Vasco Da Gama Pillar in Malindi

Vasco da Gama pillar is one of Malindi’s prides  built by the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama in 1498 and is named after him being one of the most famous and celebrated explorers from the Age of Discovery.   Located on the sea front road along the beach, the pillar was first erected at the sheiks house but later removed and re-erected where it is today. The pillar and the cross are both made from original Portuguese limestone material.  The Portuguese built it to give direction for those following the sea route to India. This antique was built about a century before Fort Jesus in Mombasa, making it one of the oldest European installations in East Africa. The monument has become the most renowned attraction site for both local and international tourists visiting Malindi.


Vasco da Gama pillar in Malindi according to many people in the world history study believes is a unique monument and the circumstances that led to its erection ought to be a subject of study in a detailed manner.

The pillar looks like a regular lighthouse only that, unlike other lighthouses, the pillar has no lights in it. It is believed, from historical accounts, that the Portuguese explorers were able to see the pillar while at sea as they approached the shores of Malindi. In other historical accounts, it is believed that the main intention of Vasco da Gama putting up the pillar was to enable the Portuguese sailors to get a bearing on India. Through this account, it is believed that the pillar played a very vital role in the navigation and trade between India and Portugal.

One of the popular accounts, an account that has been supported by many historians is that the Vasco da Gama Pillar was built as a symbol of appreciation for the hospitality shown to the Portuguese explorers by the Malindi rulers and the local.

Vasco da Gama pillar
Vasco da Gama pillar in the background during high tides
Vasco da Gama, 16th-century painting; in the Maritime Museum, Lisbon.
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Gianni Dagli Orti/Shutterstock (5850850iu)
Vasco da GAMA, c.1460-1524 Portuguese navigator, High Admiral of the Indies (Artist unknown)
Art (Portraits) – various
Artist: ARTIST unknown
Location: Marine Museum Lisbon

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