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Malawi Film & Photography Production Services & Camera Crews

Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for film / photography production support or shooting crew in Malawi? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project.

Filming in Malawi

For an introduction to shooting in Malawi see below notes on film locations, permits, when to shoot, unique local stories, costs, tax incentives, crews, talent, equipment, communications, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits for filming, transport, film-friendly accommodation, and safety advice.

Malawi Film Locations

Malawi is a small landlocked country located in southeast Africa. Running the length of Lake Malawi along the Great Rift Valley, the country’s hilly landscape gives it a diversity of film locations including rainforests, highlands, plains, and dramatic river valleys. Malawi is best known for its natural beauty and African wildlife. Lake Malawi is home to more species of fish than any other lake.

Agricultural film locations of note include tobacco, cotton, tea, sugarcane, corn, and coffee plantations. Malawi mines uranium, and coal. Energy locations include hydroelectric plants, thermal power plants, and solar power stations.

Malawi has hosted productions including The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019), Gabriel and the Mountain (2017), and The Amazing Race 19 (2011).

Film locations can be divided into the following regions:

Central Region

This includes the districts of Dedza, Dowa, Kasungu, Lilongwe, Mchinji, Nkhotakota, Ntcheu, Ntchisi, and Salima.

Lilongwe is the capital and the largest city. Film locations include National Assembly, University of Malawi, King’s African Rifles War Memorial, Kamuzu International Airport, Bingu International Conference Centre, Bingu National Stadium, and Maula Prison.

Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve is known for its miombo forests and fauna such as elephants, hippopotamus, baboons, and leopards.

Ntchisi Forest Reserve is one of the last remaining patches of tropical rainforest in southern Africa. The reserve is home to a diversity of birds and monkeys, and rare flora such as orchids, forest mushrooms, and wild figs.

Kasungu National Park is home to elephants, buffalo and zebra.

Dedza-Salima Forest Reserve is another reserve of note located in the central region.

Northern Region

This includes the districts of Chitipa, Karonga, Likoma, Mzimba, Nkhata Bay, and Rumphi.

Chintheche has some of Lake Malawi’s best beaches.

Likoma Island in Lake Malawi is known for St Peter’s Cathedral.

Chizumulu Island is the smaller neighbouring island.

Nyika National Park is known for its grassland, forest and wooded valleys which are home to elephants, leopards, buffalos, zebras, and a diversity of birds. The rainy season sees over 200 types of flowering orchids.

Manchewe Waterfalls plunge 125m into a valley below.

Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve is known for its marshy wetlands and the diversity of birdlife that can be filmed there.

Southern Region

This includes the districts of Balaka, Blantyre, Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Machinga, Mangochi, Mulanje, Mwanza, Nsanje, Thyolo, Phalombe, Zomba, and Neno.

Blantyre is the country’s financial centre and second largest city. Film locations include St Michael and All Angels Church, Museum of Malawi, and Chileka International Airport.

Lake Malawi National Park protects a diversity of freshwater tropical fish and birdlife. Other wildlife includes chacma baboons, vervet monkeys, hippopotamuses, leopards, common duikers, bushbucks, greater kudus, klipspringers, and crocodiles. Cape Maclear, located in the park is known for its beautiful beaches and resorts.

Lake Chilwa is the country’s second largest lake. Its shallow waters are home to a variety of birdlife.

Liwonde National Park offers a beautiful riverine setting with large numbers of elephants, hippos, crocodiles, lions and cheetahs.

Majete Wildlife Reserve is home to leopards, elephants, giraffes, buffalos, black rhinos, and lions.

Lengwe National Park is home to antelopes, leopards, and hyenas.

Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve is located at the far southern end of the country.

Zomba Plateau is a massif known for its cedar, pine and cypress forests, as well as lakes and waterfalls. The sweeping landscape views from the peak can be accessed by vehicle. Nearby waterfalls of note include Williams Falls and Mandala Falls.

Mulanje Massif is the country’s highest peak.

The Thyolo Tea Estates are located in the area between Mulanje and Blantyre.

Malawi Film Location Permits

Most locations are possible given time, money and the right approach. Please contact us for location specific information.

When To Shoot?

Malawi has a tropical climate with two seasons. The dry season from May to October is the best time to film for weather and for wildlife activity. The humid, rainy season runs from November to April. The end of the rainy season is best for spectacular storms and lush, colourful vegetation. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Events of interest to filmmakers and photographers include:

• The Malipenga Dance Season in August is a traditional celebration of one of Malawi’s most iconic dance forms.
• Vimbuza is a healing dance popular among the Tumbuka people.
• Tchopa is a sacrificial dance of the Lhomwe people.
• The Lake of Stars Festival takes place in September.

Malawi is a majority Christian country, so those holidays are observed. There is also a significant Muslim minority.

Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in Malawi.

Unique Local Stories

Brands are looking for local stories that match their brand narrative. Our local teams are a great lead for sourcing those unique stories and characters.

If you are looking for stories for your next shoot, send us your brief and we will pitch you ideas.

If you have a unique story you would like to pitch to a brand anywhere in the world, pitch us your idea. We have well-established processes to ensure that your ideas are properly seen and protected.

Costs & Tax Incentives

Costs. Locations, local talent and support crew are inexpensive but since little to no filming infrastructure exists all key crew and equipment must be brought in from abroad. Being a landlocked country means costs for certain imported goods can be higher than in neighbouring coastal countries. Our Malawian fixer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.

Tax Incentives. At present there are no tax incentives for foreign commercials or films shooting in Malawi.

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Malawi has a very small local pool of directors, videographers and stills photographers. Key crew should be brought in from abroad.

Contact us if you are looking for a director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, or any other film crew for your shoot in Malawi.

Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable.

English and Chewa are the official languages.

The Chewa, Lomwe, Yao, and Ngoni are the largest ethnic groups. Smaller ethnic groups include the Tumbuka, Sena, Mang’anja, Nyanja, Tonga, Ngonde, Lambya, and Sukwa people. There are also small communities of caucasians and Asians. All other talent looks are best cast abroad.

Malawi Film Equipment

Equipment. Best to bring in all camera, grip and lighting equipment from abroad.

Communications. Communication is key. Our agility and global experience allows us to customise the right communications systems for every shoot.

Web posted casting, scouting, and videoconferencing.

For clients that are unable to attend set we offer a virtual video village solution. This dedicated and secure high-resolution video streaming platform allows clients from one or multiple timezones to view setups without compromise and to participate in real-time with the team on set. Separate systems can be set up for the discrete conversations that are required to make a job run right. Working remotely with our local teams reduces your content production costs, turnaround times, carbon footprint, and risks associated with unpredictable global events.

Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production

Art department and set construction is very basic.

Studios and backlots. None exist at present.

Post Production. Post abroad.

Visas & Work Permits

Crews travelling on passports from Western countries can obtain visas on arrival (with the exception of Irish citizens who can enter visa-free). US citizens may wish to apply for visas ahead of time. See here for more information. Our Malawian fixer / service producer will arrange for additional documentation to ensure your film crew can enter and work in Malawi.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Several international airlines service flights to Malawi. Main roads in Malawi are relatively good compared to other countries in the region so travel times especially during the dry season are not too bad. Some roads may become impassable during heavy rains. Our Malawian film fixer organises safe and reliable 4WD transportation. Travel at night is best avoided.

Accommodation. Film friendly hotels in Lilongwe:

Sunbird Capital
Crossroads Hotel

Please contact us for corporate rates.

For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.

Final Notes

Safety. See here for up to date travel advice. See here for vaccinations required for Malawi.

Final Notes. Malawians are a friendly, welcoming people. Most people live in rural areas giving the country a relaxed vibe. Head out to the villages and hang out with the locals.

Projects. For an example of TV commercials, stills campaigns, online content, corporate videos, virtual reality 360 content, feature films, TV series and documentaries shot in Malawi, please see below:

Hire Malawi Production Support & Shooting Crew

If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in Malawi, please contact us.

If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Malawi, such as a director, DoP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, please contact us.

We are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly.