Having hosted Vasco da Gama’s fleet in 1498, Malindi has been welcoming strangers ever since. It’s a bustling town that doesn’t quite have the architecture of Lamu or the easy-going charm of Watamu, but it makes up for it with several worthwhile historical sites, its own Marine National Park and some fantastic stretches of beach. Beloved by Italians – many of whom have settled here (particularly Sicilians back in the 1970s, allegedly fleeing from Interpol).
It is a melting pot of local cultures with a rich and fascinating history. Wander through the alleys of the atmospheric old town, dine on terrific Italian food beside the Indian Ocean or take a plunge into the crystal-clear waters of the national park, and you’ll discover for yourself that Malindi is quite the charmer.
The Marine National Park is an ideal day trip for divers and snorkellers alike. Northwest of Malindi is the spectacular Marafa Depression, locally known as Nyari and popularly known as Hell’s Kitchen. An extensive series of sandstone gorges and sheer gullies, this unique and otherworldly landscape has become part of local folklore.
The thick jungles of the Arabuko Sokoke Forest reserve hide a world of wonders. In the cool of the forest winding paths will take you in search of rare endemic birds and mammals, and visiting herds of Elephant. The forest holds another secret, the lost town of Gedi, a deserted trading Swahili town hidden deep in the forests, whose winding passages and crumbling walls tell of a long and mysterious past.
Activities include: Sawa Sawa dhow excursions, visits to Marafa- Hell’s Kitchen, Watamu Marine National Park, Gedi Ruins, Vasco da Gama Pillar, the Falconry of Kenya, Kipepeo project, Bio Ken Snake Park, Mida Creek and Watamu Turtle watch among others.