The tedious trip from the Mozambiquean border to Blantyre made us decide to get our own transport, no matter what. An undertaking that required us to wait out the weekend in Blantyre for the bank and car hire to open. On Monday morning, we were faced with an unexpected odyssey!
Cash advance is unknown in Malawi, all we got was ATMs spitting out a maximum of 40,000 Kwacha (75 Euro) three time a day. A very expensive solution, since the fees are high for each transfer. The real shock came when the car rental informed us that Visa was the only credit card accepted – the only credit card we both did not bring along. We scraped all our cash together, changed it into a bag full of Kwacha and on top of that transferred money online to the car rental company, an even more expensive procedure. A power breakdown stopped the transition to add more suspense, but eventually we drove off in our Suzuki Jimny heading north – exhausted.
Blantyre, named after Livingston’s birthplace in Scotland, is a modern city with lots of banks, office buildings and shops at its very center. Further out are large residences, guarded by walls and dogs. In one of those compounds we stayed for two nights, the Kabula Lodge, for 45 Euro per night / room. It is very well-run by a local family and popular with long-term volunteers.
Except the National Museum there is really not much to see for tourists in Blantyre…