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Blantyre

Travel Guide Africa Malawi Blantyre

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Introduction

St Michael and All Angels church

St Michael and All Angels church

© All Rights Reserved mohn

Though Lilongwe is Malawi's political capital, Blantyre is its commercial capital and the Blantyre-Limbe metropolis is the largest urban area in the country. Named after the birthplace of David Livingstone, Blantyre does not have much to occupy travellers in the way of sights, but it is a transport hub and a useful admin stop for ATMs and shopping.

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Neighbourhoods

The centre of Blantyre is where you'll find accommodation and shops, but you'll need to visit Limbe to catch bus/minibus services to, say, the Mozambique border. Blantyre and Limbe are connected by numerous minibuses each day.

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Sights and Activities

  • The Church of St Michael and All Angels (informally known as the CCAP Church) was built in the late-nineteenth century by Scottish missionaries. Given that they had no training in architecture or construction, the end result is impressive.
  • You can use Blantyre as a base for a day (or more) of hiking on Mount Mulanje.
  • Tours of the Carlsberg brewery in Blantyre are available. This was the first Carlsberg brewery opened outside of Denmark, and is the source of the Green that you will drink throughout Malawi.

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Getting There

By Bus

There are several AXA buses per day between Lilongwe and Blantyre, taking about 4.5 hours and costing MK3,000 (Aug 2009).
Minibuses to Chitikale (where you can change for Likubula if you are intending climbing Mount Mulanje) depart from Limbe and cost MK450 (Aug 2009), taking about 1.5 hours. The reverse journey costs MK300 (Aug 2009).
Minibuses to the Mozambique border at Muloza depart from Limbe and cost MK600 (Aug 2009). Note that some minibuses simply have "Border" on their destination board so, as there are at least 4 distinct borders reachable from Limbe, make sure you're on the right minibus! The route to Muloza goes through Chitikale, where you will no doubt have to wait for more passengers before continuing on to the border. As such, you might want to buy a ticket just to Chitikale then see if there's another minibus looking likely to leave sooner. The trip from Chitikale to Muloza takes about 30 minutes.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

There are many minibuses per day between Blantyre and Limbe, costing MK50 (Aug 2009). There is a large Shoprite in a shopping centre along the way - the fare from Blantyre is also MK50 (Aug 2009).

By Foot

The centre of Blantyre is compact enough to be negotiated on foot.

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Drink

The bar at Doogles (see Accommodation) is always lively in the evenings and plays some of the cheesiest music to be found anywhere in Africa.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Hostellerie de FranceChilomoni Ring RoadHotel83
Villa 33 Blantyre33 Chilomoni Ring Road NamiwawaGUESTHOUSE-
  • Doogles, (+265) 1621128, Kaoshiung Rd - Doogles is very close to one of Blantyre's bus stations and also near where the AXA buses from Lilongwe terminate. It's popular with backpackers, though the bar area gets swamped with South African expats and locals in the evening. The rooms are so-so value but there are few alternative budget options in Blantyre. An ensuite room costs MK3450 (Aug 2009).

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Keep Connected

Internet

Doogles (see Accommodation) has Internet access for MK350 per hour (Aug 2009) but many photo-intensive sites (such as Flickr) are blocked. There is cheaper access in the centre of town but the speed is highly variable.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

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This is version 8. Last edited at 2:07 on May 24, 13 by sleepBot. 8 articles link to this page.

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