Malawi Office of a chief in the Mangochi district

Malawi Everyday Life

Currency: 1 Kwacha (MWK) = 100 tambala

Exchange rate: 896 MWK per € (November 2020)

Time zone: GMT + 2

Country code (phone): +265

climate: subtropical

Public holidays

In Malawi, Christian and (often flexible) Muslim holidays apply in addition to national holidays, as the list shows. If the public holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday is free. While most government agencies and banks are closed on public holidays, many shops and markets are open.

Boxing Day was abolished years ago as a public holiday.


According to naturegnosis, Malawi’s currency has been the kwacha since 1971, which is divided into 100 tambala. Kwacha means sunrise and is the symbol of the country’s independence. Tambala means rooster. Due to the decline in the value of money, Tambala coins are no longer used today. In 2006, 5 and 10 Kwacha coins were introduced, which have gradually replaced the banknotes of the same name. In addition, new, much smaller coins of 1, 5 and 10 kwacha were put into circulation in 2012. Banknotes are available in 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 kwacha. In May 2012 a new series was put into circulation. The notes show historical personalities of the country on the front and buildings and nature on the back. The banknotes in use until 2012 were suspended in May 2013. Banknotes have been in use since mid-2014 spent that are readable even for the blind. At the end of December 2016, a 2000 Kwacha banknote was first put into circulation.

The exchange of cash (Euros or US Dollars) can be done both in commercial banks than in licensed exchange offices. The courses in the latter are often, but not always, cheaper. Travelers checks are accepted at banks, but almost always at a worse rate than cash. There are also fees.

In the large hotels and car rental companies, you can pay by credit card. It is quite common for a percentage surcharge to be applied to card payments. You can also withdraw cash with credit cards. The ATMs are now quite reliable when it comes to international bank cards. However, they are only found in the big cities. Sometimes, however, they do not work at all (e.g. in the event of a power failure). You need US dollars in cash – and if possible in small denominations – to obtain visas to Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Tanzania. The exchange of money outside of banks and licensed exchange offices / hotels is prohibited. While euros can be exchanged for local currency in the countries mentioned without any problems, in Mozambique (with the exception of the large cities) almost exclusively US dollars are exchanged.

The two largest commercial banks, the National Bank of Malawi and Standard Bank, also offer foreign customers with an employment contract in the country the opening of current accounts. They have numerous branches and ATMs in the cities and many districts of Malawi.


Country-specific security instructions from the Federal Foreign Office refer to the increasing number of break-ins and thefts in the cities and tourist areas on Lake Malawi, as well as to cases of vehicle hijacking. At the end of 2017, cases of lynching triggered by superstition (“vampires”) occurred in the southern region in particular, causing unrest in the country and among travelers. The US State Department offers good information on the security situation. However, an increase in crime is noted, which is mainly concentrated in Lilongwe, Blantyre and the tourist resorts of Senga Bay, Cape Maclear and Nkhata Bay. One should stay away from demonstrations or political rallies, as these – as in July 2011 – can be violent. This currently also applies to demonstrations in connection with the presidential elections. The Supreme Court of Appeal ordered a re-election in May 2020. Demonstrations and election campaign events can therefore be expected in the coming months. Unfortunately, there is always violence, vandalism and stone throwing, even at bystanders. This is especially true for cities.

Above all – but not only – after dark, vehicle thefts, including the use of force, can occur. Walking, jogging and cycling in the evening or at night should be avoided entirely. As in Europe, pickpockets and tricksters are active in busy places (markets, shopping centers).

In Malawi living German system can ELEFAND to the Foreign Office on the register can, so in times of crisis (. Eg even with natural disasters) and evacuations consular assistance can take place. Inclusion on the list is voluntary, but it can be useful.

Malawi Office of a chief in the Mangochi district

Stay healthy

Malaria prophylaxis and vaccination recommendations

The travel medical information service “Fit for Travel” offers constantly updated travel advice for Malawi with information on vaccination recommendations and regulations, the risk of malaria and special health risks. There is also a climate table. Please also note the medical information from the Federal Foreign Office.

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