The town of Malindi is probably the oldest town in Kenya, with a history spanning two millennia. Early records place the establishment of the town in the early first century. Its original site was Mambrui, at the mouth of the Sabaki River. The meaning of the name “Malindi” is not clear. Some say that 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 coastline. The town was also fondly called Malindi Mtama, after the sorghum that was produced in large quantities.
Initially, it was a port of call for the travelers sailing along the Coastline. Later it became an independent Islamic town, serving as a hub for the Muslim community at 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.According to the 2019 population census, the Malindi division 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.
Attractions in Malindi
Malindi is a renowned tourist destination. It boasts of historical sites like the Vasco da Gama Pillar, Portuguese Chapel in the town and Gedi ruins towards the south. Being a coastal town, it equally has a serene coastline with rare species of sea turtles and rich marine life. Further south, it is close to the Arabuko Sokoke forest teeming with beautiful flora and fauna.
How to get to Malindi
The town is served by a Malindi International Airport, a mid-sized airport with daily flights from Malindi to Nairobi as well as daily flights from Malindi to Lamu. You can easily travel from Mombasa to Malindi via a tarmacked Mombasa - Garissa highway (B8Road).