Malawi's currency is called Kwacha and 1 Kwacha is subdivided into 100 Tambala (cents). Banknotes are in denominations of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 and 2000 Kwacha. Coins come in denominations of 1, 5, 10 Kwacha however 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 Tambala are rarely used nowadays.
Malawian Kwacha Currency Code: MWK
"Mk" - This is the symbol you'll see alongside (some) prices / rates
Yes, the US Dollar (USD) is widely accepted by many local businesses and Accommodation Lodges in Malawi however it's also wise to carry a sufficient amount of local Kwachas for those smaller businesses who prefer or deal only with their local currency.
You will notice that most Accommodation Lodges in Malawi quote their rates in the US Dollar currency (USD)
Travellers to Malawi can quite easily convert the South African Rand, US dollar, British Pound and Euro currencies into Kwacha at bureaux de change and banks in main towns & cities. Some hotels are authorised to offer currency conversion services but be sure to confirm this service with the hotel prior.
Major credit cards including MasterCard and Visa cards (Diners Club / American Express to a lesser extent) are accepted by most hotels, restaurants, retail outlets & tour operators in Lilongwe and Blantyre - where most ATMs are available. If you are travelling to a rural or remote location in Malawi then keep in mind that some shops and fuel stations can only accept cash, and may not have any ATMS to draw money out of - therefore cash in hand is very important.
There are 9 commercial banks in Malawi:
This may vary depending on the bank but operating hours are generally from:
08:00am → 2:00pm from Monday - Friday
Most hotels, lodges and tour operators in Malawi quote in US dollars but also keep an eye out for related services quoting in Kwacha because you might find yourself saving a lot of money paying in Malawi's local currency as opposed to the monetary exchange rate loss from MWK-USD conversions.
When travelling to Malawi via vehicle, make sure you carry a sufficient amount of cash in Malawi's local currency for border fees because not all border posts accept credit cards nor have the facilities to do an electronic transaction as such. Most border posts accept currencies from the country you're entering from however kindly contact the border authorities directly to confirm.
http://www.malawiaccommodation.africa cannot be held liable for any change in exchange rates and information above.
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