Malawi Tour & Safari Operators
There are a number of companies in Malawi which organise tours and/or safaris for travellers. They offer services from simple accommodation booking to full length, tailor-made guided tours. Their knowledge of Malawi is excellent and they will be able to suggest itineraries to fit all wishes, requirements and budgets. They can be viewed here.
Car Hire in Malawi
Car hire companies are based in Lilongwe and Blantyre, with desks at the airports. Cars can be delivered to and collected from any other location. Standards of vehicles vary and hiring can be expensive. Two reliable, well-priced companies are Sputnik Car Hire and SS Rent A Car. A number of the local Tour & Safari Operators (above) also offer car hire.
Driving in Malawi
With relatively short distances between places of interest, reasonable road surfaces and little traffic, Malawi is a good country for self drive. Most of the main roads are tarred but narrow, with reasonably maintained surfaces. Potholes can occur on any road and speeds should be adjusted with this in mind. However, the general quality of roads is good by African standards. Driving is on the left. Expect to find people and animals on any road. Driving at night is to be avoided. Breakdowns are traditionally indicated by placing bush or tree branches at the side of the road behind the vehicle, but red triangles are strictly needed. Petrol is widely available but tanks should be filled when the opportunity occurs as soon as the indicator falls below half. An International Driving Licence is required although national driving licences will probably be accepted if a photograph is included. In recent times, regulations regarding speed limits and the use of safety belts have been more rigorously enforced. On-the-spot fines can be collected by uniformed police. Routine roadblocks may be encountered, especially near the borders, but should not entail a stop of more than a couple of minutes.
For tourists who choose to hire a vehicle in Malawi, breakdown cover is offered by the AA Autoclub at very affordable rates. Temporary full membership is available entitling tourists to free vehicle recovery and other services whilst they are visiting the country. If you are a member off the AA in your own country then a 50% discount is offered for AA services used whilst in Malawi. In order to receive this discount you must be able to prove membership within your home country, whilst in Malawi.
Air Travel in Malawi
Nyassa Air Taxi and Bush & Lake Aviation are air charter companies which link most of the tourist destinations in the country as well as the main towns. If using light aircraft for domestic transport, there is likely to be a baggage limit of 10-12 kg per person.
There is a good network of inexpensive public buses throughout the country. Small mini-buses offer local journeys while larger coaches ply the longer distance routes.
The famous Ilala, a 620 tonne vessel that can carry 400 passengers and travels the length of Lake Malawi (365km) provides a vital life line for the many communities that live around the lake. Ilala offers affordable transport allowing travellers to take in the stunning scenery at a leisurely pace. passengers can hop on and off at various locations including Nkhotakota, NNkhata Bay, Likoma Island and Metangula on the Mozabique shore. It travels northbound Saturday to Monday and southbound Tuesday to Thursday.