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The city of Malindi is probably the oldest city in Kenya, with a history spanning two millennia. Early documents place the city’s founding at the beginning of the first century. Its original site was Mambrui, at the mouth of the Sabaki River. The meaning of the name “Malindi” is unclear. Some say the name is Swahili for Mali Ndi, meaning a lot of wealth. Others claim that Malindi means ‘holes’ referring to the caves found along the coast. The town was also affectionately called Malindi Mtama, after the sorghum that was produced in large quantities.

Initially it was a port of call for travelers sailing along the coast. It later became an independent Islamic town, serving as a center for the Muslim community on the Kenyan coast. The Portuguese took it over in the 16th century and ruled it for 200 years until they were overthrown by the Sultan of Oman and Zanzibar. In the 19th century, however, it fell into the hands of the British.

Administration and Governance

Malindi town falls under Kilifi County as per the administrative changes in the new constitution passed in August 2010. There are seven Sub-counties in Kilifi County. These are Kilifi North sub-county, Kilifi South sub-county, Ganze sub-county, Malindi sub-county, Magarini sub-county, Kaloleni sub-county, and Rabai sub-county.

Malindi Sub-county is made up of thirteen wards: Barani, Ganda/Mkaumoto, Gede, Gede North, Gede South, Kijiwetanga, Madunguni, Malimo, Malindi Central, Malindi North, Maweni, Shella, and Watamu Town. All of them are located within Malindi Constituency.

According to the 2019 population census, the Malindi has a population of 333,226 occupying some 2,263 square kilometers. However, the town has a population of 119,859. Of these, about 69.8% are 35 years old or under. The main economic activities include subsistence farming, palm brewing, fishing, hawking, tourism, salt mining, etc.

Things to do in Malindi

Malindi is a renowned tourist destination. It boasts of historical sites such as Vasco da Gama’s Pillar, House of Columns, Portuguese Chapel in the town, and the ruins of Gedi towards the south. Being a coastal city, it also has a serene coastline and beaches with rare species of sea turtles and rich marine life. Further south, it is close to the Arabuko Sokoke Forest which is teeming with beautiful flora and fauna.

Malindi Weather

The average temperature of Malindi rarely changes. The area has a tropical dry Savanna climate. Temperature is hot all year round with a very low chance of rain.
Malindi experiences two rainy seasons. The long rainy season takes place in April and May, with dusting rains, starting in late March and ending through June. The short season is followed by the long dry season from July to October.
The short rainy season starts in November and December, before the short hot dry period in January and February.

Best Time to Visit Malindi

The best time to visit Malindi Kenya is throughout the whole year. As the weather is warm all year long. Tourism seasons keeps changing every other year, especially with unexpected events like covid-19. However, some of the best times to visit Malindi has been between mid-November to mid-April and mid-August to mid-October. These are times that Malindi was beaming with tourists, both local and international. For those who love low seasons, Mid April to early August is the best time to experience Malindi.

Indulge in Almond Halwa

Bawaly’s Halwa near old town of Malindi is one of Malindi’s Best kept secrets. Bawaly’s Halwa is one of the most famous Halwa shops in town. People who visit Malindi stop to buy their famous Almond Halwa and take it home as far as London! Some of the reviews on Google have rated it as some of the best Halwa they have ever eaten, with one review saying it’s the best halwa “in the world” and another saying it’s the best “on the planet”!

Where to stay in Malindi

Search for Luxury and cheap hotels, B&Bs, villas, and guest houses across Malindi

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