Volunteering in Malawi FAQs

When do I need to arrive in Malawi?

You can start the programme at any time of the year. Please refer to the schedule for placement starting dates. You can stay for as little as a month, and as long as you'd like.

What immunisations will I need?

DTP (Diphtheria, tetanus and polio): Essential
Hepatitis A and B: Recommended
The project site is within a malaria area.

Are we able to do any sightseeing while volunteering?

Absolutely, the project is well positioned for day-trips to other conservation destinations, places of historical and cultural significance, art and craft markets and entertainment venues. A variety of tour companies operate within the region, so volunteers have the choice of guided tours or self exploration. Vehicles can also be hired from Blantyre if you would like to do some self exploration or spend a day or two at Lake Malawi. Volunteers typically make full use of their weekends for travelling. We also give volunteers one extended long weekend, so that they may travel to destinations not within close proximity.

Are there more expenses once I arrive?

The programme fee covers all the necessities, accommodation, materials, airport pickup and so forth. A weekly trip is organised to the local town/village, allowing volunteers to replenish supplies of personal items, or stock up on their favourite goodies. The trip itself is free, but volunteers must obviously pay for their own shopping.

How safe is it to volunteer in Malawi?

Malawi has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and in Africa, and is known as “The warm heart of Africa” as far as personal safety is concerned; moreover, you are staying in a rural area and we do have guards on duty 24 hours a day, everyday. To date, no volunteer has ever encountered any problem.

What clothing do I need?

Clothing should be appropriate for physical, dirty work. Old clothes are perfect. Even in summer we suggest you have light-weight, long-sleeve clothing, for protection from the sun, mosquitoes, and prickles and scratches. Good sturdy shoes are a must.

How many volunteers are there on site at the same time?

This depends on how many people volunteer at one time. A maximum of 12 volunteers can be accommodated.

Can you tell me more about the partner organisation in Malawi?

The philosophy of the project is as follows:

  • to provide a sanctuary for wildlife, free from the pressures created by mankind and other predators;
  • to preserve an increasingly endangered wilderness area in Africa;
  • to offer volunteers a unique blend of conservation experience and cultural exploration;
  • to educate and encourage an active interest in Malawi’s environmental and wildlife conservation;
  • Encourage eco-tourism into the area for the benefit of the local communities;
  • Introduce outreach programmes for the local communities.  

What are the criteria for volunteers to be accepted into the programme?

Each applicant is considered by the information provided to us. If further information is required, we will e-mail applicants asking for supplementary information.  We also look at each application for skills and experience specifically related to the programme applied for. We look at volunteer experiences, travel experience and also an applicant's particular interest in the programme to make our decision.

Who organises my visa for my volunteer placement?

You will be granted a three month tourist visa on arrival, provided you have a valid passport. If you choose to stay in the country longer, either as a result of extending your volunteer placement or to travel, it is possible to extend your visa. Your passport should be valid for at least six months after you intend to return home. You will also be asked to substantiate that (i) you have enough money to support yourself during the remainder of your stay and (ii) you have a return ticket.

Do I need travel insurance?

As with any overseas traveling, insurance is recommended. There are companies that specialise in volunteer travel insurance.  It should include medical and accident cover as well as a 'loss of deposits' cover which covers all fees paid to airlines etc (up to US $10,000). The costs vary, but ranges from US $150.00 for the first month and then US $100.00 per month after that.

How do I pay my programme fee?

Your programme fee deposit is payable to our UK Based company Project African Wilderness Trust 4-8 weeks prior to the date you wish to volunteer. Please note that all charges incurred by the payment of the programme fee are at the volunteer’s expense, e.g. there is a 5% surcharge on credit card payments. Bank transfers also incur a bank fee at the point of origin that is at the expense of the volunteer.


PAW: Promoting environmental conservation and development in Malawi.

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