Malindi is the biggest town on the North Coast of the Kenyan Shoreline. Just about 120km North of Kenya’s port city of Mombasa. Once a stopover to the world’s greatest explorers like Vasco da Gama, Magellan and Prince Henry the Navigator, becoming a resting point and home to many Portuguese Settlers. The Most Scenic town with warm sandy beaches, High Sand dunes and close to a vibrant River Ecosystem
Table of Contents
Geography of Malindi
Malindi is a town located on Malindi Bay very close to the mouth of the River Sabaki, on the shore of the mighty Indian Ocean on the coast of the Republic of Kenya. According to the 2009 National Census, Malindi had a population of 207,253. This makes it the largest urban center in Kilifi County.
Overview of Malindi
History of Malindi Kenya
Malindi is known over time as a friendly ancient coastal town, founded around the 1st Century AD. It is believed that the original site of Malindi town may have been Mambrui, a few kilometers 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 Kenya 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 a shred of 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 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 town.
7 reasons why you should visit Malindi
Malindi is perhaps the best coastal town in Kenya, whether you come in as a resident or a tourist. It goes without saying that the town has so many incredible things to offer: sandy beaches, Swahili culture, beautiful scenery, you name it! The following are the top reasons why you should visit Malindi town:
- It is home to the famous Vasco da Gama Pillar
It is with no doubt that Vasco da Gama Pillar is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the name Malindi. It was built in the year 1498 by a Portuguese explorer called Vasco da Gama, hence the name of the monument. The pillar is one of the oldest European monuments in Africa.
- Swahili culture
Since it has been a Swahili settlement since the 14th century, Malindi town is sure to provide you with a Swahili cultural experience, an experience that most people only hear of. The Swahili craft markets and carving centers in Malindi will give you plenty of things to choose from as a souvenir.
- Clean sandy beaches
Not only are the beaches in Malindi sandy, but they are also clean and tidy. The beaches in Malindi have been well-maintained and a visit to the town will give you an opportunity to swim in crystal clear waters and bask in the sun without worrying about any carelessly disposed of litter. These beaches also offer sea activities such as boat riding, surfing, and snorkeling at affordable prices. Some of the beaches you can visit while in Malindi are Malindi Marine Park Beach, Silversands Beach, Malindi Beach also known as Buntwani or Golden Beach
- Reliable Accommodation
Since Malindi is widely known for tourist attractions, investors have put in efforts to establish some of the best hotels you can ever find yourself in. These hotels offer cozy rooms, spas, dashing bars and restaurants, and many other services. Malindi offers a vast list of modern hotels to choose from. Here, you can always find a hotel that fits your budget!
- Hospitable locals
The locals here are very welcoming and are always ready to offer a helping hand to anybody who may need it. You will hardly feel like an outsider even when you are visiting for the first time.
- Sparkly nightlife
Your days in Melinde must not always end when the sun goes down. With its well-lit streets and many contemporary clubs and casinos to choose from, Malindi gives you a chance to experience a vibrant nightlife with your friends and colleagues.
- Great places to visit
You can never run short of beautiful places to visit while in the coastal town. Historical sites like Ruins of Gedi and Malindi Museum are must-visit places in Malindi. Other breathtaking places to visit while in town are the Portuguese Chapel, Ndoro Sculpture Garden, and Malindi Marine National Park, and Watamu Marine National Park, among others. These places will leave you dazzled and yearning for more.
A holiday in Malindi can hardly go wrong!
Culture in Malindi
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 the norm. They compliment well kanzu, buibui, or khanga attires.
Top things to do in Malindi
Being a coastal town, the first thing that tops on everybody’s list of things to do in Malindi is going to the beach. Trust me, you can never get enough of Malindi Kenya beaches. Within both white pristine and golden beaches, you can swim, snorkel or just lie on the sand and bask in the warmth of the all-year-round tropical sun. Malindi is also proud to be the home of the oldest National Marine Park in Kenya, the Malindi Marine Park.
However, Malindi is more than just beaches and the ocean and National Marine Parks. There are numerous attractions in town. These include Vasco da Gama Pillar, the Malindi Pier, the Portuguese Chapel, the House of Columns, Malindi Museum Complex, Falconry of Kenya, Ndoro Sculpture Garden, Prince Henry the Navigator Monument, Marafa Hell’s Kitchen, Arabuko Sokoke Forest, Mida Creek & Boardwalk, Gede Ruins, Watamu National Marine Park, Robinson Island, Bio-Ken Snake Park, Malindi Crocodile Farm
Hotels in Malindi Kenya
There are many accommodation options in Malindi. These can range from 5 stars Resorts to a decent lodge where you can spend your night with amenities ensuite. One might ask which are the best hotels to stay in in Malindi? This can highly depend on your budget but one can consider Hotel Villa Malindi, Villa Mela Hotel, and Leopard Point Luxury Beach Resort & Spa as they are on the list of popular accommodation options and hotels in Malindi