FAQ

Will I need a visa?

Yes, on the 1st of October 2015 Malawian Immigration require that all travellers from the UK (and many other countries) must have a visa on entry to Malawi.

These visas can be purchased on entry to Malawi and the cheapest one costs $75 USD. We recommend that you have at least this much in cash with you on entry to Malawi.

You may need a multiple entry visa if you are planning on leaving and re-entering Malawi during your trip. You can find more details on the Malawi Immigration Website here.

There is still a lot of confusion around this matter due to the recent new rules introduced by the Malawi government. We recommend that you check back to this page for updates and also keep a check on the UK government immigration page concerning Malawi:

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/malawi/entry-requirements

How safe are the projects?

On your projects you will always have a Love Support Unite volunteer close by. You won’t be left in a situation where you feel uncomfortable or unsure as to what’s happening. Your safety is paramount to us. All projects have been throughly established before your arrival. We carry out risk assessments and put appropriate safety measures in place.

Is it safe in Malawi?

In the seven years that we have been working in Malawi we have had no problems. We prepare all volunteers with guidelines preventing them from danger. If there were to be any political unrest, we would take measures to project, advice and guide all volunteers.

Are there any hidden costs in the trip?

We feel its important to be transparent with figures and finance. It is very important to us that you know where your money is going. There are no hidden costs.

The Love Support Unite fee. This is a cost for preparing you for your trip and managing the project that you are working on for theforeseeable future.This cost is as low as possible.

Project Costs – This is the money that we predict that you will need for your project enabling you to leave a long lasting legacy after you depart. You will physically have access to this budget whilst you are in Malawi. Any project costs that are left over will be donated to the Tiliananu orphanage or used to maintain the project.

How much spending money will I need?

From past experience it really depends on how much you travel you undertake or how much you decide to spend during the week in your spare time. Volunteers tend to spend £10.00-£30.00 maximum in the week. At weekends volunteers can spend another £50.00 on exploring Lake Malawi.

So over all we say

1 week trip = £30

2 week trip = £110

3 week trip = £160

4 week trip = £210

Will someone pick me up from the airport?

A Love Support Unite Representative will collect you from the airport. They will be clearly identifiable in a black Love Specs T-Shirt.

What happens if I become ill?

There will always be a Love Support Unite representative close by. You will have all our contact numbers whilst in Malawi. The local recommended hospitals will be clearly listed for you. In most cases a Love Support Unite representative will escort you to the hospital.

How can I contact home?

Volunteers are given a local sim card on arrival so people can easily contact you from home. You can access the internet easily from your accommodation with simple top up cards for your laptop or phone.

You can also use the local internet cafe if needed. A Love Support Unite representative is always happy for you to use their Skype account.

What is the local food like?

You have an option of free local lunch – this is a traditional dish called Nsema. Its quite bland and made up of maize flower and water. It can be really tasty with local relish (i.e spinach, tomato dishes and beans).

How should I book my flight?

You have an option of free local lunch – this is a traditional dish called Nsema. Its

We encourage you to book your flights with Kenya airways – be sure to check that you do not have a a long layover time.Ethiopian Airways also fly to Malawi.

Common routes:

London – Nairobi – Lilongwe International

London – Amsterdam – Nairobi – Lilongwe International

London – Ethiopia – Lusaka – Lilongwe International

London – Ethiopia – Lilongwe International

Please let us know your flights before you book them so we can have a look to see if we can find them cheaper.

uite bland and made up of maize flower and water. It can be really tasty with local relish (i.e spinach, tomato dishes and beans).

What happens if I need to cancel the trip?

If you need to cancel your trip please give us as much notice as possible. Your deposit may be used on another trip date.

What is Included with your trip

Pre Departure

  • Personal advice and support from a member of our UK team, who will help you develop and nurture your unique programme.
  • Pre-departure information, support and advice regarding clothing, equipment, medical issues, visas etc.
  • Advice on travel arrangements and insurance.

In Country

  • Meet and greet at airport in Malawi and transfer to accommodation.
  • 24/7 in-country support and representation.
  • Local SIM card (requires unlocked phone).
  • Malawi induction course covering language basics, local culture, currency and customs.
  • Accommodation while working on projects.
  • Transport to and from projects.
  • Food whilst working on projects.
  • Management of incidents and emergencies such as lost passport or illness.
  • 2 night stay at the beautiful Lake Malawi to rest and unwind before returning home.
  • Farewell meal and drinks on your last night to show our appreciation for your hard work.

On Returning Home

  • Telephone de-briefing.
  • Updates on the continuation of your project.
  • Reference for your CV if required.
Anti Malarials

You will need to take prescription medicine before, during, and after your trip to prevent malaria. Your doctor can help you decide which medicine is right for you, and also talk you through additional precautions to prevent malaria. See more detailed information about malaria in Malawi.

We recommend all our volunteers to take anti-malarials, and to have prepared and obtained their medication prior to their trip. For long stay volunteers, anti-malarials are available in Malawi for a far cheaper price than the UK, however we do recommend you plan ahead and have sufficient medication to last the length of your trip.

Local Culture

We ask all our volunteers to respect the local culture. We have built up strong relationships and have spent many years gaining the respect and trust of the communities in which we work. If you are volunteering with LSU, it is important to remember you represent LSU. Always remember you are a guest in Malawi, and Malawians place a lot of importance on manners!

It’s also important to remember that the Malawian dress-code is relatively conservative compared to Western countries. Girls, this means no knees! Women in Malawi will always have their knees covered and try to cover your shoulders when you can.

Boys, keep those tops on! We know it’s hot and we appreciate you will be working in high temperatures, but do as the Malawians do. It will make all the difference.

Be Sensible and Responsible
  • Make sure you have insurance.
  • Do not travel long distances at night.
  • Never travel on your own at night-time, no walking in the dark and NO public transport. Only taxi’s after the sun goes down (don’t worry – they’re very cheap!)
  • Wear your seat belt at all times when traveling – the law is the same in Malawi, there are fines and consequences.
  • Only carry as much as you need, leave other valuables in a safety deposit box or with a member of the LSU Team.
  • Act responsibly – please remember that you are representing LSU, the UK and Tilinanu Orphanage.
Vaccinations

Prevention is better than cure

You will need vaccinations to travel and volunteer safely.

You will need to see your nurse or GP 6-8 weeks prior to travel, who will advise you on the vaccinations you require to travel to Malawi.

The table below is a guide to vaccinations and medication required before entry. Please refer to  Travellers Health or NHS site Fit for Travel for more information.

Packing for Volunteering

You will be based in Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital city. A bustling city filled with markets and shops, you can buy everything from clothes and food to medical supplies. We find that many volunteers attempt to bring everything that they think they will need with them when often it is cheaper and easier to buy these items once you arrive. This approach also has the advantage of supporting local business and keeping luggage weight to a minimum. This means you can bring even more donations!

Whether working on your projects, socialising or on vacation at weekends we ask you to remember that you are representing the UK, LSU and most importantly Tilinanu. Within Malawi girls tend to have their knees covered and in more formal engagements such as hospital and teaching placements the shoulders are also covered. We encourage girls to wear long dresses rather than trousers. Malawian women are very reserved, respectful and well presented. You will be looked upon as a role model so please try to set a ‘good’ example. Boys the same applies–  trousers and shirts are recommended and a necessity when on teaching and hospital placements. It is important that we respect local custom if we are to be taken seriously.

T-shirts and shorts are fine within our building and outreach programmes.

There is a large flea market in the centre of Lilongwe where you can purchase cheap shirts, trousers, shoes, and dresses for as little as 50p. Please DO NOT go and spend a small fortune on smart clothing, it is much better to put your money into the local economy in Lilongwe. Love Support Unite staff are happy to show you around these markets upon request.

Recommended Items

Hand Luggage:

  • Passport
  • Valuable Electronics
  • Flight Information
  • Insurance Documents
  • Travel with small sum of British Pounds and US Dollars – this will allow you to travel comfortably on your  journey.
  • Spare change of clothes in case of delay or layover

Hold Luggage:

  • 4x smart outfits for working on placements
  • Swim wear
  • Sporting attire – shorts for boys – tracksuit bottoms
  • Warm jumper or coat for evenings
  • Trainers
  • Comfortable leisure clothing – This can be more relaxed clothing, skirts above the knee are more acceptable on weekend trips and in backpacker accommodation.
  • Suntan lotion!

Tips:

  • For safety we recommend that you padlock your hold luggage
  • In most places there is good connection to Wifi – if you wish to take smart phones, laptops, ipads etc we recommended insuring them.
  • Music speakers always go down well with the kids and locals and can be great on projects.
  • We highly recommend a camera to document your trip and preserve your memories.
Donate Some Luggage Space

Most flights will allow you two bags of up to 23KG some even allow up to 32KG.

We would be very grateful if you could use any spare weight you have left over to carry donations to Malawi for us. This could either be donations you have collected for your project or we can arrange to have a case of donations shipped to you before you leave.

This helps us to make the most of our donations and not spend large sums of money shipping donations to Malawi. It also means you will have an empty case to bring souvenirs back with you!