Blantyre

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Blantyre is the economic capital of Malawi.

-15.793165 34.994036
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  • Metropolis over 100 hotels
  • Big city 50-100 hotels
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  • Small city 5-20 hotels
  • Village below 5 hotels

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  • Casino Casino
  • Civic property Civic property
  • Education Education
  • Entertainment Entertainment
  • Golf course Golf course
  • Green space Green space
  • Harbor Harbor
  • Historic site Historic site
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  • Medical Medical
  • Monument Monument
  • Museum Museum
  • Shopping Shopping
  • Skiing Skiing
  • Sports facility Sports facility
  • Theater Theater
  • Winery Winery

Points of Interest in Blantyre

  • Mandala House home of the La Caverna Art Gallery and cafe. It is at the top of the hill on the other side of the river from downtown. The building is one of the oldest in Blantyre and beautiful, as are the spacious grounds. There's plenty of outside seating and a children's playground too. The cafe serves $6–8 lunches, various coffees, ice-cream, and cake. Hours are 8:30AM–4:15PM M-F, and Saturday morning. The gallery has some great carvings and pictures, and there's also a museum section upstairs, which is apparently open in the mornings.
  • St Michael and All Angels Church, PO Box 413, CCAP Blantyre Mission (off the old Chileka Road, up the hill from the clock tower roundabout, past the bus station and private hospital on your left and then next left),  0881 635 111. Once described as the first permanent church between the Zambezi and the Nile this church was designed by a Scottish missionary helped by local workers. He, David Scott, had no architectural or building experience at all and had no written plans. This was just as well as The Church of Scotland would have stopped his plans had they known how ambitious they were. He was also writing a language dictionary at the time of building.

This also is where Blantyre was founded when a local chief gave land to the Scottish missionaries and a slave freed by David Livingstone.

St. Michael and All Angel\'s Church

Kamazu Stadium

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About Blantyre

Background

Blantyre originates from the birthplace of the missionary Dr David Livingston, who was born in Blantyre, Scotland. Blantyre is the main commercial city in Malawi.

Activities

  • Blantyre Tours (http://www.blantyretours.com/), P.O.Box 1252, Blantyre, Malawi,  +265 (0)9344617. Take a local tour of Blantyre with one of Malawi's most successful artists, Hussein Gopole. Hussein is a regular character on Malawi's radio stations, he recently performed in 'Mercy Madonna': a play at the Edinburgh Festival and he set up and runs the 'Village Cultural Troupe', Malawi's no. 1 dance troupe. He hails from Limbe and gives local tours of the city's townships, uncovering the best of Blantyre's secrets.
  • Record a Song, Synod Offices, CCAP Blantyre Mission, Chileka Road, PO Box 413 (Get yourself first to St Michael and All Angels Church. From the front door face down the hill and ahead and on your left you will see some offices. Go in and check that they are the the Synod Offices and ask for the recording studios or the music director). 8AM-4:30PM. Did Malawi put a song into your heart? Why not go straight to a very reasonably priced recording studio and proceed directly onto stardom. Ask for the music director at the Synod offices and see the prices on offer.

Food

Budget

  • Vendors are all over the streets in Blantyre. They sell a range of food items from fried chips, chicken, etc. to hard boiled eggs, bread (mostly milkscone variety and yellow buns), biscuits (locally made from Universal Industries), and so on. Plenty of ripe fruit and vegetables are also readily available for a good price. On the whole, however, street food is nowhere near as tasty as many other African countries tend to offer.

Mid-range

  • Alem Ethiopian Restaurant, in the heart of the busy city Alem offers Malawian favorites (like nsima with rice, chicken and chips, etc.) as well as authentic Ethiopian dishes served in bowls straight from Ethiopia. Ethiopian coffee, served with cloves and salt, is a must-have for any coffee lover. The owners, friendly Ethiopians themselves, have been running the restaurant for over ten years.
  • Aub's Steakhouse, operated by new arrivals from South Africa, rivals 21 Grill for the best steak in the city. This is the only place where the servings are so large, you might actually have to leave some food on the plate! A good assortment of steak, seafood, and other fare. Half of the restaurant is a sports bar with bigscreen T.V. while the other half hosts a children's play area with T.V. and a Western theme. Open for lunch and dinner every day. Phone 09960628/09966507.
  • Baba Delhi Darbar, heavenly tasty Indian food with a wide variety of vegetarian meals. Situated in the city of Blantyre at Victoria Avenue close to Mt. Soche Hotel.
  • Blue Savannah, fast foods and takeaway, located at the site of Eclipse Lodge (close to Mt. Soche and Air Malawi). Great pizza, chips and burgers. In the same complex, opening soon, is a homemade ice cream shop, bakery, expat grocery store, sit-down fancy restaurant and coffee shop (by mid to late 2007). Phone 08827613.
  • Scoops & Shakes, For homemade Ice Cream in exotic flavours also milk shakes, Thick shakes, Juices, Coffee's waffles and crepes. Try our ice cream made with 100% natural ingredients. Is situated at the site of Malawi Sun Hotel & Conference Centre (close to Mt. Soche and Air Malawi.) Phone: 08827613.
  • Cappineros offers a relaxing outdoor or indoor setting just a short ride from downtown Blantyre, but far enough away that it feels out of the city. To get there just go past the casino and you'll see the entrance on the right (if coming from downtown Blantyre). As of 2007 they have free salsa lessons every Tuesday night beginning at 7PM. Phone: 08 843 892
  • Chez Maky, a delightful out-of-the-way respite from the city, is a great place to get together with business associates or a few friends (space is available for conferences). Situated on a multi-level wooden deck protected from rain, the proprietor is a delightful host originally from Cameroon who makes everyone feel right at home. Grilled meat is particularly well-done here (some of the best in the country) and real coffee with desserts are a nice addition to any meal. Located on Kabula Hill Road past Seventh Day Adventist Hospital (just go past the hospital, which will be on your right, go on the road straight till you see a sign on your left, go straight on that road, third house on your left. Open every day from 8 to 10PM. Phone: 09203029, 01833764
  • China Da Restaurant and Lodge is a newly opened restaurant, the largest Chinese restaurant in town with an expansive menu. The roast duck is a must try. They are open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, and meals can be had for less than 1000 MWK. There are 5 private dining rooms for parties, complete with television and karaoke. A full liquor bar serves Western spirits as well as Chinese varieties. For a truly luxurious experience, go for a Chinese massage in the attached massage parlor before you enjoy dinner. The location is very convenient, centrally located between Blantyre and Limbe, directly across the street from Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital. The address is Ginnery corner (Johnstone Road) behind People's Trading Center. Phone 0888953333 01880882 Email carey808020@hotmail.com
  • China Sunrise 08 352 746. Opened in 2006, offers mainland style Chinese food available in the city. A converted residential home offers a quiet, relaxing atmosphere with plenty of male waiters eager to serve. To find China Sunrise, proceed to Mwaiwathu Hospital and head toward the direction of Chileka Airport. Perhaps a kilometer or two past Mwaiwathu on the left there is a sign directing you to the place, which will wind you a bit into a housing area.
  • Curry Corner, located at Chichiri Shopping Center in Blantyre. Authentic Indian Cuisine also serves non curries. Fully stocked bar. Next to Shoprite and Game stores. Serves lunches, dinners and take outs. Open seven days a week. Call : 0888843291 / 0995422224 / 01919310. Alternatively drop a line at currycorner@africa-online.net. Here every meal is a unique experience, with a wide selection of dishes to suite every taste and budget.
  • 'The Spicy Flavors Restaurant (formerly known as Royal Taj)', offers pure vegetarian Indian cuisine. Highly recommended. Plot no BC 48 Livingstone Avenue. Cell 08 201 768 / 04 108 821.
  • Greens, rumored to be among the best in town for grilled meat, braii style. Warning to families: the restaurant opens late and will not allow children.
  • Hong Kong is an old favorite of many in town who enjoy Chinese canton cuisine. Currently run by a friendly Chinese lady from Hong Kong and her American husband. This pagoda style restaurant has been in Blantyre for over 40 years and has always been a family business serving over 100 well portioned dishes. The interior resembles the inside of the emperor's palace by Tiananmen Square. The chef is from Hong Kong and has been with the restaurant since it opened. Situated almost right next to Mt. Soche Hotel. Phone: 01 820 859
  • Hungry Lion, found in the Shoprite complex opposite Chichiri Stadium, is a favorite with Malawians because of the simple chicken and chips menu it offers. A franchise, this location is often so pitiful (unless you only want an ice cream cone) that some visitors who don't like the long wait or poor operation in general have stopped giving it a go altogether.
  • Jungle Pepper Pizzaria is the place for a wide assortment of pizza and various toppings. Very tasty! Currently the seating is limited and mainly outdoors (up the hill from Portugalia/formerly Nandos). But in mid 2008 they plan to move to the Chichiri shopping complex which will offer much better seating and yummy pizzas. Great for take-away too. Phone: 08 826 229
  • Portugalia, formerly known as Nandos but now no longer a part of that chain. A popular destination for anyone traveling by minibus but a headache to those driving their own vehicle. This restaurant is famous for the blends of Lemon Herb or Peri-Peri chicken. The setting is very busy, but now that the vendors have been removed much quieter than formerly. Once inside the store you can forget the crowd of minibuses right outside and enjoy pita wraps, chicken and chips, pine nut burgers, and more. An adult meal (children's also available) will cost about about 700 kwacha ($5–7).
  • Royal Taj 01 822 376.
  • Salvatores Situated in the premises of Villa 33 Salvatores is an Italian influenced restaurant onsite with a large outdoor eating area that overlooks the gardens it is favoured as a meeting place for both locals and visitors and lends itself perfectly to elegantly informal entertaining, be it a relaxed lunch with friends or a sumptuous romantic dinner. Email: View the menu online by visiting the website [2]

Splurge

  • 21 Grill, at Ryalls Hotel. The attention the servers give you is alone worth a reason to go (far superior to most other places where 'service' is not really a thing people know about). Kudos to 21 Grill for their terrific food AND service! Phone: 01 820 955.
  • Bombay Palace 08 200 200. Opposite Ryalls Hotel, offers delicious authentic Indian cuisine. Reservations are recommended as it can be busy on weekend evenings.
  • L'Hostaria 01 636 025. In a new location (as of 2004), is THE place to go if authentic Italian is your thing. With plenty of space for hosting special parties, the food is very good with service to match.
  • Jungle Pepper Pizzeria 0888826229. Opened in 1997.has moved to Chichiri Shopping Centre (Shoprite) within the food court. Lots of seating area and lots of yummy pizzas.
  • Aub's Steakhouse 09960628/09966507. Opened 2007 (The former the Pizza Palace), serves lunch and dinner everyday, has childrens playroom.

Drinks

  • Doogles
  • Mustang Sally. Very up-market bar/club located near the casino. Featuring an indoor swimming pool alongside the bar as well as a highly impressive and ever expanding collection of whiskeys.
  • Blue Elephant. Very busy bar at weekends, easily accessible from doogles lodge by taxi for about MK700.
  • Twigga Lounge. Popular club, 5 minutes walk from Blue Elephant. Has a pool table and shisha on offer for MK600. Often charging a MK500 entrance fee.

Shopping

Blantyre is the commercial center of Malawi and travelers come in from all over the region (including neighboring Mozambique) to stock up on supplies—food, construction materials, electronics, etc. The downtown area is full of Asian (Indian) run shops, as is nearby Limbe. A bustling market area popular with locals offers all kinds of fruits, veggies, used clothing, construction materials, etc. on the cheap. Newer Western-style shops are available for those who just want to get in and get out (i.e. Game and Shoprite at Chichiri). Savers Choice is a well-stocked Asian run store heading toward Limbe that caters to the expat community with hard-to-find food items, a good bakery, an ice-cream bar and candy shop. Prices for the same thing can often vary from shop to shop and an abundance of counterfeited products flood the market, so it's best to shop around and stay on guard.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Blantyre on Wikivoyage.

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