Malawi Photo

Malawi Driving Guide

Malawi is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit

2021-07-29 · 9mins.

Malawi was one of the nearest countries to be called Paradise on Earth, situated in the southeast part of Africa, flowing along the Great Rift Valley. Their rich heritage has made them one, economically, of the richest countries in the world. The people of Malawi are strong, willing, and kind-hearted people who, during their difficult times, have always remained together.

Many of these people should understand Africa's true beauty and learn to appreciate the beauty of the land where our ancestors lived. The landlocked nation of Malawi is endowed with magnificent highlands and vast lakes which makes it one of Southeast Africa’s precious gems.

How Can This Guide Help You?

Foreign visitors will delight in driving through the one-of-a-kind scenery in Malawi. Following the driving rules of the country of Malawi will save you from any future dilemma with the police officers. You need to learn about the things you can do during your long-term stay if you want to settle or live in this wonderful country. Read this Malawi Driving Advice before you go driving in Malawi.

General Information

Most of the population of Malawi is engaged in cash-crop agriculture and subsistence agriculture. The exports of the country consist of both small landholdings' produce and large estates of tea and tobacco. In the form of development aid, Malawi has received a large amount of foreign capital, which has contributed significantly to the exploitation of its natural resources and has often enabled Malawi to generate a food surplus.

Geographical Location

In southeast Africa, Malawi, formally the Republic of Malawi, is a landlocked country that was formerly known as Nyasaland. It is bordered to the northwest by Zambia, to the northeast by Tanzania, and to the east, south, and west by Mozambique. Lake Malawi divides the country from Tanzania and Mozambique.

Languages Spoken

Chichewa is the national language. English is the official language, but a different language is spoken by each tribe. The following are some Chichewa words and phrases that can help you once you get there in Malawi:·

Muli bwanji?” - “Hi, how are you?”

Takulandirani” - ‘Welcome’

Ndili bwino” - “I'm fine”

Ndili bwino, kaya inu?” - “I'm fine and you?”

Achimwene” - “My friend”

Zikomo” - “Thank you”

Chonde” - “Please”.

Land Area

Malawi extends from north to south for about 520 miles (840 km) and ranges from 5 to 100 miles in width (10 to 160 km). It is bordered to the north by Tanzania, to the east by Lake Malawi, to the east and south by Mozambique, and to the west by Zambia. Driving in Malawi zip code will guide you throughout their land area.


The history of Malawi covers the present-day region of Malawi. The region was once part of the Kingdom of Maravi. The region was controlled by the British in colonial times, under whose rule it was known first as British Central Africa and later as Nyasaland. It is a member of the Rhodesia and Nyasaland Federation.


Under the constitution of the Third Republic, the government is composed of a cabinet of ministers, deputy ministers and sometimes state ministers. From government to government, the number of such ministers varies. The Cabinet shall be headed by the Prime Minister, who shall also be known as the Head of Government, appointed by the President, by a political party, group or coalition holding the majority of the seats in the National Assembly.

The government is the powerful administrative arm of the state. It is in-charge of all the country's main administration.


Malawi is a great tourist destination and known as the 'Warm Heart of Africa'. It offers stunning scenery and wildlife, gorgeous Lake Malawi beaches, and maybe the most welcoming welcome you'll get anywhere in Africa. With new luxury hotels and resorts, existing and growing game reserves, and a rising network of high quality roads, Malawi's tourism industry is in a phase of continued growth.

International Driver’s Permit FAQs in Malawi

An International Driver’s Permit (IDP) is a legal requirement that allows visitors to rent and drive a Malawi local car. As a United Nations regulated travel document, it’s highly recommended to have an IDP when you visit Malawi to ensure your safety and ease of travel. An IDP is incredibly valuable to avoid getting in trouble with authorities in Malawi. Below is other information you need to know about IDP in Malawi.

Is a Foreign Driver's License Valid in Malawi?

If you plan to drive in Malawi, it is important to note that you cannot use your US license. It is because, in the case of US foreign drivers, driving law in Malawi does not allow a United States license, only a native one or an international one. Even though you cannot drive in Malawi with an American license, without breaching the rules, you can obtain a foreign driving license to get you going.

Does an IDP Replace a Native Driver’s License in Malawi?

The IDP serves as a valid form of identification in more than 150 countries worldwide, including Malawi. However, an IDP does not replace your driver’s license since it is only a translation of your local driver’s license. With the IDP, your native driver’s license is translated into the world’s 12 most widely spoken languages. Malawi authorities highly demand an IDP, especially from foreigners.

Do I Need an IDP to Drive in Malawi?

No matter what reasons you have in Malawi for driving, you are likely to be able to get the international permit you need. The only condition for an international permit to be obtained is that you must be at least 18 years of age and have been in possession of a driver's license for at least six months prior to the application.

Renting A Car in Malawi

Driving in Malawi is something that is basically natural when going there on a trip or vacation, especially with the country so big. Driving in Malawi zip code will serve as the blueprint for your voyage. If you are traveling to a foreign country, it is best to have a car of your own. It is also recommended that you look for a reliable car rental company that is well known in the country.

Car Rental Companies

To make your trip more pleasant and memorable, most visitors prefer to rent a car in Malawi. It ensures their protection as well. Several dealers sell rental cars at an outstanding price in Malawi. is one of the few car rental companies or places that you can find online. The airport location at normally has the biggest range to choose from makes it easy for individuals to book their next car rental in Malawi.

They partnered with the best Malawi car rental companies, bringing discount car rental rates and a wide range of classes of car rental, including economic, compact, medium, full-size, truck, luxury and full-size rentals. The businesses in Malawi that are in collaboration with them provide numerous options for pick-up and drop-off. is open to pick up places for several Malawi rental cars. The Car Rental Companies you can find in Malawi are the following:

  • Avis Lilongwe – Lilongwe, Malawi
  • SS RENT A CAR – Malawi
  • SS RENT A CAR – Blantyre, Malawi
  • Desh Car Hire Company – Lilongwe, Malawi
  • Mame Car Hire
  • Avis Lilongwe – Blantyre, Malawi
  • Avis Chileka – Chileka International Airport
  • Anna's Car Rental Ltd – Blantyre, Malawi
  • Apex Rent A Car - Lilongwe, Malawi
  • Litto Car Rentals Ltd. - Lilongwe, Malawi
  • Best Car Hire Services - Lilongwe, Malawi
  • Barons Car Hire - Lilongwe, Malawi
  • Kajani Car Hire - Lilongwe, Malawi

You will find the best place to get your Malawi airport rental cars by searching for hundreds of pickup locations on The top destinations in Malawi you can choose from include car rentals of Lilongwe, Blantyre, Mangochi, Senga, Salima, Cape Maclear, Chintheche, Likoma Islang, Mzuzu, Mulanje, Monkey bay, and Zomba

Documents Required

Each driver must present a complete, valid and original national driver's license, held for a minimum of 2 years, when preparing the documents. If the license is not in the language used in the destination country, it is highly recommended to have an International Driver's Permit accompanying the national driver's license. Each driver has to bring a valid and original photo ID or passport of their own.

The renter must have a personal credit card with sufficient funds, valid in the country of pick-up, to hold a security deposit. It will not accept third-party credit cards. The car rental company has the duty to evaluate and see if the credit card provided will be approved. Online payment for reservations does not exempt the renter from supplying a valid international credit card during the pick-up of the vehicle.

The rental company shall temporarily keep the amount of the security deposit and, where applicable, any additional local charges not covered by the prepaid voucher on the card issued at the location of the rental. At the rental location, you have to present a manual copy of the Booking Confirmation Voucher. The document will officially confirm all agreed services, payment terms, rates, discounts, as well as the availability of vehicles within the selected group.

Vehicle Types offers a wide selection of Malawi rental cars to meet the requirements of almost everyone. They offer rentals of mini cars, economy cars, compact cars, medium-sized cars, standard cars, full-size cars, premium cars, luxury cars from Malawians, convertible cars, minivan cars, van cars, SUV cars, pickup cars and sports cars. The Malawi Mini Suzuki is the most frequently booked rental car type.

Extras are also available, such as a child seat or ski rack, for any order of special equipment to be attached to the rental. This message will be forwarded by them to the car rental company. And on top of that, if you want to rent a car from one of their Malawi airport car rental partners, you can trade with a rental car company offering the finest customer service, a wide variety of high-quality vehicles, and a fair total fee to Expedia customers.

Car Rental Cost

A rental car in Malawi, on average, costs $455 a week ($65 per day). The total rate of rental is determined on the specific details given at the time of booking. Depending on the rental venue, the per-day fee can vary and is directed by the day of the week that the renter uses the vehicle and the duration of the rental time.

Age Requirements

Depending on countries and territories, the minimum driving age varies from 16 to 21 years. The minimum age requirement for the majority of car rental companies around the world is 25. Drivers between the ages of 21 and 24 are expected to pay extra local fees and may not be permitted to book vehicles in the categories of Premium, Specialty, SUV, Minivan, Truck, Sedan, Utility and Luxury Vehicles.

Car Insurance Cost

When renting a car in Malawi, when taking in the splendor of the sights, no one wants to worry about car rental insurance and crash damage waivers, but buying car rental insurance or completely covered goods before you go could save you thousands, so it's worth it. Various rental cars such as, built a global business around giving customers better coverage at a better price.

Apart from that, you may pay 98% of claims within 3 business days, so you can save money for extra tokens. They offer Accident Damage Waiver(CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) insurance (LDW). With a high surplus payable for losses (US$5,000.00 for cars to US$7,500.00 for motorhomes), LDW is CDW + Fraud Security. It costs in full. The Mega Crash Injury Waiver also protects the insurance.

This reduces your remaining surplus to US$0.00. Roadside charges such as petrol, towing and key lockout are also protected.

Car Insurance Policy

When renting a car in Malawi, you must also think about car insurance policy. Car rental insurance and collision damage waivers should be taken seriously too. Securing such insurance could save a lot of your money. Various rental cars such as, built a global business around giving customers better coverage at a better price. And pay 98% of claims within 3 business days, so you can save money for extra tokens

They offer insurance to Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW). It costs a high excess payable for damages, from an estimate of US$5,000.00 for cars to US$7,500.00 for motorhomes. The insurance also covers the Super Collision Damage Waiver. It reduces your remaining excess towards US$0.00. It also covers roadside charges such as fuel, towing and key lockout.

Malawi Photo by ROB WILSON

Road Rules in Malawi

Every foreign country has a set of rules to follow. One of these are the critical road rules that set the scope and delimitation to all driving professionals. These rules are essential in having a successful road trip in your chosen driving destination. If you are planning a roadtrip to Malawi, you need to know the rules they set on their roads.

Important Regulations

Driving in Malawi can be very dangerous due to the road conditions and other vehicles on the road. Drive with care if you are going to do so.

Driving without a driver’s license is prohibited

Within 90 days, foreigners can drive in Malawi using their international driving permit. After that, you need to get a Malawian license already. As long as you have a valid international driving permit, you do not have to take the road test. If none, you will be attending a local driving course and take the driving test. Staff members can get a Malawi license using an international driving permit.

Using of mobile phones while driving is not allowed

Using a phone while driving is extremely prohibited in Malawi. Distracted driving is very unsafe. The police might pull you over for driving while you are talking over the phone or merely texting.

Limitations on the Load of a Vehicle

The country has legal load limitations to protect the roads from damages caused by heavy loads. The load limitations depend on the engine power of the vehicle. It also depends on the constraints specified by the machine itself, such as the tires. Other factors also considered is the damage caused by an axle load to the road. Their axle load regulations are 7,700 kg for the steering axle and 24,600kgs for the tridem axle.

Seatbelt Laws

The driver and passengers need to use and wear this seatbelt all the time. Wearing a seatbelt is one of the rarely met traffic rules in Malawi. Overloading is a standard scenario to them already.

Prohibited Acts in Malawi

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not allowed in Malawi. It is necessary to be wide awake and vigilant when driving in this country. It is hard to do so because of the conditions brought about by the weather and the road. There are a lot of people and various settings you may run into along the way.

In Malawi, speeding is also not allowed. You need to maintain a safe speed. They have radar-based speed traps all over the country; you can get a fine on the spot, so make sure you ask for a receipt. Visible police roadblocks are everywhere. Always keep in mind that the security forces are present for your safety. Watch out for them. Usually, if you are complete with the papers needed, you can pass without hassle.

Other Important Regulations

There are other regulations that you must consider while driving in Malawi. Take a look at the list below to serve as your guide:

  • would be easier for drivers to concentrate if they are comfortable with their seats. Driver's seat can be adjusted to the convenience of the driver;
  • Make sure that all the glasses are clean and nothing can obstruct your view. Check whether the rear-view mirrors are properly adjusted;
  • Make sure to check if the car is in neutral gear before you start the engine;
  • Look whether the doors are locked properly;
  • It is also important to remember that wearing the seat belt is a must. The same applies to the passengers;
  • You should take note of a few things when you back up. Check behind your vehicle before you get in.
  • Small objects and children are often not visible from the driver's seat. Do not depend on the side mirror only. Look through the rear window directly.
  • Never drive when you are sick, drowsy or fatigued;
  • Taking alcohol before driving is dangerous;
  • Reading while driving is dangerous as well, so always keep your eye on the road;
  • Talking over the phone can divert your attention. So avoid using mobile phones while you drive;
  • Checking out the radio or changing CD or cassette is not permissible while driving, as it can cause accidents.
  • Avoid overtaking other vehicles. While passing on an intersection, you should be more careful. It is indispensable to follow the signal. Continue to drive again only when the light is green. Stop the car when a red signal is shown;
  • Slow down the car at zebra crossings and let the people cross the road. Make sure to do the indication of the signal for turns, stops and lane changes. Do not enter the “No Entry Zone’.
  • When making a turn, the driver should be aware of a number of things. Avoid making a last minute turn. Slow down before making a turn. Give indications to other vehicles while changing lanes. If you wish to make a turn in an intersection and you find it hard to find a proper lane, move on to the next intersection and make the turn;
  • Drivers should have proper knowledge of the parking rules and regulations. Park your vehicle in the parking zone. If there is no available parking zone nearby, you can park on a public road instead. But assure to move your vehicle far away from the moving traffic.

General Standards of Driving

In driving, if you are a newbie on the road, you may opt to enroll in a driving school. Driving school prices differ from one institution to another. They vary on their fees but not on the lessons they need to impart to the newbies or beginners, especially regarding the General Standards of Driving.

Speed is an integral part of our present society. People and things inside it are moving in a very past face. Traveling is a prevalent scenario for everyone. We move around vehicles for us to save time and to not be late. Be it a car, bus, or any other vehicle; everyone wants to reach their desired destination on time.

Driving has become a universal need nowadays. But, is learning how to drive enough for one to have a vehicle on the road? No! The drivers should also be aware of the general standards of driving. Hence, good driving is honed with continuous practice. There are several things you should keep in mind when you are just starting to learn driving, especially in Malawi:

  • Since Malawian people drive in the left-hand lane, it means that the steering wheels of the cars are on the right-hand side which make them known as “Right-Hand Drive” (RHD) vehicles;
  • In “Left-Hand Traffic Rule” , traffic keeps left (bidirectional);
  • DLRs or Daytime Running Lights can also be used mainly for road safety purposes. They increase your vehicle’s visibility so that the other cars will be aware and see you on the road. They are fairly dim unlike headlights.
  • Before you start driving, check the brake lights first;
  • Do not override speed limits while you drive. This can prevent you from having accidents and sudden crashes. The situations often become out of control when you don't maintain the driving speed;
  • Driving too slowly can be dangerous as well. To be safe, keep pace with the flow of traffic. To avoid striking the vehicle in front of you, you should maintain considerable distance with them.
  • Make sure to move forward only when the road is clear;

The role of rules and regulations is very crucial while driving. If you follow the abovementioned things, you can easily save yourself and the passengers from unwanted accidents.

Speed Limit

There is a national speed limit law in Malawi. The best speed limit in Malawi is 80 kilometers per hour in urban areas. Malawi uses kph in driving speed. There is a tolerable speed limit of 80 kph on urban areas and 110 kph in Rural areas.

You may drive at a general speed limit of 120 kilometers per hour every freeway. More rural areas have lesser traffic. This law implementation is all over the country, including the freeways. They have radar-based traps and security officers deployed everywhere. You can get a fine on the spot. Any person exceeding the speed limit will be fine MKW8,000.00

Driving Directions

The Google map fully covers Malawi showing its road routes from cities to towns, road intersections in any region, prefectures, and provinces. It also has free driving directions covering neighboring towns and countries.

Rules in Merging shall apply in all Malawi roads. This merging law states that both drivers in the two lanes are responsible and liable for merging safety. It only means that if you are merging, you must focus to be able to move over safely. And if you are in the other lane, then you must give way. It is your responsibility to help create space for the merging car.

You must note that overtaking in Malawi is on the right side of the road, considering the left-hand traffic rule. You must also keep in mind to give way to traffic on the roundabout. Always keep to the right lane. And stay on your lane in proceeding to the exit way.

Traffic Road Signs

The language used for the road signs and traffic lights in Malawi is English. Danger warning signs are for warning road-users of a danger on the road and to inform them of its nature. There are regulatory signs to let road-users know of prohibitions they must follow. Their classifications are the mandatory, cautionary, and informative signs. The informative signs are signs used to guide while you are traveling. These include advance, direction, road and place identification, and confirmatory signs. The list below are specific signs per category:

Mandatory Signs include:

  • Stop Sign
  • Yield Sign
  • Pedestrian Crossing Yield Sign
  • Cross on Walk Signal Only Sign
  • Road Closed Sign
  • Truck Permitted Sign
  • Exempt Plaque Sign
  • Do Not Pass Light Rail Transit Only Sign
  • Do Not Drive On Tracks Sign
  • Look Sign
  • Night Speed Limit Sign
  • Truck Speed Limit Sign

Cautionary Signs include:

  • No Signal Sign
  • Dead End Sign
  • Construction Arrow Sign
  • Skewed Railroad Sign
  • Horse-Drawn Vehicle Sign
  • Bear Sign
  • Wildlife Sign
  • Wheelchair Sign
  • Low Clearance Sign
  • Farm Machinery Sign
  • 500 Feet Distance Warning Sign
  • No Traffic Signs Sign
  • Workers Symbol Sign
  • Stop Ahead Sign

Informative Signs include:

  • Parking Area Sign
  • Park & Ride Sign
  • Freeway Entrance Sign
  • Town Distance Sign
  • National Scenic By-ways Sign
  • Phone Symbol Sign
  • Tourist Information Sign
  • Electric Vehicle Symbol Sign
  • Police Sign
  • Hospital Symbol Sign
  • Interstate Route Sign
  • Emergency Notification Sign
  • Interstate Business Loop 3 Sign
  • Phone Symbol With Arrow Sign

It is important for every driver to understand traffic road signs and follow traffic rules and regulations. Remember to always drive safely.

Right of Way

The current give way rules in the facet of transport of Malawi is another matter that you have to know if you are planning to go on a trip to the said country. The presence of give way rules in the country is mainly for ‘Road Security’ purposes. Since not all the roads of the entire territory are in good condition, security forces conduct strict implementation of protocols. They post checkpoints giving right of way to all the vehicles passing by.

As part of their law, vehicles must be checked cautiously. They need to search the vehicles for possible weapons and valuables. The same applies to passengers, the security forces will have to check their identity information. The passengers must present their valid IDs and travel documents for them to be given the right to passage. Once cleared, you will be free of any hassle that may come along the way.

Driving ages differ all over the world. In Malawi, you must be 18 years of age to apply for a driving license. This rule applies to the whole Southern Africa Development Community region. It is composed of 15 countries that also conform to the European Unified Driving License system.

Laws on Overtaking

Overtaking other vehicles can be life-threatening and must be taken at a more serious level. The difficulty with overtaking is estimating the amount of space required to successfully carry out the action. According to Highway Code Overtaking 162 to 163, before doing an overtake, you should make sure the road is sufficiently clear ahead and road users are not beginning to overtake you.

There should be a suitable gap in front of the road user you plan to overtake to avoid accidents. Do not overtake unless you have a clear view of approaching traffic and can safely execute overtaking. Do not overtake a vehicle coming to a stop or a vehicle that has stopped at a pedestrian crossing, intersection or railway crossing.

You must not overtake across an unbroken continuous line, unless the line closest to you is broken. Don't also overtake on a narrowing road. These are a set of reminders whenever you consider overtaking while driving. Overtaking is on the right side of the road. They allow overtaking on the left side of the road as long as the vehicle in front is turning to its right. A driver is also not allowed to overpass other automobiles when there is a curve ahead of them.

Driving Side

Malawians drive on the left side of the road. If you’re planning to take driving jobs in Malawi, keep this in mind. For foreigners from countries that drive on the right, driving a car on the left side with the steering wheel on the right is new. You'll get used to it, sooner or later.

Driving Etiquette in Malawi

Numerous accidents have been recorded as caused by many irresponsible behaviors and bad habits by diverse drivers. Such incidents can be avoided. Think about situations/circumstances like the following:

Car Breakdown

If your condition is the effect of an accident, you ought to contact the police, a tow-truck operator or the insurance provider. You should call for roadside assistance if your car has broken down because of certain conditions, such as flat battery, empty fuel or punctured tire. If you think something is out of position, turn on your hazard lights to give warning to other drivers. Keep on to them before the rescue arrives.

Slowly drive and pull yourself to the right shoulder of the road. Market studies recommend pulling over to a clear, flat ground that is far from starting traffic. If you think something is out of position, turn on your hazard lights to give warning to other drivers. Keep on to them before the rescue arrives.

If you're on a road loaded with a lot of vehicles, the Insurance Information Institute (III) recommends that you should avoid getting out of the car to fix the damages. It's better to pull over your vehicle in a safe place where the road is clear.

Police Stops

Stop the car in a secure position as soon as possible when the police stop you. Turn the vehicle off, turn the inner light on, open the halfway window, and put your hands on the wheel. Place your hands on the dashboard if you're a passenger in your car. Show the police your driver's license, registration, and evidence of insurance if needed. Avoid making unexpected movements, and keep your hands in the officer’s sight.

Licenses in Malawi are categorized. Categories of Driving license in Malawi includes: Passenger carriage, goods carriage and dangerous goods carriage. It is based on whatever the driver of the vehicle intends to carry. There are also codes featured in every category that represent the approved vehicle. The gross weight is also considered in allowing which vehicle to drive.

Asking Directions

If you ask for driving directions, it is a must to start the conversation with a greeting and display a friendly speech. If you want a dynamic clarification to be given, start by saying hello first. When getting instructions, you should know the basic vocabulary that is widely used.

Get to know the local transportation system. There are times when you will still be far from your destination and have to take public transportation. Don't be afraid to use landmarks. Every city that exists in the world has its own landmarks. You can save more time if you know the important landmark in that place you are currently visiting


Self driving in Malawi is fun but has a counterpart obligation. Be polite but attentive always. Avoid being confronted. Your time doesn't look the same. Just because you have a deadline to follow, do not pressure them. Walk towards the checkpoint if you are on foot, bringing only the necessary documents. Keep the windows up and the doors locked when in a vehicle. Wait for the order. To speak just enough to be able to look them in the eye, open the window.

Without consent, do not try to record when having self-driving in Malawi. If soldiers are hostile or nervous at the checkpoint, you may wish to offer something to smooth things over. For this, there is a time and place that you must be able to figure out. Let them know that people know where you are and that you are expected to come back to them.

Other Tips

There are other things that you must take into consideration when you opt to drive in Malawi. The following are other tips that you might want to keep in mind:

Is It Safe to Drive at Night?

One driving etiquette done at night, drive slowly enough so you can stop within the area lit by your headlights. Make it a habit to use high-beam lights when driving in rural areas and on open highways away from urban and metropolitan areas. When leaving a brightly lit place, drive slowly until your eyes adapt to the darkness. This will be able to help you manage a safe trip.

Roll the steering wheel in the direction you want the front wheels to go. To avoid any accidents, drive in a safe speed limit, stay in your lane, drive with both hands on the wheel, no matter how slow the traffic is, don't tailgate the vehicle in front of you, use signals properly, always wear a seatbelt and avoid distraction.

Driving Conditions in Malawi

Roads that are in good condition are a big plus if you are driving in a foreign country. One of the safety risks when traveling in Malawi is the possibility of traffic accidents. The chances of getting a medical response when an accident happens away from urban areas are low. Most vehicles are not roadworthy and often lack safety features. Over speeding affects the vehicle's speed and ability to stop, usual for Malawians.

Most drivers operate their automobiles with no regard to traffic laws at all. If you want to learn how to drive, there are driving schools in Malawi that you can choose from. The driving school prices in Malawi differ, you can select one that fits your budget.

Accident Statistics

About 20 road traffic collisions occur in Malawi on a daily basis. Most of these have 2 occurrences that are fatal, and another 2 for serious injuries. Every year, Malawi has recorded about 1,000 mortality due to road traffic crashes.

Common Vehicles

There are many different kinds of vehicles used in Malawi. They are, but not limited to, motorcycles, tricycles, and cars for light passengers. They have SUVs and buses for heavy passengers. Goods vehicles, trailers, and tractors for agricultural use are also pretty common.

Road Situations

The roads within Malawi are fine, except getting to most of the parks, which are complete dirt. Most roads to bays are sand and could be one of the worst 'washboard' roads you will see. It’s recommended that you travel by car although it will take a long time, but a bus would be worse.

You may also encounter roads that are in a bad condition. Most roadways are not paved, making it hard to access during rainy seasons (November and April). Sinkholes and potholes brought by heavy rains present more hazards. Asphalt roads often crumble at the edges and are lacking a shoulder.

In Malawi, some road signs are missing and most paths are not yet cemented. Though drivers could read Malawian signs with ease, there can still be some difficulty in seeing the road signs in Malawi. The road signs are hard to read due to the weather conditions. During the rainy season, most of the roads are impassable. Some road signs are missing and this would lead you to unpaved roads.

Driving Culture

There are local drivers in Malawi who are safely following road traffic rules and regulations, but there are also reckless drivers driving around the country. It is still best to take precautionary measures when driving in Malawi to avoid accidents and worse, casualties.

Safe drivers are cautious and vigilant. They always drive to the conditions of the road environment and are ready to take action at any time. Whether you are an experienced driver, a newbie driver, a passenger, a bike rider or pedestrian drivers, you should always follow the road signs, traffic rules and regulations to keep everyone safe.

Things to Do in Malawi

As a tourist-friendly country, Malawi has been open to more foreign visitors who want to live there for years. If you want to live in this magnificent country, you need to learn about the things you can do during your long-term stay.

Drive as a Tourist

To be able to land a driving job in Malawi may not be easy but not entirely impossible. You can find several driving jobs in Malawi from job listings sites online. However, you need to secure a work visa, comply with all requirements, and take necessary tests to get a driving job in Malawi. You should also familiarize yourself with the driving test rules in the country. The latest driving vacancies in Malawi will let you know of what opportunities in driving are available.

Work as a Driver

You can get private car driving jobs like driving for families or teach driving lessons in Malawi’s driving training school. You can find in the country several driving training schools that are looking for driving instructors.

Some driving schools may be hesitant to hire a foreigner to teach driving lessons, but there’s no harm in trying. If you know the driving test rules by heart and possess a driving license, your chances of getting hired will increase.

Work as a Travel Guide

One job you must consider in finding a job in Malawi is being a Tourist Guide or also known as “Travel Guide.” In paving such a path, you can apply the basics that you have learned from being a tourist driver in a stranger’s land.

Working as a Travel Guide in Malawi will be a good start or stepping stone for foreigners. However, it could also be a great challenge when it comes to learning Malawian languages. As a Travel Guide, you must be fully equipped with the knowledge and skills which are required by the job itself. Your weapon here is your mouth and your main bullet is good communication skills.

Apply for Residency

If you wish to live and settle in Malawi, you need to apply for a residency permit and work visa. Your employer must process a work visa for you. All you need is to comply with the requirements, such as your passport, passport-sized photos, a copy of your work contract, your health record from an authorized clinic, and an accomplished visa application form. Your employer will shoulder the fee for your application.

Your work visa is valid for one to two years only. When you already have a work visa, you are automatically entitled to reside in Malawi. If you want your family to live with you as well, they all need to secure a family visa. Only the immediate family is entitled to a family visa.

Other Things to Do

Aside from residency, driving jobs, and driving as a tourist, there are more things that you can do in Malawi. Here are some of them:

Can a Foreigner Own a Car in Malawi?

Foreigners usually purchase cars when they stay longer than a year in Malawi. You can purchase from car sales centers or from previous owners. You also need to consider several things before purchasing a car. Some of these are maintenance, renewal, and insurance. If you want to own a car, you have to secure a Population Registration Card (PRC). You also need to renew the vehicle registration every 12 months.

If you plan to buy a secondhand car, keep in mind that vehicles over five years old must undergo an annual test before the registration renewal. It is best to schedule the annual test three months before the due date for the renewal to avoid long queues. You can enjoy privileges if you own a car and a driving license in Malawi.

Can I Convert my Driver’s License in Malawi?

Foreigners who are staying in Malawi for more than a year need to get a Malawian driving license. You may exchange your local driving license for a Malawian driving permit from Traffic Services. Some countries can get a Malawian driver license without a test. All you need is to submit the requirements, fill out the papers, and take an eyesight test. You also need to set a driving test appointment in Malawi to apply for a Malawian driving license.

If you don’t have a local driver’s license yet, you can apply for a driving license in Malawi and undergo the standard driving, medical, and educational tests. You can only get a driving license if you are at least 18 years old, possess a Malawian ID card (CPR), and pass all the tests. You can enroll in a driving school in Malawi if you haven’t taken a driving lesson before. Driving schools in Malawi charge an hourly rate for driving lessons.

Top Destinations in Malawi

Also known as the "land of the lake", Malawi lies in Africa's Great Riff Valley. Malawi is an undeveloped country with a lot to offer. A true diamond in the rough! With it being undiscovered and undeveloped, Malawi is a true paradise for nature lovers. Surrounded by Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique, Malawi is a landlocked country. Guaranteed, this country will awaken your love for mother nature!

Remember that when you are in other countries, traffic rules are different, you should respect them. You are responsible for your own life, so take care of it. The number one cause of death on the road is being irresponsible. So, keep your mind out of the cloud and focus on driving. Remember, also, to bring your documents, especially the International Drivers Permit! They are your ticket in any foreign country you are going to visit!

Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi is the country's most captivating natural wonder. It is one of the most beautiful sights in the country. It is the country's pride and source of sustenance. It takes up a third of Malawi's land area.It is a freshwater lake with a variety of colorful fishes and a golden beach. It offers its visitors an out-of-this-world snorkeling and diving experience.

Driving Directions

  1. From Lilongwe Airport, turn right onto M1
  2. Turn left onto M14
  3. Continue onto M5
  4. Turn Left onto S127
  5. Continue onto M10
  6. Turn Right onto T382
  7. Turn Left

Things to Do

There are tons you can do when you're at the lake! Try the list below:

  1. Water activities
    There are water activities, such as snorkeling and diving which are the most favorite activities of visitors. These are perfect for swimmers and those who are up for the challenge.
  2. Go explore estates
    You can cycle through villages surrounding the lake. It is best that you do this with companions or friends.
  3. Horse Riding
    You can also go on a group horse ride along the beach. And while riding, you can watch the sunset, a beautiful view while doing the said activity.

Mount Mulanje

Mount Mulanje is one of the best treasures of Malawi. It is the tallest mountain in Central Africa. It is located in the southern part of Malawi, Its highest peak, Sapitwa, reaches above 3,000 meters.This is popular to the tourists and locals for its scenery and cheap facilities. There are plenty of hiking routes to choose from to enjoy this mountain and at the end of each trail, you will find a hut. The best time to climb the mountain is between May and October..

Driving Directions

  1. From Lilongwe Airport, turn right onto M1
  2. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto M12. Turn right onto Mtunthama Drive
  3. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Mtunthama Drive
  4. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Likuni/S124. Slight Left
  5. Continue onto S125
  6. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto M1
  7. Continue onto M1. Turn right to stay at M1. Turn left to stay at M1
  8. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit. Continue onto Chileka Road. Turn left onto Makata
  9. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Livingstone Ave/M2
  10. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit and stay on Livingstone Ave/M2
  11. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto M4

Things to Do

Mount Mulanje offers an array of activities which makes the place more open to adventurous visitors. If you want more outdoor activities, then this destination is perfect for you.

  1. Hike Mount Mulanje
    Hiking is the top activity you can do in this area. You can go hiking with your friends or by yourself since there are available guides also who can assist you.
  2. Seize the opportunity to get a Wildlife Encounter
    While hiking, keep an eye out for the cutest wild life around the mountain. There is a wide variety of birds and other species present in the area, such as owls and the likes.
  3. Try Rock climbing
    Rock climbing is next on the list of activities that you can do here. It is a must-try type of adventure for foreign visitors.


Dedza is a historical town situated in the heart of Central Malawi. It is the most elevated town in Malawi. Artistic traditions are being kept alive here after the discovery of rock paintings that date back in the Stone Age. Dedza Pottery Lodge has a convenient restaurant for its visitors.

Driving Directions

  1. From Lilongwe Airport, turn right onto M1
  2. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto M12
  3. Turn right onto Mtunthama Drive
  4. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Mtunthama Drive
  5. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Likuni/S124
  6. Slight Left
  7. Continue onto S125
  8. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto M1
  9. Turn left

Things to Do

Dedza offers simple yet deep activities for the visitors. This is because this town focuses more on the culture and traditions of the country.

  1. Visit the Crafts Market
    You can roam around the Crafts Market which is situated in Dedza, at the old post office area. It offers a lot of souvenir items featuring Malawian culture and arts. You can find personalized keychains here as well.
  2. Try Brisk walking on the site
    You can also try brisk walking while enjoying the sights around the place. You can do this while deciding on what souvenir items to buy.
  3. Experience Wood Carving
    Try to do or practice Wood carving at Dedza. Vendors gather their wooden carvings and trinkets at the Lilongwe crafts market. Most of the artists encourage visitors to try their process of wood carving on the spot.

Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve

Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve - what a mouthful! – is a dense reserve that makes sightings of its rich wildlife difficult. It is a rugged woodland terrain cut by many rivers. You can do many activities too, like birdwatching, canoeing and walking safaris. What makes this river a retreat for the mind and body is the symphony of nocturnal insects and the sound of the flow of the water.

Driving Directions

  1. This African park is located 3 hours from Lilongwe.
  2. The fastest route to get to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve is via Salima;
  3. You will need to pass via the Nkhotakota lake road;
  4. After passing the lake road, you only need another 12 minutes off driving plus 10 minutes on dirt road to get there.

Things to Do

This spot is the largest and oldest park in Malawi. There are an estimate of 280 bird species present here as of the moment.

  1. Enjoy Bird watching
    Bird watching is the main activity you can do in the park due to a large number of birds in the area. You can even just sit and watch them fly around the park.
  2. Hike with your friends
    You can also do hiking in the Chipata mountain. This mountain is still in the vicinity of the park.
  3. Enjoy Canoeing and Walking Safaris
    You can also do canoeing and walking safaris in this largest and oldest park of Malawi. These are the must-try activities offered in the area.

Zomba Plateau

The Zomba Plateau, or also known as “Zomba Massif” is a 6000-foot plateau of Shire Highlands in the Southern region of Malawi. It is located in the former capital of Malawi, Zomba. It offers incredible views, waterfalls, dams filled with trout and a shelter from the heat.

Driving Directions

  1. From Lilongwe Airport, turn right onto M1
  2. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto M12. Turn right onto Mtunthama Drive
  3. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Mtunthama Drive
  4. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Likuni/S124. Slight Left
  5. Continue onto S125
  6. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto M1. Continue onto M1. Take the exit towards M1
  7. Continue onto M1. Continue onto M8. Continue onto M3
  8. Turn left
  9. Turn right
  10. Turn right
  11. Turn left
  12. Turn right into Mkulichi Road. Turn right
  13. Turn left onto Kaduya Road. Continue straight. Turn right
  14. Turn right

Things to Do

You can enjoy a lot of exciting activities in Zomba Plateau. Here’s a list of things you can do while in the area.

  1. Go Hiking
    The visitors can enjoy hiking along the wooded paths. The best time to hike is early morning or late afternoon.
  2. Take beautiful photos
    Capturing the spectacular scenery from the mountain top would be one of the activities on your list. You will be able to have a glimpse on the famous and favorite view - the “Queen’s View”.
  3. Experience Horse Riding
    You can also take horse rides down the trails from the long-established Plateau Stables. Horse riding is one of the top activities in this place.
  4. Enjoy staying at Sunbird Inn
    You might opt to stay in an inn called Sunbird Ku Chawe Inn. This is located at the mountain’s edge. You can get an amazing view from here.

Continue to appreciate the beauty of the country of Malawi. When planning to visit, secure an International Driver’s permit today. You can also learn regulations about driving through the International Driver’s permit Malawi video and International Driver’s permit Malawi Review..

To learn more, watch more videos about having the driving license in Malawi, visit the website of Malawi. You can write your Malawi reviews and experiences on the site by leaving a comment or posting a Malawi driving video on the website of Malawi . Stay tuned and updated for the current news and video about Malawi today. The Driving in Malawi reviews of today's experiences will serve as a testimony on how great it is to be in the country.

Get your International Driving Permit in 8 minutes

Instant approval

Valid for 1-3 years

Worldwide express shipping

Back to Top