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Introducing Blantyre & Limbe

Founded by Scottish missionaries in 1876, and named after the town in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, where explorer David Livingstone was born, Blantyre is Malawi's second-largest city. It's more appealing and cohesive than Lilongwe thanks to its compact size and hilly topography, and though there's not much to do here, it makes for a good springboard for exploring remote areas such as Mulanje and the Lower Shire Valley. Attached to the city's eastern side (as of 1956) is Limbe; home to a grand old mission church, minibus station and excellent golf club. Unlike Blantyre, however, which has seen a finessing of its restaurants and hotels, Limbe has fallen into disrepair over the last couple of decades.

Blantyre serves as the country's commercial and industrial hub and has the best and most diverse choice of restaurants in the country, several happening bars, and a fascinating library and archives. Add to that tour operators, banks, internet cafes and other practicalities, and Blantyre makes a pleasant stopover. The main focus of shops, banks and shops is on Victoria Ave and adjoining Glyn Jones Rd.