Posted by: Alex MacGregor | March 13, 2010

City Life in Blantyre

After spending a couple weeks without anything resembling the services of a big city, we were in desparate need of some services: internet, laundry, toiletries–all are very difficult to obtain in small towns and cities.

Since Blantyre, Malawi’s main busines and finance hub, was centrally located to a number of things we wanted to do, we decided it would be a decent place to take a break from the bush.

Before going to Mulanje we spent two nights here, and when we got back from hiking we spent another three nights–although these final days were mainly spent waiting for a bus to Zimbabwe. Over the course of our time there, we managed to get a great sense of the city.

Victoria Street–Blantyre’s main drag.

The CCAP Church, constructed by Scottish missionaries in the 1890s. Blantyre was designated a trading center by the missionaries, and it has served that function very successfully ever since.

The Mandala Manager’s House, a colonial-era house with nice gardens and a good cafe.

I wanted a side pouch added to my bag, so we hired Weston, one of the menders along Haile Selassie Road, to do the job. Weston also fixed a seam on Caroline’s skirt and repaired some jeans I tore getting out of a minibus.

Chinese food, at long last!

At our favorite Blantyre eatery, Kips, we had the aptly titled “Special Milkshake Chocchip (Amazing)”

We stayed at the lovely Henderson Street Guesthouse, located right next to the central bank.

The market.

When the largest bills a country prints are worth about $3, you need a giant wad of money to head out into the country for a couple days. I gave up on the idea of folding my wallet.

Shockingly expensive groceries at Shoprite. This bottle of sunscren would probably cost around $10 in the US, but here in Malawi it costs about $40. And it doesn’t end there: you can help yourself to a $10 bottle of Pantene Pro-V or a $13 bottle of hand sanitzer! The notion that Africa is a cheap place needs a HUGE asterisk.

Magic Obama Strawberry Flavoured Bubblegum!


  1. pleeeaase send me that gum.

  2. Well, that sunscreen does protect against “Every Sun” so it might be worth it. Although it appears to be only 18 SPF.

    Also, the gum!

  3. […] always imported, and it’s something mainly used by tourists with money to burn. Remember the $40 bottle of sunscreen in […]

  4. […] last meal in Cuba was in Havana’s Chinatown. Like the Chinese food we had in Malawi, when you have Chinese food in a place like Havana you’re really just trying to stave off a […]

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