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Tell me about flying to Malawi...

(26 Posts)
ravenAK Sat 01-Jun-13 21:36:39

My fabulous SIL (dh's younger sister) is a teacher in Malawi. She's offered to pay for ds (aged 9) to fly out & visit her & dnephew this summer!

Ds would be travelling with BIL (dh & SIL's brother).

Clearly, this is a fabulous opportunity & dh & I have accepted delightedly.

However, I could do with some advice about the 28 hour flight. It looks like you transfer in Amsterdam, then Nairobi, with an 11 hour overnight layover in Nairobi.

For example, would it be a good idea to offer to get BIL & ds a hotel room in Nairobi? Any recommendations if so?

I've never flown outside of Europe, so am very hazy as to what it will entail - & whilst BIL is a much more seasoned traveller, he doesn't have dc of his own, & is probably imagining that he & ds can potter round the shops & then stretch out on a couple of chairs...

Any advice gratefully received.

Heavywheezing Sat 01-Jun-13 21:49:36

What about this sounds a good idea? You are not going? Malawi has malaria, you are trusting someone to make sure your child has the meds and nets etc.

I'd leave it until lo is older. As for flying, Africa is the least safest place to fly.

Ba goes to Nairobi though doesn't it?

ravenAK Sat 01-Jun-13 22:04:05

Hi Heavywheezing.

Actually, I'm quite confident in my SIL's ability to manage meds & nets - she's a mum herself & a childcare professional.

It's not financially justifiable for five of us (me, dh, 3dc) to fly out to visit them; but if SIL's generous enough to pay for ds's flight, & BIL is going out anyway & happy to escort him, it's an opportunity which I'm very pleased he'll have. Slightly more exciting than the week in Norfolk the rest of us have planned.

I've only done a cursory search for flights - BIL will be arranging that - but the one major concern which I do have is the length of travel time, hence asking for practical advice.

iwantavuvezela Sat 01-Jun-13 22:10:10

Raven, one option might be to fly direct to SOuth Africac(Jhb), that is about 11 hours. They could then either docs stop over in JHB, and then pick up a flight to Malawi ,,,, if I remember correctly this is about 3 hours. I know one of my friends who worked in Malawi would do this route when flying back to the UK. Although you are flying effectively past Malawi to SA, and then need to fly back to Malawi, the links are better. What a wonderful opportunity for you son.

ThwartedbyMum Sat 01-Jun-13 22:13:19

You can fly BA from Heathrow with a transfer in South Africa which is about 16 hour journey, or via Nairobi which is a 13 hour travel time.
I lived in Zambia for over a year, I think it will be a wonderful opportunity for your DS. Your GP can advise on jabs and stuff to have before he travels.

ravenAK Sat 01-Jun-13 22:15:21

Thank you iwantavuvuzela, I think SIL & dnephew have used that route too, now I think about it!

Obviously I'll need to discuss the logistics in detail with SIL & BIL, but it's nice to feel better informed this end smile.

ravenAK Sat 01-Jun-13 22:15:58

& ThwartedMum - thanks too! smile

Salbertina Sat 01-Jun-13 22:16:22

Oh please, OP's dd is 9, going with family for a wonderful experience , don't guilt the poor mother! Africa also has... Children and there are tablets for malaria (take for bilharzia too, its rife). Second Jo'burg suggestion.

ArabellaBeaumaris Sat 01-Jun-13 22:18:15

That sounds brilliant, lucky ds.

Unless you are looking to save cash I'd fly the most direct route possible, which will be via South Africa or Kenya as above. The more changes the cheaper the journey & the more hellish it becomes!

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 02-Jun-13 08:16:11

Would also want to fly the most direct routing possible. The current proposed routing is too much and would make me want to back out let alone this for a nine year old. Presumably it will be the same routing on return.

BA do a direct non stop flight to South Africa, I can only assume Amsterdam was mooted because that routing is cheaper (cheaper however does not always equal cheerful).

Some vaccinations need to be done at least 8 weeks before travel, will DS need to take anti malarial drugs?. Again these need to be started some time before and after returning to the UK.

I would also have a notarised letter drawn up and signed by both of you as his mum and dad giving permission for your son to travel to Malawi with your BIL. This could well be useful at border agencies.

Ensure your son has adequate travel insurance.

Salbertina Sun 02-Jun-13 10:16:20

BA, SAA and (i think) Virgin fly nonstop to Jo'burg. SAA cheapest. Emirates via Dubai worth a look if onward flight to Malawi. Pls pls ensure dc takes bilharzia protection, i know people who didn't think it was necessary who became infected.

ravenAK Sun 02-Jun-13 21:52:08

Attila - the Amsterdam routing came up on my first search, & I didn't realise there were faster, more direct options!

I'm inclined to agree that it's a hellish sounding journey. Think SIL does usually go via SA. Currently waiting on an email from BIL with proposed flying arrangements.

Good idea about the notarised letter, we'll do that. Contacting GP tomorrow about jabs & anti-malarials.

Salbertina - yep, will look into the bilharzia protection.

Thanks again to everyone for helpful advice!

specialsubject Mon 03-Jun-13 11:40:44

he'll also need an armful of travel jabs and insect repellent 24/7 to reduce chance of dengue, as well as the malaria tabs.

not a 'don't', just a 'be aware'

Stressedtothehilt Tue 04-Jun-13 20:14:52

My friend is just flying back from Malawi after being hit in the face with a gun and had her purse stolen after a restaurant was held up at gun point. She was there with her Malawi husband so he was local with local knowledge and she still got hit and has a serious injury requiring stitches and is flying back to the uk for treatment. I would rethink until dc are older or Until you can be there as well.

Salbertina Tue 04-Jun-13 20:23:19

Shame, but i know many, many people who have been there without incident. (And i live just next-door)

AgentProvocateur Tue 04-Jun-13 20:29:15

Our school sends pupils to Malawi every year, and I think the worst that's ever happened was food poisoning. Everywhere has its dangers, but life is to be lived. If you thought about the worst case scenario, you'd never go anywhere.

Stressedtothehilt Tue 04-Jun-13 20:29:25

Oh I would loveeeeee to go and my friend has lots of family there and visits often with her kids, but these things do happen out there

NorthernLurker Tue 04-Jun-13 20:34:19

I've known lots of people go too and nothing has happened at all. They've mostly gone via Amsterdam too come to think of it. If you trust bil and sil then let him go and have a great time.

ArabellaBeaumaris Tue 04-Jun-13 20:39:02

These things happen here too hmm

Stressedtothehilt Tue 04-Jun-13 20:48:13

Foreign office don't advice against it and most likely terrorism is far lower risk over there than here. I would take my children if offered the chance, just wouldn't let them go without me or dh. Just my opinion, but then I wouldn't let them go to Spain/USA/Australia either

ravenAK Wed 05-Jun-13 18:43:14

I'm quite happy to let him go! I trust SIL, who has been working out there for 4 years with her own young ds, & her local knowledge. Agree life is to be lived!

Thanks again to everyone for advice. He's been jabbed (Hep A & typhoid) & has malaria tablets to start prior to departure.

He's quite excited grin.

nannyafrica Wed 05-Jun-13 22:24:02

I lived in Malawi. I ran a company running safaris for families with children with special needs. (now back in the UK) sad
Where are you looking at flying from, if London Ethiopian Airways fly to Lilongwe and Kenyan Airways from London no need to go to Amsterdam 8 hours to Nairobi then on to Lilongwe. Coming back there is a long wait at Nairobi airport but no time to go into the city and it would be dark (not the best time to be on roads in Nairobi!) There is a restaurant at the airport were you can get a free meal because of the long wait they don't tell you this, you have to walk past the prayer room and go upstairs. I have friends in Lilongwe they moved from the UK and she has given birth there twice and both boys are healthy. It's a beautiful country, and if he can get to Liwonde National park for a safari he will love it (so many elephants) He will need to take care if going into the lake around Cape Maclear with bilharzia (if you are worried there is a clinic there they weigh you and give meds according to weight which he can take later on when he returns). Its because there are so many people there using the lake, I was further up north and swam everyday in the lake and a friend has a diving school there no one that has ever dived with them has ever got it. I wish I was going smile

MrsMillions Fri 07-Jun-13 15:59:45

My sister went to Malawi last year an also flew Ethiopian Airways.

Myosotis Fri 07-Jun-13 16:06:52

You need a yellow fever immunization certificate and Kenyan visa to leave jomo Kenyatta airport. I saw families spread blankets and sleep on the floor.

Kenyan airways is one of the cheaper airlines going to east africa. Like a pp said, you may get a different connection time if you fly heathrow / Nairobi / Malawi. 11 hours is a bit much I would say. If you do do the 11 hour layover, get the visa and the certificate, because it's an awfully long time to hang around the airport.

mignonette Fri 07-Jun-13 16:15:08

My StepD's best friend caught Bulharizia after swimming in Lake Malawi so might be best to be conservative about allowing swimming. However, medication is effective and basic common sense is the best prevention and treatment re risk.

As for the comments about the 'dangers' (muggings etc), I'd stand just as much chance of being mugged in many British cities. Some of these concerns have a little 'Heart of Darkness' about them....hmm

I hope your offspring has a wonderful time and how lovely for your family to spend time with each other.

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