MALINDI TOURISM AND INFORMATION SITE
Malindi is an amazing place among other destinations in East Africa. Taking a stroll in the streets of Malindi Kenya is one of the amazing things one can do. a few glances on the houses built in different parts of Malindi town and you can immediately tell of the Swahili influence on the architecture.
A few years back, most of the houses were thatched with palm tree leaves, commonly known as makuti. Like other communities, with the change of times, makuti thatching have been replaced with iron sheets. However, there are some parts that still value this kind of culture. Most beach hotels, villas and resorts have this kind of roofing.
The Swahili culture has a big influence on the dressing of the natives. Women wearing buibuis and men putting on kanzu is an indicator of the presence of Islam within the town. Traditionally, women adorn Khangas as wrappers while men made shirts and trousers from them. Leather sandals for both men and women are a norm. They compliment well kanzu, buibui or khanga attires.
Malindi is known over time as a friendly ancient coastal town, founded around the 13th Century AD. It is believed that the original site of Malindi town may have been Mambrui, a few kilometres north of the Sabaki River. It was known to Portuguese sailors and travellers as Malinde / Melinde. The present-day town is the second biggest town on the Kenyan Coast after Mombasa City. Some people say that the name is derived from a Swahili word Mali Ndi, which means a lot of wealth. However, others claim that Malindi is Swahili meaning ‘holes’ referring to the numerous caves found along the coastline. There was a time that town was also popularly known as Malindi Mtama. This was because of the large amounts of Sorghum produced around Malindi. Mtama is Swahili for sorghum.
Administratively, Malindi was formally an independent town that had a huge population of Muslim residents. With time, the town came under influence of different forces; Portuguese, Arabs, Chinese and British. In the sixteenth Century, Malindi town came under the influence of Portuguese. Their interaction and influence lasted for over two centuries. Notable Portuguese visitors include Vasco Da Gama. Vasco Da Gama, a renowned Portuguese explorer came to the coastal town in the 15th Century while on a voyage to India. It is believed that this maiden journey created a base for other Portuguese. The Vasco da Gama pillar and the Chapel are an evidence up to date of the Portuguese interaction in Malindi.
The 17th Century saw a different power taking control over the town. Malindi was ruled by the Sultan of Oman and Zanzibar for another 200 years before the Scramble and Partition of Africa which saw the town alongside other parts of the country under the British rule in the 19th century. Notable visitors to Malindi included the Chinese explorer Cheng Ho is another notable visitor to Malindi having had a stopover during his fifth voyage. There is an existence of Chinese Chinaware found in Mambrui(the original Malindi) now a small town a few kilometres from the present day Malindi.