Malawi’s main highways are in surprisingly excellent condition compared to its neighbors, and travel times between key sites should be manageable. The amount of traffic is light, and most people drive slowly. Road travel after dark is not recommended due to inadequate to non-existent road markings and the fact that not all vehicles have headlights. Even though there are few cars traveling at night, many of their drivers will be extremely drunk, especially outside of Lilongwe and Blantyre.
Roadblocks, checkpoints, and speeding checks are set up by the Malawian police on several main highways and at airports. In general, they’re on the lookout for illicit activity and bribes. Expect to be stopped and questioned where you are going on occasion, especially if you are obviously not a local. Fines for traffic violations vary from MWK2,000 for bad tyres or defective lights to MWK8000 for speeding, as well as vehicle confiscation for violations of license, registration, and insurance. Payment should be presented to a bursar by the side of the road, along with a numbered receipt from a duplicate book. If you are a passenger in a car driven by a local, the police may interrogate the driver or other passengers in the local dialect to see what information may be obtained from you. If you are courteous and have the appropriate paperwork (passport, driver’s license, authorization to use the car, etc.) accessible if they ask, you should have no issues. Check that all tyres are in good condition, that all lights (including brake lights) are functioning, and that you have a road warning triangle and a fire extinguisher before operating any vehicle. Food, drinks, toys, and other items should not be displayed in the car since they will be demanded in return for passage. Allow additional time for airport travel since the police are aware that those who are in a hurry will pay. Speed checks are often conducted on highways outside of large cities (i.e., when the speed limit is set to rise), and urban speed restrictions may extend far into rural regions, typically for 10-12 kilometers outside of major cities.
Seatbelts must be worn at all times. Passengers must not have any limbs dangling from a vehicle, according to local regulations. Despite the fact that many local pick-ups can accommodate extra passengers in the cargo compartment, tourists should only do so if the vehicle has the necessary supplementary government paperwork.
Malawi is now suffering severe gasoline shortages, so stock up in neighboring countries unless you wish to wait for hours (without obtaining anything) or utilize the black market, where fuel costs are almost twice, if not treble, what they are in Malawi. If you’re going to remain in one place for a while, try to form a connection with the forecourt personnel at one place, but be seen buying modest quantities from other places on occasion. In times of scarcity, employees often offer regular clients priority treatment.
Keep an eye out for youngsters playing and animals, especially chickens, on the road in rural regions. While tiny animals may not cause harm to the car, they may deprive a family of a source of money or nourishment, as well as create a hostile environment when payment is demanded.
Malawi, like most other former British colonies, has left-hand traffic, with most vehicles having right-hand drive.
Car rental businesses in the area include:
Apex Rent-a-Car Malawi. Sedans, 4x4s, even buses.
SS Rent-a-Car. 4x4s, 16 and 26 seat buses, Motorbikes
Sputnik Car Hire. 4x4s,buses,trucks
Unfortunately, many automobile rental companies in Southern Africa do not allow their vehicles to enter Malawi. If you hire a vehicle in Zambia, you may have the greatest chance.
Rental cars that enable you to enter Malawi include:
- Livingstone 4×4. Located in Lusaka, Zambia.
- Kwenda, 17 Samantha Street; Strijdom Park; Randburg, Johannesburg, South Africa, +27 44 533 5717, e-mail: [email protected]
- Bushtackers, P.O. Box 4225, Rivonia, 2128, Johannesburg, South Africa, +27 11 465 5700, e-mail: [email protected] Allow you to enter Malawi if you ask by email.
Traveling by boat is without a doubt the most pleasant form of transportation in Malawi. On Fridays at 10:00 a.m., the Ilala ferry departs Monkey Bay for Chilumba, arriving on Sunday at 18:30 a.m., and on Mondays at 02:00 a.m., it departs Chilumba for Monkey Bay, arriving on Wednesday at 14:00 a.m. Prices are increasing year after year, but so is the ferry’s dependability; it was problematic a few years ago, before it was privatized.