Tap water in major cities like Lilongwe, Blantyre, Zomba and Mzuzu is generally safe. Ask at the lodge/house you're at. Some travellers with weaker stomachs may be advised to avoid this drinking water. Bottled water is plentiful in all the major shops.


The only beers you will generally find are brewed in Blantyre by Carlsberg, and it's products are available in restaurants and stores throughout the country. A normal Carlsberg is known as a 'green', but also come as Special Brew, Stout, Classic, Elephant, Light or Kuche Kuche. You can also buy imported drinks such as Heineken, Kronenbourg, Smirnoff Ice, Barcadi Breezer and some ciders in certain bars. Malawi also produces it's own spirits - notably Malawi Vodka, Malawi Gin, Malawi Rum, Gold Label Brandy and the cane spirit Powers. Malawi Gin & Tonic is a very nice, popular expat drink in the country.

soft drinks

A traditional local drink worth trying is maheu, a somewhat gritty and vaguely yogurty but refreshing beverage made from maize meal. Factory-produced maheu is sweet, comes in plastic bottles and is available in a variety of flavors including banana, chocolate and orange, while homemade versions are usually unflavored and less sweet.

The variety of soft drinks in Malawi is very popular - there's Coke, Sprite, Tonic, Ginger Ale, Soda Water, Cherry Plum, Cocopina and the very tasty, sugary Fantas coming in Orange, Grape, Exotic, Passion and Pineapple flavours. These are manufactured by SOBO, the glass bottles are on a deposit system. Expect to pay MK25 extra per bottle unless you bring some 'empties' with you.