265

Internet Country Code:  .mw


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