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cycle Malawi for Open Arms

pre-trip preparation

how fit do I need to be for this cycle?

This is a real challenge with a tough ascent up to the Zomba Plateau. To prepare for cycling along the rural African roads, endurance training is a must and can be accomplished by doing weekly long rides building up to 75% of your target distance. Once your aerobic fitness improves you will build up your ‘muscle memory’, ultimately preparing you for the challenge.

are there any pre-challenge training days / weekends / briefings?

Yes, a challenge briefing will be provided approximately three months before you depart.


We have a number of pre-challenge Training Days in London and the North and South Downs, and Weekends in the Peak District, Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons spread across the year, from early Spring until September, so there should be a weekend to suit you, although please note that these are treks rather than cycles. Please look on our website for more information. 

do I need a visa / insurance / vaccinations?

Visa - Yes, British nationals do need a visa to enter Malawi for tourist purposes. You will receive advice on how to apply for your visa closer to your departure date.


Insurance - Each participant must have a travel insurance policy that adequately covers them for all aspects of the trip. Action Challenge works regularly with Campbell Irvine: If you wish to purchase your insurance through Campbell Irvine please call +44 207 938 1734 or email


Vaccinations – We advise you speak to your local GP or travel clinic for up to date advice on which vaccinations are needed for Malawi. Advised vaccinations include Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid, Diptheria and Rabies.

what bikes will we be using? / do I need to bring my own bike equipment?

We will be using all terrain bikes for the challenge. You must bring a helmet with you and it is imperative that it is worn at all times. If you wish to bring your own saddle / peddles with you, you may do so. However, standard ones are provided. There will be a water bottle holder on your bike, but you will need to bring a water bottle with you – more details will be provided on your kit list once you have registered.

How old do I have to be to take on this challenge?

You need to be a minimum of 18-years-old at the start of the challenge. Participants aged 16 and 17-year-olds may also participate in an International Challenge but will need the agreement of a parent or guardian of legal age. This same guardian or parent will have to accompany them on the challenge and sign a parental responsibility form. Please note our International Challenges are mainly aimed towards adults therefore we don’t recommend children to book.

life on the trek

how big is the group? / what support will there be?

All of our challenges are group adventures and the average size is approximately 20 participants. We welcome individuals, couples and groups of friends on to our challenges, and many who join us literally have a mountain to climb in terms of the scale of the challenge they are taking on. We advocate camaraderie and team bonding, and really believe that this enhances your experience.


Your challenge will be led by an experienced Action Challenge leader. Our leaders are selected for their experience, knowledge, enthusiasm, sensitivity and sense of humour, and will ensure that your trip runs smoothly.


You will also be accompanied by an Action Challenge doctor, who will be carrying a fully stocked medical kit in case of any emergency. They will carry out daily health checks, and the re-assurance of their presence should allow you to focus on, and enjoy your challenge!


We have a full support team in country with two way radio contact between the Action Challenge Head Quarters in London and local staff and satellite phone for emergencies. If for any reason you need to leave the group early local staff will assist you and will arrange transfers, accommodation and medical care if necessary.

what is the weather like while trekking & cycling?

September is one of the best times to visit Malawi. It will be pleasantly warm and dry down by Lake Malawi, with cooler evenings. This is also the best time to view game in Liwonde National Park, before the rainy season makes some roads impassable.

what will the food / accommodation be like?

Food - We will have an unlimited supply of fully purified and treated water, and three varied and nutritious meals a day. Breakfast will be at the accommodation/campsite and will typically consist of porridge, toast and eggs. We will have packed lunches en-route, with dinner at the accomodation each night. As the challenge is taking place in areas that are not frequently visited by tourists, these meals are likely to be basic but nutritious.

Please note, we do our best to accommodate dietary requirements when notified in advance.


Dietary Requirements - Please note that we will do our best to accommodate all dietary requirements if informed in advance.


Accommodation- Three nights in basic but comfortable lodges, two nights camping and two nights in hotels.

Single Supplement - If you decide that you would like to have your own room on the challenge, we can accommodate this in the majority of places where notified in advance.

flights and extending your stay

can I book my own flights?

Yes, this becomes our land only package and reduces your final balance or minimum sponsorship balance - please contact us for more information if you are looking to book your own flights.


You will be required to arrange all flights and transfers in order to meet the group at the starting hotel on day 2 of your challenge and Action Challenge will require details of your travel arrangements before departure.


Please note you are unable to change your package once final balance invoicing has been completed and tickets have been issued by the airline.

can I extend my trip or amend my return flight home?

Yes! Malawi has a number of sights and activities to take part in during your stay. Consider aqua diving in the bay or sightseeing adventures at several wildlife reserves. If you are interested in extending your stay in Africa, a request will be made to the airline once we have your specific dates.

funding, fundraising & inclusions

how can I fund this challenge?

Your registration deposit is paid online to secure your place on the challenge. You are then committed to raise a minimum amount of £3000 sponsorship for Open Arms Malawi, with part of your fundraising covering the cost of your challenge.


There is also the option to pay £2295 to cover the cost of your place, and then commit to raise a minimum of £700 for Open Arms Malawi. 

what's included?

  • International and domestic flights
  • Action Challenge cycle guide
  • Full support team, including local guides
  • UK medic
  • High quality touring bike hire 
  • All accommodation
  • All meals, except in free time
  • Airline taxes
  • Treated drinking water 
  • All transfers in local vehicles 
  • National Park entrance fees
  • Celebration dinner
  • Invitation to a challenge briefing in London
  • Fitness and training guide
  • Discounts from UK retailers
  • Reduced rates at Nomad Travel Clinics and Masta Health

what's not included?

• Insurance 
• Tourist Visa 
• Vaccinations 
• Tips for local staff 
• Bike helmets

how do I sign up?

To secure your place on this challenge, please click on the BOOK NOW button at the top of the page. Please ensure you have a credit or debit card with you to pay your registration deposit. You will also need to have the below information to hand:


• Name as per Passport
• Home Address
• Email Address
• Telephone Number
• Date of Birth
• Dietary Requirements (if applicable)
• Details of any Medical Conditions (if applicable)
• Next of Kin Details


Before you embark on your challenge, it is essential that we receive your passport and travel insurance details. If you do not yet have this information, you can re-log into the form before you depart by using your email address and the password you create.

find out more

Your financial protection:

The air holiday packages and flights shown are ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority in the UK. Our ATOL number is 6296. In Ireland the air & holiday packages and flights that are shown are protected by CAR license number TA0297. Please see our booking conditions for more information.