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Hiring a car in Malawi

The Responsible Safari Company is based in Malawi. We provide accommodation, transportation and tours across Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique and above all have lots of local knowledge!

Here are the top 10 FAQ's regarding hiring cars in Malawi.

1. How do I choose a reputable car hire company?

The rule we usually go by is do they have a website and do they answer phone calls and emails within 24hrs!

Getting a recommendation from a friend is also always a good start. Try and see if the company provides other travel services around Malawi, if so they will be well established. 

2. It seems expensive to hire a car in Malawi, why is that?

Car hire here in Malawi is expensive. Fuel is almost the same cost as in Europe and the cost of importing and maintaining vehicles is expensive. If you get offered cheap car hire check what is included!

3. What inclusions and exclusions should I expect to be paying for?

This is very important! Many people get cheap car hire quotes only to find they are based on unlimited mileage (ie every kilometre they travel they have to pay at a rate) so it might seem cheap but may turn out more expensive than a fully inclsuive quote.

Depending how long and how far you travel try and get a car hire inclusive of mileage, insurance and tax. Check you are insured- most companies can ensure you up to 100% but you will have to pay slightly more. It is worth it!

Make sure the car hire company will replace the vehicle if it has maintenance problems!

4. Do I need a 4 x 4 vehicle?

This really depends where you are travelling to and which season you are visiting Malawi. Between December and April many roads/tracks are impassable due to the rains so a 4 x 4 is necessary (eg the track to Cape Maclear, Lake Malawi). Best to check with your hotel or car hire supplier.

5. Can I do self drive? Or do I need a driver?

Malawi is ideal for self drive and if you have experience with driving in Africa then go for it! BUT please be warned that the roads in Malawi are also routes for all wildlife, people and market stalls. Drive slowly and avoid driving at night.

6. Where can I hire a reliable driver/guide?

A driver/guide is one of the most important parts of your trip! The Responsible Safari Company personally trains their driver/guides and we would recommend hiring a guided vehicle through them.

7. What are the roads like in Malawi? Is it easy to find my way around?

Most of the main roads in Malawi are tarred and particularly in the south and central areas they are largely in good conditon. Main towns are marked but we would advise taking a road map (the Malawi Macmillan one is best). Please check with you hotel before travelling to more remote areas. eg Nyika Plateau, Cape Maclear, Liwonde National Park.

8. What documents do I need to drive in Malawi?

If you are just travelling to Malawi your home driving license should suffice, but check with the car hire supplier if you are not sure. Some car hire companies only accept drivers above 25.

9. I heard that fuel can be a problem how do i make sure my holiday is not disrupted by fuel issues?

Please have a read here for the latest update or email kate@responsiblesafaricompany.com

10. Can I take my hire car over to Zambia or Mozambique?

Some car hire companies allow vehicles to be taken across the border. Please note you need the car hire supplier to have a police check on the vehicle and to have obtained the relevant documentation to allow you to cross the border.

Still confused email kate@responsiblesafaricompany.com

Best wishes

The Responsible Safari Company