Malawi then and now

By | Category: Travel destinations

Slightly off the radar for many potential visitors, Malawi is a country that has made enormous strides in attracting tourists over the last fifteen to twenty years yet most people are unaware of the fact. Even the travel community hasn’t trumpeted the country’s achievements and usually they aren’t slow in wanting to court publicity.

Lions in boma in Liwonde National Park Image © Frank Weitzer.

Today coincides with Malawi launching its e-visa service which will make it much easier for tourists to visit. The process is as follows.

Applicants register and login on the e-visa platform, fill and submit and applications, upload supporting documents including applicants photo and pay the visa fees in advance in line with new payment arrangements.

Once the application is approved, a notification is sent by email and similarly on the login page where an approval document authorising entry into Malawi can be downloaded for use to facilitate the applicants travel arrangements and endorsement of a visa sticker onto the traveller’s passport at the port of entry by an Immigration Officer. Immigration will determine how many days you can stay at your port of entry

As with visa applications the world over there are any number of companies making money from submitting visa applications on behalf of their clients so use the official government website and you will be charged the base minimum and with no additional “handling fees.” That site is www.immigration.gov.mw or www.evisa.gov.mw.

Malawi becomes one of the few African countries in modernising its visa system to allow electronic application.

Whereas twenty years ago it was lagging behind other African nations in attracting visitors now it is one of the leaders.

In those early days, there were hardly any tourists and in parts of the country, few animals. Majete, for example, was an empty forest with nothing but a few remaining antelope. Today, after the reintroduction of  more than 2,900 animals of 15 species, employment is up 10-fold with more than 160 full-time employees, and over 11,000 tourists (50% of whom are nationals) who contributed $500,000 back to the park through tourism revenue last year.

Lake Malawi. the country offers more than just safari holidays

Majete has become one of Malawi’s premier wildlife destination with several accommodation options ranging from a budget campsite to a tented lodge situated on the falls of the Shire River.  

Other parks like Nkhotakota, Liwonde National Park & Mangochi Forest Reserve have also seen the reintroduction of animals giving visitors a choice of what to visit and see.

For years Malawi’s beaches, varied landscapes and fascinating and cultural experiences were largely unappreciated in the tourism market. Now the country has been some of the best that Africa has to offer and, in part this is due to the wildlife transformation brought about by African Parks’ conservation work which led to the creation of safari experiences that match those of more established destinations.

Other countries might have been longer established in the tourist market but Malawi has shot up on the inside straight to provide holidays that are as good as  – if not better – than any that other African nations can provide.

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