Currency

Malawian kwacha (MK)

Daily Costs

Budget: Less than US$50

  • Dorm bed: US$10
  • AXA bus from Lilongwe to Blantyre: US$16
  • Carlsberg beer in a bar: US$1

Midrange: US$50–150

  • Flight from Lilongwe to Blantyre: US$90
  • PADI Open Water dive course: US$380
  • Guided wildlife walk: US$20

Top End: More than US$150

  • Flight from Lilongwe to Likoma Island: US$295
  • All-inclusive single room in wildlife lodge: US$350–550
  • Restaurant main course: US$11

Bargaining

At craft and curio stalls geared towards tourists, bargaining is expected. Some vendors might initially ask for double the price they’re willing to accept; haggle until you arrive at a mutually agreeable price. Try not to have the attitude that people are trying to rip you off. If the price seems fair and affordable to you, there’s no point in bargaining someone down just for the sake of it.

Money

Banks, including Standard Bank and the National Bank of Malawi, line the main road east of the market. Their ATMs accept foreign cards and you can change major currencies here. In the latter bank, head to till 2 (forex and bill payments) to withdraw your card limit in Malawian kwacha. If you’re going to Nkhata Bay or Karonga, both have banks with ATMs, but just in case stock up on cash in Mzuzu.