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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 Plane

Air Malawi is the national airline of Malawi and has its base at Chileka International Airport (BLZ) in Blantyre. Destinations to and from there include Dar es Salaam, Harare, Johannesburg, Lilongwe, Lusaka and Nairobi. South African Airways flies to and from Johannesburg.

By Bus

There are several AXA buses per day between Lilongwe and Blantyre, taking about 4.5 hours. Minibuses to Chitikale (where you can change for Likubula if you are intending climbing Mount Mulanje) depart from Limbe, taking about 1.5 hours. Minibuses to the Mozambique border at Muloza depart from Limbe. 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.

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 RoadHotel-
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.

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Keep Connected

Internet

There are internet caf├ęs in the main cities and tourist locations.

Skyband provide public WiFi hotspots around Airports, Restaurants, Hotels, Conference Areas, Cafe's, Sports Clubs, Bars, Pubs and General Public Areas.s. Credit is purchased with vouchers in denominations of 25MB, 50MB, 100MB, 200MB and 500MB at hotspot locations. The price is high when compared to a data bundle with a mobile provider.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Malawi's country code is 265.

The country's two man mobile gsm providers are Airtel and TNM. For 3G TNM has better coverage with Airtel only really covering the largest cities. Sim cards are available for 200 MWK.

Post

Malawi Posts provides services, that are affordable yet not very efficient or fast. Postcards will eventually arrive though. For parcels, it's better to use international courier services like DHL or FedEx.

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This is version 9. Last edited at 9:58 on Aug 12, 15 by Utrecht. 8 articles link to this page.

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