Malawi is known as “the warm heart of Africa” as its people are friendly, kind and have a peaceful nature. Community, family, and religion are very important in daily life of Malawians. The Malawian culture is very rich and diverse:
Popular Malawian cuisine includes nsima, a maize-based carbohydrate, which is often enjoyed alongside vegetables and beans.
There are certain cultural norms that you are expected to abide to. Most of which will be explained during your introduction week. But to help you pack, let us mention clothing.
Women – you are expected not to show your thighs, so pack long skirts and trousers. All tops are acceptable as long as they cover your stomach; open shoulders and chest are fine. You should pack comfortable sandals as well as closed shoes for the rainy season. When travelling to the villages, women are expected to wear a traditional brightly coloured long skirt called a Chitenje.
Men – you are expected to look decent, shorts and a t-shirt are fine, but no provocative, racist or insulting messages printed on clothing. Comfortable shoes are advised.
Travelling in Malawi
Many volunteers like to use the opportunity of volunteering in Malawi to travel.
Malawi is a beautiful country with many sites to visit. Lake Malawi is wonderful, you can swim, dive and enjoy boat rides. There are also many National Parks, such as Liwonde, where you may plan a safari. Mount Mulanje, the highest peak in Malawi, has some of the most breathtaking views in the country (literally – hiking is exhausting!). Other places of interest include Zomba and Lilongwe.
NAYO has many contacts in the travel industry and can help you make choices about travelling as well as help plan safaris.