What to Wear in Malawi

Top style tips for Malawi

  • Malawi is said to be the next big destination. It's known as the warm heart of Africa, so expect a very friendly welcome.
  • With so much to see including beaches, safaris, mountains and lakes be sure to pack to meet all your needs – but it still needs to be lightweight.
  • Loose clothing will keep you cooler; a long-sleeved top with long trousers is a must for the evenings when the mosquitoes will be out in force.
  • Malaria must be taken seriously – make sure you take the right medication and plenty of insect/mosquito repellent.
  • Avoid blue or black clothing – the tsetse flies are drawn to these colours, and their bite can give you African sleeping sickness.
  • During the day it is hot so pack lightweight layers in natural fabrics, such as linen, bamboo and cotton that will keep you cool and are easier to wash and dry. Keep to light colours but not white, as it will get dirty and dusty very quickly.
  • Wear plenty of sunscreen (we love the Riemann P20 range for 10 hour protection) and sunglasses. And don't forget a safari hat or cap to protect you from the sun.
  • On safari you'll need a fleece too; the early mornings and evenings are cooler.
  • The weather in Malawi varies depending on the time of year and we recommend packing a versatile travel jacket, particularly in the cooler months (May, June, July and August) when the temperature can drop down to 48 degrees F (9C). Check out this SCOTTeVEST travel jacket, it has plenty of storage pockets, RFID security and can convert into vest for warmer weather.  Also, ensure you are prepared with plenty of warmer layers.
  • If you are visiting the beaches pack your swimwear but keep it strictly to the beach or pool area, otherwise cover up with a kaftan or t-shirt/shorts. You'll cause offence otherwise.

Shoes to pack for Malawi

  • Pack comfortable trainers or walking shoes if you plan on exploring markets or uplands (we love Hotter shoes, for comfort with style).

Clothing tips for women

  • Leave your valuables and jewellery at home, you really won't need them.
  • A skirt or loose-fitting trousers are good in the heat and will protect you from the sun.
  • Pack a colourful sarong or pashmina which can be worn over your shorts or short skirt if going out into a village. It can also be used to keep off the sun or add a bit of style for the evening.
  • If you are here on business bear in mind that Malawians are very particular about dress formalities; pack a formal but light skirt-suit below the knee, or trouser suit.

Clothing tips for men

  • For versatile and stylish beachwear, try the Madda Fella range of shirts, shorts, polos and swimwear.
  • If you are here on business bear in mind that Malawians are very particular about dress formalities, and you will never see a Malawian civil servant or businessman in shorts or without a tie.

Pack for the weather

  • The months of April, May, June, July, August, September, October and November are a popular time to visit. The evenings can be cooler in the uplands so pack a fleece or jumper.
  • We love the Weather+ app – it gives an accurate 6 day forecast for day and night, which when you're planning from home is really helpful. You can keep all the places you've been to too – a nice way to remember your trip 🙂 Download for iPad/iPhone or Android

Regions of Malawi

  • The southern lake is a Muslim area and shorts and t-shirts can be frowned upon. Our advice is for ladies to wear trousers or knee-length or longer skirts, and tops which cover your shoulders. For men, long trousers are a good idea. We would say the same applies to rural areas.

Other things to pack

  • If you are using internal flights to see the country bear in mind that the luggage allowance is usually lower than for international flights and may be just 10-12 kilos.&Use an accurate luggage scale to ensure you keep within the weight allowance.
  • A soft-sided rucksack will be more practical than a hard suitcase, and using packing cubes can help to keep your belongings tidy whilst compressing the volume too.
  • Pack a sling bag or lightweight day sack for sightseeing trips and game drives.
  • You may like to carry a solar powered charger too, to boost your battery when out and about – you don't want to miss that great photo opportunity!
  • To use electrical gadgets you may need a travel adapter plug, and also a step down voltage converter if your devices are not designed for the local voltage (230V).
  • Don’t drink or even brush your teeth in tap water. Consider taking a LifeStraw Filtration Water Bottle.
  • Don't forget to leave room for souvenirs on the way home… basket work and wooden carvings are popular buys, and are readily available in towns and from roadside stalls. Haggling is expected!