Quick Overview

Capital: Lilongwe
Population: 18.62 million
Official language: French
Time zone: Central African Time
Emergency #: 999
Vaccinations required: Yes
Risk of malaria: Yes
Climate Info

Malawi: Travel Health Information

Malawi is known for its natural landscapes, wildlife, and adventure tourism. Travellers can hike through one of Malawi’s many national parks, where they can see zebras and elephants in the wild. Visitors can also swim, relax, and hike around Lake Malawi – a popular destination for tourists.


The standards for patient care and medical services in Malawi may differ from your home country. Malawi has a public healthcare system that operates facilities throughout the country, and a few private options in urban areas. The quality of care does not meet international standards. Public hospitals and clinics frequently have out-of-date equipment and limited supplies. In rural areas, the quality of public healthcare is extremely limited. The country suffers a shortage of trained healthcare personnel, which can cause significant delays in receiving care, even in an emergency. Private clinics are available in urban areas.

In the event of a medical emergency, contact your travel health insurance company immediately. Hospitals and private practitioners in Malawi typically require upfront payment, regardless if you have travel health insurance. Evacuation to South Africa may be required for medical emergencies. Ensure that you have accessible funds to cover upfront fees and adequate travel health insurance, including evacuation. Before you depart, check with your insurer about the extent of their coverage in Malawi.

Pharmacies and medications

Shortages of essential medicines are common. As such, it may be difficult to find prescription medicines in Malawi, especially outside of major cities. Make sure to pack a sufficient supply of essential mediation for the duration of your trip.

If you are travelling with medication, check with Malawi’s embassy, consulate, or Ministry of Health for details on medication allowances and restrictions. Note that these sources may provide incomplete or out-of-date information.

Road safety

Some major roads in Malawi – particularly in urban areas – are paved and in decent condition, but many other roads are unpaved and poorly maintained. Potholes and wandering pedestrians and livestock are common. Seat belts are required by law for drivers but should be worn for safety by all occupants of a vehicle at all times. Motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear a helmet at all times.

  • Country Reports. Traffic and Road Conditions in Malawi.
  • Ministry of Health and Population: Republic of Malawi. The health care system.
  • Makwero, Martha T. Delivery of primary health care in Malawi. African journal of primary health care & family medicine vol. 10,1 e1-e3. 21 Jun. 2018, doi:10.4102/phcfm.v10i1.1799
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