Got a trip planned to Malawi? Malawi can be fun to visit any time of year, but you'll want to make sure you're dressed right. The weather is warm and a little humid with muggy evenings year-round, with temperatures averaging around 78°F (that's 26°C). So what should you wear so you can stay comfy and fit in with the local vibe?
To make the most of your trip to Malawi, a good rule of thumb is to pack comfortable clothing that you can layer. Loose-fitting clothing in breathable fabrics will keep you cool in warmer weather, while a light jacket or cardigan will come in handy for cooler days or evenings. And if you plan on doing any sightseeing, be sure to wear comfortable shoes. Nothing like a nasty blister to ruin a good vacation, right?
In just a second, I'll share my specific recommendations for exactly what to wear in Malawi—whether you're visiting Lake Malawi, going on a safari, exploring Lilongwe, or visiting the Zomba Plateau.
Editor's note: Malawi is in the tropics, which means seasons like summer, winter, spring, and fall don't apply. Most tropical destinations do have a wet and a dry season, but temperatures are typically warm year round.
What should women wear in Malawi?
Malawi is generally warm, and there are a few key items you'll want to pack. Here's what I definitely wouldn't go without: maxi dresses, denim jacket, lightweight pants, pashmina, and long-sleeved shirts. With these essentials, you’ll be all set to experience everything Malawi has to offer.
A maxi dress is the perfect Malawi staple. It's comfortable, flattering, and can be dressed up or down to suit any occasion. Whether you're exploring or just relaxing, a maxi dress will keep you cool and stylish all day long. It's also a great way to cover up for modesty if you need to (simply add a long-sleeved cardigan over the top). And packing a maxi dress is a breeze—simply roll it up and tuck it into your suitcase. When choosing a maxi dress, look for one made from lightweight fabric such as linen or cotton. Avoid bold prints and opt for simple colors that can be easily accessorized.
These would be perfect:
A denim jacket is great to have in Malawi. They are stylish and can be dressed up or down, making them perfect for any occasion. Denim jackets are also very versatile. They can be worn over a dress for a night out or with jeans and a t-shirt for a casual day exploring. Best of all, denim jackets are lightweight and easy to pack, making them ideal for travel. When choosing a denim jacket for Malawi, look for one that is comfortable and flattering. A classic denim jacket will never go out of style and can be worn year after year. For a more unique look, try a distressed denim jacket or one with embellishments such as embroidery or beads.
These would be perfect:
If you're planning a trip to Malawi that involves any sort of physical activity—hiking, climbing, biking, etc.—you'll want to pack a pair or two of lightweight pants. They're much more comfortable than jeans or khakis when you're sweating, and they'll dry much faster if you get caught in a rain shower. You can also roll them up and stuff them into your backpack or suitcase without taking up too much space.
Need some inspiration? Start here:
A pashmina is a must-have accessory for a trip to Malawi. They can be used as a scarf, sarong, blanket, or even a headscarf. They are light and easy to pack, yet they provide warmth and color to any outfit. Pashminas come in a variety of colors and patterns, so it's easy to find one that compliments your personal style. When choosing a pashmina, look for one that is made from natural fibers such as wool or cashmere. These fibers are not only more durable, but they will also breathe better and keep you covered without making you sweat.
These would be perfect:
Long-sleeved shirts are an essential part of any travel wardrobe. They can be dressed up or down, and they offer sun protection on bright days. When choosing a long-sleeved shirt for Malawi, it's important to look for one that is comfortable and breathable. A lightweight cotton shirt is a good option, as it will keep you cool in warm weather and can be layered under a sweater or jacket when the temperature drops. It's also a good idea to choose a shirt in a neutral color that can be easily paired with other items in your suitcase.
Here's a few ideas to get you started:
What should men wear in Malawi?
For guys, here's the list of essentials I recommend you start with: light jacket, linen shirts, tank tops, stylish hat, and sneakers or loafers. With these in your suitcase, I guarantee you will enjoy your trip to Malawi in comfort and style.
A light jacket is always a good idea to pack for Malawi, even if the weather is forecast to be warm. You never know when the weather will change or you'll end up in an air-conditioned place. They're also useful for protection from the sun and wind. And of course, it can get chilly in the evenings. But not all light jackets are created equal. For example, denim jackets are great for everyday wear but they're not always packable because they can be bulky. A better option is something like a nylon windbreaker which can be rolled up into a small bundle.
Why not grab yourself something new before you go:
Packing for Malawi can be a daunting task, but there are a few items that are essential for any trip. One of those items is a linen shirt. Linen is a light and airy fabric that is perfect for a variety of weather conditions. There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing linen shirts for travel. First, consider the color. Linen tends to absorb sweat and can become stained quickly. Light colors will help to keep you cool, while dark colors mask any stains better. Also, choose a shirt with a loose fit. Linen shirts are not meant to be skin tight!
These options are both stylish and comfy:
Tank tops are just such a versatile item of clothing. They can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion, and they're perfect for hot weather. When packing tank tops for a trip to Malawi, it's important to choose ones that are comfortable and breathable. You'll also want to make sure they're easy to care for, so you can wash them easily while on the road. Plus it's a good idea to pack a few different colors and styles, so you have options to suit any occasion. With a few key tank tops in your suitcase, you'll be prepared for anything on your Malawi adventure.
Here are some options I'd recommend:
A good hat can be the difference between a great Malawi trip and a terrible one. Not only do hats help you look your best in photos, but they also make you feel more confident and put-together as you explore, adding a touch of style to any outfit. To choose the right hat, consider both function and fashion. A wide-brimmed straw hat is perfect for protecting your face from the sun (this is a good idea in all weather!) while a trilby is ideal for nights out on the town. No matter what your plans are in Malawi, just know there's a hat for the occasion.
I found these which would all work great:
Sneakers or loafers
Sneakers or loafers are essential for visiting Malawi. They're comfortable, versatile, and easy to pack. And, when you're on your feet all day, they can help prevent aches and pains. But how do you know which sneakers or loafers to pack? If you'll be doing a lot of walking, opt for a sneaker with good arch support and cushioning. And don't forget style! Sneakers and loafers come in countless colors and designs, so pick something that goes with the rest of your outfits.
Why not treat yourself before you go:
When is the best time to go to Malawi?
The best time to go to Malawi is during the country's dry season, which runs from roughly April to September. During this period, the weather is generally dry and sunny, making it ideal for exploring everything Malawi has to offer. That said, you can often avoid the crowds and find a great bargain on hotels and airfares outside of the peak season—the only real downside is getting caught in the occasional monsoon downpour.
How do people typically dress in Malawi?
The way people dress in Malawi varies widely depending on the region and the cultural influences present. In some areas, traditional dress is still widely worn, while in others, more modern styles have become popular. However, there are some commonalities when it comes to fashion in Malawi. Bright colors are often abundant, as are patterns and prints. Fabrics such as cotton and linen are very common, as they are both comfortable and practical in the hot climate.
What should you NOT wear in Malawi?
There are no specific restrictions on what you should wear in Malawi. It's fine to dress casually when out and about, although it's still important to be respectful of cultural norms—especially when visiting sites of historical or religious significance. Some places may have their own dress code, so be sure to follow any local guidelines.
I hope these recommendations for what to wear in Malawi will help make your visit unforgettable. Now that you have a better idea of what clothing to take, it's time to pack your suitcase—and then go ahead and enjoy everything Malawi has to offer!