Getting there and away
The main way to get to Malawi is by land or air. Overland, travellers might enter the country from Zambia, Mozambique or Tanzania. Boats also bring travellers over Lake Malawi from Mozambique. There are no direct flights to Malawi from outside Africa. The easiest way to reach the country by air is via Kenya, Ethiopia or South Africa.
You can travel around Malawi by air, road, rail or boat. Compared to other countries in the region, distances between major centres are quite short, and generally, roads and public transport systems are safe and cheap. There are several luxury coaches and express buses plying the roads. Minibuses serving those who need to travel economically go to almost every destination in Malawi. In the rural areas, transportation can be varied – from pickup trucks called matola to ox carts, depending on location and the traveller’s level of desperation.
Bus and Minibus
Driving in Malawi
The only railway covers 810km from Mchinji (on the Zambian border) through Lilongwe to Nsanje (on the southeastern border with Mozambique). Services are very slow, overcrowded and erratic, and offer no practical advantages over road transport.
Bicycles are available for hire at many lodges throughout Malawi at a cost of around USD10 per day. You can also hire bicycles or arrange mountain-bike tours through Land & Lake Safaris in Lilongwe.
Hitchhiking is generally slow in Malawi and not advisable on main routes, but if you are tired of crammed and slow minibuses, hitchhiking can be one of the options. Many imported cars come from Dar es Salaam to Lilongwe or Blantyre, so you may be able to find one easily when you move from north to south. Many of the lifts you will be offered will expect payments.