Blantyre, the commercial city of Malawi, is vibrant, friendly, and fun. When travelling through Malawi, Blantyre should be a definite stop. In this, the second-largest city in the country, there are many cultural heritage sites, wildlife reservations and some great spots for entertainment. Here’s a list of the best things see and do in Blantyre.
Established as the Museum of Malawi in 1957, the museum is a historical, cultural, and research centre. This museum preserves and exhibits artefacts that tell the history and culture of Malawi and its people. Situated along the Chipembere Highway, a few metres from Chichiri Shopping Mall, the Museum of Malawi – also known as Chichiri Museum – is a place where visitors see and learn about the Iron Age, Malawi’s military history, traditional medicine, jewellery, currency, early farming tools, and traditional dancing apparels. There is also an exhibition about Malawi’s involvement in the slave trade. Traditional dances, such as Gule Wamkulu, Beni and Malipenga, are performed for guests daily. Visiting Blantyre city will be a worthy endeavour if the destination is Chichiri Museum where Malawi’s gems are kept.
Michiru Mountain is a habitat for wild animals, like African python, hyenas, wild dogs, antelopes, monkeys, and different species of birds. It is easy to encounter these animals while walking around the mountain. Just a 15-minute drive from town, the mountain stands between Sanjika Palace (the state house) and Chileka International Airport. Climbing to the top of Michiru Mountain gives a beautiful view of the townships in Blantyre city, as well as its plantation of pine trees and indigenous trees. When the pine plantation is thick, the mountain is foggy, the weather is cold, and at times there are drops even when it is hot in the city. There are streams that never dry up on this mountain. When water shortage hits the city, people from the surrounding areas get water from Michiru. Long ago, it was associated with evil spirits, and there have been reported cases of missing people. The peak of the Michiru Mountain is now a place of worship for the Catholic church, which erected a huge stone cross. There are other metallic statues along the way up the mountain before reaching the big cross. These features make Michiru Mountain a tourist attraction for Blantyre city.
Guests that have a passion for art will find the best collection at La Caverna Art Gallery. This is the home of local artists, where their work is exhibited and available for sale. Situated along Mandala Road, the Old Fashioned Building (also known as Mandala House) features excellent artworks such as paintings, wood carvings, and other contemporary artwork. The splendour of La Carvena starts with its surroundings. It is located at a place of rich vegetation and its entrance is decorated with a big sculpture of Gule Wamkulu (Masquerade dancer). There are live music performances at La Carvena and, for food lovers, La Carvena Café offers visitors delicious meals. It’s also a great setting for weekly yoga classes.
Situated right in the heart of Blantyre, Kwa Haraba Art Gallery is the place to be for those visiting the city. There are many thrilling activities that happen at this amazing art shop and café. Hanging on the walls of the art shop are wonderful wood masks, jewellery, textiles, and colourful paintings by the creative minds of local artists. The gallery is full of sculptures, carvings, visual and other contemporary artworks that depict Malawi’s cultural and social setting. It is an expression of Malawi through art. The owner of Kwa Haraba Art Shop and Café, Thoko Liwimbi, collects the pieces for sale and some just for exhibition. So for travellers, researchers, and any ordinary person who appreciates art and has a passion for beautiful objects, Kwa Haraba has the scenery to satisfy their passions. Poetry lovers will also enjoy poetry sessions accompanied by acoustic music every Wednesday evening at this art gallery. The café also serves pizzas, coffee and other meals of choice. There is a library, too, which is stacked with books.
Blantyre Crafts Market is another place to check out for those touring the commercial city. Popularly known as ‘Pa Ziboli-boli’, meaning ‘wood Carvings’, the crafts market is a meeting place for nationals and foreigners seeking wood carvings, pottery, textiles, paintings, and jewellery. The market is situated among the national banks in the middle of the town. It is a tourist attraction that colours the town with polished masks and sculptures. Travellers touring Blantyre will get a picture of Malawian culture just by appreciating the artistic creations this market exhibits. Malawians’ reliance on farming and fishing is vividly expressed by the carvings of Pa Ziboli-boli. The vendors sell sculptures and paintings that depict Malawi’s traditional dances along with its animal species. Travellers who love local art will not regret stopping by Pa Ziboli-boli.
Looking for a gym, sporting activities, food, and bar should not be a tough job when a traveller is in Blantyre city; simply stop by the Blantyre Sport Club. Located in the heart of the city, Blantyre Sports club has two evergreen golf courses in the middle of indigenous trees. Established in 1896, the club has been holding golf, football, darts, and many other sporting tournaments ever since. The club is attended by all groups of people, including foreigners. It is a quiet environment with a rich sporting history. Apart from sporting activities, there are also live music events, whereas food and beer-lovers will find the bar and the café of Blantyre Sports Club attractive. The food is tasty and the drinks are cold at this city spot surrounded by lush vegetation.
Many tourists like to include a relaxing evening in the bar located at Doogles Lodge on their itinerary. Situated behind the Wenela Bus Depot in Blantyre city, the lodge has stood the test of time. It’s the perfect venue for those wanting to avoid the hustle and bustle of city life to relax and feel serene. The restaurant offers both international and traditional cuisine, while jazz music plays soft and low in the background. It’s a great place for anyone wanting to sit back, relax, and read a book or look out over the gardens. It is a place to mingle and chat, or admire the local craftmanship and artistic creations, such as the wooden masks that adorn the walls. If you’re feeling too relaxed to move, Doogles offers family rooms, chalets, and dormitories.