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Old 28 Jun 2011
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Fuel shortage Malawi

Just to inform anyone going to Malawi;

Apparently since about 3 months their is both a petrol as well as a diesel shortage in Malawi.

We just crossed with four motorbikes from south to north Malawi, and about 80 % of the fuelstations is completely empty. We have been waiting for 5 hours for a fuel truck to arrive. In many places they told us that it ussually takes about 3 to 4 days for petrol to arrive. In another station they told us there was no petrol for 2 weeks.

As we heard from many othre people, the diesel problems are worse than the petrol problems...
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Old 28 Jun 2011
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yeah.. Its been like that for ages.. It was when I was there in December/Jan and was before..

Just plan your fuel carefully and don't be in a rush. So what if you have to wait a few days on the lake... Malawi is beautiful..

The bigger towns have it every few days so you might be ok. It's not as big of a deal as you may think as long as you aren't on a crazy schedule. Malawi is a small country really.
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Old 29 Jun 2011
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Important info - thanks for the heads-up.

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Old 22 Jul 2011
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In my experience, finding fuel in the bigger towns/cities was a lot harder

I never ran out, just stop when you see a gas station having fuel. Usually you can tell because they dont have fire ext. or cones in front of the pump, or there's a big queue
In smaller towns i always found fuel

Also up north to Tanzania getting fuel is easier, perhaps because fuel comes from Tanzania.

Also it's quite expensive, but fixed price for fuel at 290 kwacha
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Old 2 Sep 2011
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Has anyone got an update on fuel availability in Malawi? Will be there next week but passing through reasonably quickly so I cant really afford to get stranded for any length of time.
Any suggestions on places to see/stay in the north of the country?
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Old 3 Sep 2011
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I was there last week. (from Lelongwe to the north following the lake)Some petrol stations in Lelongwe had no petrol, only diesel. For the rest I didn't saw any problems.
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Old 21 Sep 2011
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Lack of Fuel

Originally Posted by Boomster View Post
Has anyone got an update on fuel availability in Malawi? Will be there next week but passing through reasonably quickly so I cant really afford to get stranded for any length of time.
Any suggestions on places to see/stay in the north of the country?
I was there, travelling north to south on the lake road, in mid-August. It's all fine until you get down near Salima. There, I was told no fuel for 5 days. So went out to Senge Bay resort and camped. What a great place to wait for fuel!

The security supervisor, hearing of my problem, quickly managed to get me 10 litres, at the normal price of 290 kwachas per litre, on the black market. This just got me down to the town at the Mozambique border, where there was plenty of fuel.
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Old 23 Sep 2011
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petrol available in malawi, diesel still a problem

hi all,
just to let you know, it seems like there is no petrol problem in malawi at the moment. diesel is still scrce though!


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Old 17 Oct 2011
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Fuel in Malawi

We are in southern Malawi now and the fuel stations are dry for 6 days now. There is occasional petrol but no diesel. Of course there is the black market, but check the fuel carefully as we have heard reports of adulterated fuel.
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Old 17 Oct 2011
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We lived in Malawi for a year in 2009/10. The fuel shortages were a problem then -sometimes diesel is harder to get, sometimes petrol. You may get lucky, you may not. There's really no pattern to it. The longest our nearest town (Mzuzu) was dry was 10 days. Unfortunately no likelihood of this improving in the near future. So assume it will be a problem.

Speak to the manager of the fuel station - they will often go out of their way for mzungu visitors and if you give them your mobile no they will probably be happy to ring you with news of when the next tanker is due. If you see a tanker or are told one is due get in the line. Often the fuel is gone within a few hours.
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Old 18 Oct 2011
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when we were there earlier in the year, also big fuel shortages - we were desperate for some and were advised to go to the fuel depot next to the lake, think it was at Chilumba, and ask the truck drivers. who were nearby napping under trees, washingthier trucks etc. Sure enough they had some containers of fuel stored in an old shed - managed to beat them down to the normal fuel price as well. I fished out my diesel funnel filter for the first time ever and poured their diesel through that - it did have 10% water in it, which I let them keep ; )
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Old 19 Oct 2011
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Crisis not yet over...

We were on the Malawi border in Chipata, Zambia last Sunday (16th Oct). And decided not to go in because of what other travellers coming out of Malawi reported to us.
Fuel is only available at a very few fuel stations in Lilongwe, the queues are massive (around 5 hours to get through to the pump) and often fuel has run out once you are through. Fuel stations in all other parts of the country have no fuel to sell, both Unleaded and Diesel. There is a blackmarket though, selling fuel for around US$3 a litre. And this must be arranged at least a day ahead.

As I've said, that's what other told us. But the stories were quite consistent.

No good conditions for motorbikes...
no risk - no fun
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