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Appropriate dress code while travelling in Malawi

6 posts
Appropriate dress code while travelling in Malawi


My partner and I are of retirement age and will be travelling in Malawi (Blantyre and Lilongwe) for a week in late October-early November. I see that conservative dress is still required and some websites suggest I should only wear long skirts and my partner long trousers when out and about. Is this still correct?

Thank you Mr Ivan and others who are doing a great job answering our questions.

3 replies to this topic
Sheffield, United...
Level Contributor
3,346 posts
1. Re: Appropriate dress code while travelling in Malawi

I think some of the websites are still back in the Hastings Banda era!

Wear what you like, I wear shorts all the time during the day, trousers at night simply for mozzie precautions.

The only time you "need" to wear a more formal atire is if visiting a mosque, or official office.

Ladies on the other hand should dress "modestly" when in rural areas, that is no bare shoulders, and legs covered to below the knee, The easy way to do this is use a "chitenje" a cloth wrap, worn universally by women especially in the rural areas, and they make great tablecloths and talking point at home. at other times, shorts or trousers will do fine.

At the beach, then "normal" beach gear is perfectly acceptable, and in fact is normal.

Note that the Southern Lakeshore area where most of the lodges are located, is predominately Muslim, so out of the lodges, a reasonable level of modesty (but not strictly) applies. In other words, if visiting in Mangochi, no brief ladies shorts, or off the shoulder blouse, but "long" shorts will do fine. The days when women were forbidden to wear shorts is long gone. but I suspect as "folk of a certain age" I don't see you causing an upset !


Cape Town, South...
Level Contributor
28 posts
2. Re: Appropriate dress code while travelling in Malawi

I can only speak for Lilongwe, don't wear bum shorts or mini skirts in old town across the bridge,or near the markets,a lot of conservatives,muslims and mosques in this area,the area around shoprite and game should be fine though.

Level Contributor
3,850 posts
21 reviews
3. Re: Appropriate dress code while travelling in Malawi

In the Northern Region, short sleeve shirt/blouse was OK, but not bare shoulders. Skirt to at least below the knees.

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