Hostels in Malawi Hostels in Malawi

You are looking for hostels in Malawi? Good news, you have come to the right place.

On this page we list every single city with hostels and other budget accommodations. helps you to find your Malawi hostel and compare its prices on the major booking sites such as Hostelworld, Hostelsclub and So you can sleep on a budget and save money while backpacking Malawi.

All Cities in Malawi

We list every single hostel in Malawi and the world. In total, we have 5 cities in Malawi for you. Please note that not all cities actually have a hostel to stay in. Below you can filter for cities with hostels and with no hostels-type accommodation, but guesthouses and budget hotels. This will help your planning.

All Malawi hostels on a map

Alright, you are more the visual type? Planning your trip with a map is always handy.

Therefore, this map shows you all cities with hostels in Malawi. It will help you to plan your trip. Just zoom in the map and click your destination for more details. Just so you know: If we do not have a hostel in a city, it is likely that there is no hostel in that city.

Our handwritten guide on Backpacking Malawi

Independent since the mid-twentieth century, the landlocked Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries but nonetheless, one of the easiest to travel in and one of the most interesting for backpackers. It is one of the most underdeveloped countries in the world, and it's primarily an agricultural country that survives in very large part thanks to foreign aid. It has, however, a lot of very good budget accommodation choices and the cost of living is very low for this part of the world, making it ideal for backpackers.

Malawi is bordered in the north by Tanzania; to the west by Zambia; and to the east, south, and southwest by Mozambique. The country is dominated by Lake Malawi, which forms around three-quarters of the eastern border and is more than three-hundred-sixty-five miles long. It’s also one of the deepest lakes in Africa, at just over seven hundred metres deep in places. The tourist hot spots in Malawi are Cape Maclear, Nkhata Bay, Zomba, and Livingstonia, all of which are well serviced by Malawi hostels. There are also a number of reserves and national parks in the more remote regions that are great to visit if you have the time and transport to do so.

Public transport is primarily by minibuses that leave when full and traveling in the morning is the best bet. The Livingstonia plateau is accessed from the village of Chitimba on the main north-south highway M1, but the dirt road is rough and very steep, so a four-wheel-drive vehicle is essential. Very occasional public pickups make this trip in the mornings. More mountainous scenery can be had in Zomba, where the plateau is more easily accessed by taxi or motorbike taxi along a tarred road and there are some lovely walks here. Nkhata Bay is a well-grooved backpackers' stop and a pleasant place to laze by the lakeside and do a bit of snorkeling.

Travelers do somewhat overestimate the practicalities of getting around in Malawi. Although transport is plentiful, most of it travels in the mornings and the vehicles go when full. If there are not enough passengers later in the day, come back tomorrow! A useful stopover on the way to Nkhata Bay, if you don’t make it all the way, is Mzuzu. This is the major crossroads town that you change transport in to get to Nkhata Bay and It’s also a useful place to stock up on cash at the ATMs and do a supermarket shop before you go to Nkhata Bay where the choice is somewhat limited.

Curiously, for a landlocked country, Malawi is known for its beaches. Cape Maclear, on the southern shores of Lake Malawi, is a backpackers’ magnet. A beautiful, long, sweeping beach and dry scrubby hills inhabited by monkeys frame this fishing village. There are a number of Malawi hostels here and it is very popular with travelers and volunteers alike. Snorkeling, scuba diving, and boat trips to the outlying islands are some of the activities that can be organized here, or you can just laze on the beach.

Malawi is a great place for independent travelers, as there is a pretty good selection of backpackers' hostels in Malawi in all the places mentioned here, which provide dorm accommodation for the budget traveler. Facilities at the backpacker hostels in Malawi are fairly basic but clean and they are very cheap compared with other countries in the region. Don’t expect the free Wi-Fi, DSTV, or kitchen facilities that you might find in other countries in the region but on the whole Malawi hostels are clean and friendly and great places to meet other travelers with information for your onward journey. If you want to get online, it’s best to buy a local SIM card (and dongle for your laptop), which you can load with airtime or data quite cheaply at any of the ubiquitous roadside stalls. There is a very large community of volunteers in Malawi too, that use Malawi hostels, and these are excellent sources of information for getting off the beaten track, as most volunteers are working in rural areas.

expert for Malawi hostels

Handwritten by local expert for Malawi hostels LondonroadMa

Travel Tips for Malawi - from the Community

Hey fam! Here are a few more tips from the community, from them to you, and you to them. This space is dedicated for travellers to share their best tips on backpacking Malawi. Have a closer look - the Hostelz community share real hidden gems, insider knowledge and overall impressions of Malawi. Everyone is welcome to add something useful, funny, unexpected and the "absolutely necessary to know before you go" - share, share and then share a little more!

FAQ on Hostels in Malawi

There is a lot of travel planning to do. So let us help you once again by putting together the frequently asked questions:

Finding Hostels and Prices

What hostel booking sites are best to use?

There is several hostel booking sites, such as, and While every platform has its pros and cons, there is a universal truth you as a traveler should be aware of: Not a single booking site can always offer the best prices.

This is where comes in. You can compare all major booking portals with one click.

For you as a traveler, is the best booking site to actually save money.

How much are hostels in Malawi?

Prices always vary, depending on various factors. Weekends tend to be more expensive, same goes for special holidays. Please also take into account local vaction time.

You can search for exacty hostel prices in Malawi here on Pick your destination and pick a date. The system will track down the prices to give an idea of what budget and prices you can expect.

When to book hostels?

If you want to stay at the best hostels, it is a good idea to have your hostel booked around 1 month before you travel. For the regular hostels, booking one week before should be okay. Yet again, this always depends.

We dedicated a full article to the topic of when to book hostels.


Safety and Packing

Are hostels in Malawi safe?

Generally speaking, hostels are as safe as you make them. We highly recommend always to bring your own padlock, using the lockers and taking care of your belongings. Make sure you pick a safe hostel, offering lockers and a safe location. Please always pay attention to the reviews; they can give you a great insight on what to expect and safety tips.

What to pack when staying in hostels?

There is a few basics you should always pack when staying in hostels.

  1. Padlock
  2. Earplugs
  3. Sleeping Mask
  4. Quick Dry Travel Towel
  5. Head Lamp

There is more actually. We wrote a complete guide with more details. Read our full hostel packing list.

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