Malawi - Giving something back

Giving something back

Clothing for sale by Malawi TourismClothing for sale © Malawi Tourism

Kate Webb, Responsible Safari Company (tel: 01 602407; email:;

When visiting any destination we should all be looking to travel more responsibly and visiting local communities is one way you can do this. Malawians are renowned for their warm welcome and with tourism still in its infancy it remains very easy to head off the tourist trail and experience rural Africa.

The Responsible Safari Company offers eco-tourism day visits in Blantyre, Thyolo, Mulanje, Zomba, Mangochi and Cape Maclear to ensure the benefits of tourism reach local communities in these areas. These visits offer the chance to interact with local Malawians, learn more about rural village life, cook Malawian food and join in some traditional dancing! Visits can range from 1 hour to overnight stays and longer skilled volunteer placements can also be arranged.

When visiting any local community, keep these guidelines in mind to ensure your visit makes a positive impact:

• Do make time to visit local communities. These experiences are often the most memorable of your time in Malawi.

• Don’t hand out money direct to the community; this causes problems between community members and encourages a begging culture.

• Do support local sustainable organisations, to ensure your benefit is shared by the whole community.

• Don’t hand out sweets. Dental healthcare is not accessible for most people in Malawi.

• Do donate locally bought resources, pens, papers, books, etc, to local schools and projects.

• Don’t take photographs without asking. Do email or send your pictures back to the community when you return home.

• Do learn a few words of Chichewa, a smile and a local greeting will make you friends very quickly!

• Do respect local customs by wearing conservative clothing when visiting local communities.

• Do buy locally made handicrafts as this helps to support the local economy.

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