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Safety and Security in Malawi

Safety and Security in Malawi

Malawi is one of the safest African countries for tourists and business travellers. Malawians are known for their friendly and warm-hearted nature. However, taking the usual precautions with valuables is always sensible, especially around the main bus stations in Lilongwe and Blantyre.

There is no significant risk attached to walking around the city centres by day but avoid wandering alone along unlit streets at night. Ask for a taxi at the hotel reception desk, or plan to travel by day. For those going to bars or clubs, having local friends or a guide to accompany you is advisable.

It is strongly advised not to carry more money or valuables than you need, to avoid attracting criminals. Keep your bar cash separate from your money for a taxi and show only the fare you have agreed to pay. Report any thefts to the police as soon as possible.

Driving in Malawi can be hazardous. Always wear a seatbelt and avoid travel after dark. Potholes, animals, abandoned vehicles and cyclists can cause serious accidents, as can vehicles travelling at night without lights. Lock car doors and keep windows closed. Armed carjacking is also a risk, especially for drivers of four-by-four vehicles. Don’t offer lifts to strangers and look out for obstructions in the road ahead.

Spontaneous demonstrations related to governance and economic issues can occur. You should avoid political rallies and street demonstrations and should monitor local media.

Between September and December 2017, there was a period of unrest and violence in the Mount Mulanje area, surrounding districts of Thyolo, Chirazulu and Phalombe and also in rural parts of Blantyre, Zomba and Nsanje districts. You should continue to exercise extreme caution if you’re travelling in these areas, avoid any demonstrations or large groups of people and follow local security advice.

Emergency Telephone Numbers
  • Police (city response) 997
  • Police (national response) 990
  • Ambulance 998
  • Fire department 999