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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.
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.
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.
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).
The centre of Blantyre is compact enough to be negotiated on foot.
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.
|Hostellerie de France||Chilomoni Ring Road||Hotel||50|
|Villa 33 Blantyre||33 Chilomoni Ring Road Namiwawa||GUESTHOUSE||-|
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.
See also International Telephone Calls
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