Living In Malawi: A Guide To Moving To Malawi As An Expat

With the bays and beaches of UNESCO-listed Lake Malawi, nine national parks and stunning wildlife reserves, expats in Malawi can enjoy vibrant city life with an expanse of beautiful landscape on their doorstep.

The cost of living won’t strain the wallet and if a simpler life grounded in community values appeals, you won’t be disappointed.

What to expect from living in Malawi as an expat

Densely populated Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries, but it’s friendly and inclusive of expats. About a fifth of the land is covered by tropical Lake Malawi, which sit along its borders with Mozambique and Tanzania. The capital is Lilongwe, the largest city, but colourful Blantyre, Malawi’s commercial heart, is also an expat hot spot.

This is a generally peaceful and politically stable country. For those living in Malawi as an expat, it’s power cuts and the absence of familiar goods and services that may pose the greatest challenge. Equally, Malawi’s leisurely, laid-back pace can be a source of frustration for anyone used to life in the fast lane.

What’s life like for expats in Malawi?

Malawi’s population is approaching 21 million, with 83% of its people living and working in rural areas. Raw tobacco, sugar and tea are the country’s main exports.

Around a million people live in Lilongwe, the administrative centre. It may lack the historical and cultural appeal of Blantyre, once named “the world’s top city”, but the capital has its fair share of cafes, restaurants, shops and markets, plus the country’s first five-star hotel, a 40,000-seat stadium and a 120-hectare wildlife park.

For expats in Malawi who work in tourism, life usually centres around Lake Malawi, where scuba diving and water sports are popular pursuits.