Malindi, a coastal gem tucked away on Kenya’s Indian Ocean shoreline, is a place that masterfully weaves history, nature, and luxury into a breathtaking tapestry. As you prepare to set out on your journey to explore this tropical paradise, get ready to uncover the hidden treasures and discover the irresistible allure of Malindi.
Malindi’s Rich Historical Sites
Three of this locations can be accessed by getting one ticket, which is very affordable for someone on holiday on a budget.
Our journey back in time commences with the enchanting Gede Ruins. Nestled amidst lush foliage, these ruins offer a fascinating glimpse into the rich history of the region. As you wander through the winding streets and alleys, you’ll uncover the remnants of a once-prosperous civilization. Engaging guided tours are available to delve deeper into the history and heritage of this ancient city, and keep an eye out for the vibrant birdlife that graces the area. Gede Ruins is a treasure trove of history and natural beauty.
Vasco da Gama Pillar
A short drive away from Malindi International Airport, you’ll find the Vasco da Gama Pillar. Erected by the renowned Portuguese explorer during his journey to India, this historical landmark is a testament to the bygone era of exploration. As you ascend to the top of the pillar, be prepared to be greeted by breathtaking panoramic views of the coastline. The Vasco da Gama Pillar is an iconic site for history buffs and photographers alike.
The House of Columns
The House of Columns, situated in Malindi, constitutes a segment of the Malindi Museum. Originally inaugurated as ‘Malindi Museum’ on May 10, 2004, it underwent expansion in 2014 with the inclusion of additional structures—the former offices of the Malindi District Commissioner, located 400 meters west along Silversand Road. Subsequently, the ‘House of Columns’ retained its original name, while the newly acquired buildings became identified as the Malindi Heritage Complex.
Evident from Fitzgerald’s photograph, the house once directly faced the beach, but due to land reclamation, it now stands farther inland. On the evening of Friday, August 31, 1894, Bell Smith was shot while enjoying a smoke on the veranda and succumbed to his injuries the following day. His final resting place is within the grounds of the Portuguese Chapel in Malindi. An illustration depicting the execution by firing squad of Smith’s murderer was featured in The Graphic on December 8, 1894. The House of Columns is discernible in the background, as the perpetrator was brought back to the scene of the crime for punishment. Information about the building before 1891 is limited to its use by Adul Hussein Gulam Hussein & Co., where it functioned as both a shop and a residence.
The Malindi Museum
In 1991, the Malindi Museum Society was established to support the National Museums of Kenya’s initiative to acquire a historic building in Malindi for conversion into a museum. The inaugural museum, housed in a two-story structure dating back to 1891 known as The House of Columns, was unveiled in 2004. Constructed by Adulhussein Gulamhussein, the building was originally acquired from the Bohra community for 2,000 English pounds.
Since its inception in 1891, the building had functioned as an Indian trading center and later served as Malindi’s first native hospital. Featuring a colonnade with five round pillars on the east facade, the structure also operated as the headquarters of the Department of Fisheries. Recognizing its historical significance, the House of Columns was declared a national monument in 1991, and in 1999, it was transferred to the National Museum of Kenya. Following a restoration, the museum officially opened its doors in 2004.
The Portuguese Chapel
Constructed around 1502 by the inhabitants of the Portuguese factory established by Vasco da Gama during his second voyage to India, the Portuguese Chapel in Malindi, Kenya, holds historical significance as the initial Christian place of worship in East Africa.
The Portuguese influence in Malindi commenced in 1498 with Vasco da Gama’s arrival. During his second voyage to India, da Gama stationed a group of soldiers in Malindi to establish a trading post. From 1509 to 1593, the factory in Malindi served as Portugal’s primary outpost in the region, overseen by an official known as the ‘Captain of the Malindi coast.’ This establishment comprised storehouses, barracks, residences, offices, and, notably, the chapel. The community within the settlement likely included around sixty Christians. Despite its modest size, the intentional nature of the Chapel’s design is conceivable.
Malindi : The Nature Lovers’ Paradise
For those in love with the great out outdoors, Malindi is one of the best destinations even on a low budget. You will enjoy Bush, Ocean and much more conveniently. Here are some amazing places to explore in Malindi.
The Bush : Arabuko Sokoke Forest
If you’re a nature enthusiast, the Arabuko Sokoke Forest will steal your heart. This lush tropical forest boasts a remarkable array of flora and fauna, some of which can’t be found anywhere else on Earth. Set off on an adventure as you explore the forest’s well-maintained trails, and keep your binoculars handy for birdwatching. Don’t forget to visit the Butterfly Pavilion, where you can witness these delicate creatures in their natural habitat. Guided walks offer valuable insights into the forest’s unique ecosystem, making it an ideal activity for those interested in biodiversity.
Explore the Blue Ocean in Malindi
Watamu Marine Park
Situated in Kenya, Watamu Marine National Park and Reserve, established in 1968, stands among the country’s earliest marine parks. Positioned approximately 90 miles (140 km) north of Mombasa, Kenya’s second-largest city, this marine haven features coral gardens located 300 meters (980 ft) from the shore. Within these vibrant ecosystems thrive about 600 species of fish, 110 species of stony coral, and an array of invertebrates, crustaceans, and mollusks. The water temperature fluctuates from 20 degrees Celsius (June to November) to 30 degrees Celsius (December to May). Recognizing its ecological importance, the park earned the designation of a biosphere reserve in 1979.
Malindi Marine Park
Dive into the mesmerizing world beneath the waves at Malindi Marine Park. Snorkeling or scuba diving here offers a front-row seat to the spectacular marine life that calls these protected areas home. Be prepared to be enchanted by vibrant coral reefs and a kaleidoscope of fish species. These marine park also offer boat rides, making it easy to explore the underwater wonderland. When you’ve had your fill of underwater adventures, relax on the pristine beaches that grace the park’s shores. Consider bringing a picnic and savoring the coastal breeze for the perfect beach day.
Marafa Hells Kitchen
For those who crave adventure, the otherworldly Marafa Hells Kitchen is a must-visit destination. A series of sandstone formations, Marafa Hells Kitchen resembles a barren desert, with its intriguing gullies and ravines. Exploring this rugged terrain is an experience unlike any other, and the breathtaking views you’ll encounter are simply unforgettable. Adventure seekers will relish the opportunity to uncover this natural wonder, and the unique geological formations make for striking photographs. Marafa Hells Kitchen is a true natural marvel, beckoning those with an adventurous spirit to explore its alien landscape.
Tsavo East National Park
Just an hour’s drive from Malindi, Tsavo East National Park offers an exciting safari experience that promises to bring you face to face with Kenya’s iconic wildlife. Embark on a thrilling game drive and keep your camera ready, for you might encounter elephants, lions, giraffes, zebras, and a wealth of other species in their natural habitat.
Birdwatching is also a popular activity in Tsavo East, as the park is home to an array of avian species. A visit to Tsavo East National Park is an opportunity to witness the untamed beauty of Kenya’s wilderness and appreciate the diverse ecosystems that flourish within.
Malindi’s Adventure, Luxury, and Culture
The White Elephant Hotel
No journey to Malindi would be complete without experiencing the opulent blend of art, nature, architecture and fine dining at The White Elephant Hotel. Nestled within nature in the heart of Malindi, this boutique hotel offers an unparalleled stay that is steeped in culture and luxury. From the moment you arrive, you’ll be captivated by the charm of this establishment. Immerse yourself in the ambiance of a art while enjoying impeccable hospitality. Don’t miss the opportunity to dine at the on-site restaurant, where Italian cuisine takes center stage, tantalizing your taste buds with a symphony of flavors.
Billionaire Resort & Retreat
Of cause we cannot mention luxury in Malindi without bringing up this fine establishment. Immerse yourself in the peaceful blue waters of the Indian Ocean and uncover a true treasure, the Billionaire Resort & Retreat Malindi. Relax and rejuvenate in a resort that enlivens both your soul and senses.
This sophisticated and cosmopolitan setting seamlessly blends top-notch service with the serene spirit of the East African coast, making it a one-of-a-kind retreat. With 24 condos, Billionaire Resort is a fully serviced luxury apartment complex, providing exclusive beach access that transforms the pursuit of privacy and relaxation into an opulent experience.
Malindi’s Culinary Delights
No exploration of Malindi would be complete without savoring the local cuisine. The coastal influence in Malindi’s culinary scene brings forth a delicious fusion of flavors and ingredients. There are a several notable restaurants and hotels where you can indulge in delightful meals.
To ensure your Malindi getaway is comfortable and memorable, consider booking your accommodation through Mkaazi Real Estate. We offer a wide range of vacation hotels, holiday rentals, including cozy apartments and luxurious villas.
With Mkaazi, you can rest assured that your stay will be nothing short of exceptional, with access to all the attractions and experiences Malindi has to offer.
As you plan your adventure in Malindi, remember that this coastal paradise is a place where history, nature, and luxury converge to create an experience like no other. Whether you’re delving into the region’s rich history at Gede Ruins and the Vasco da Gama Pillar, exploring the natural wonders of the Arabuko Sokoke Forest and the marine parks, indulging in the opulence and culture of The House of Columns, seeking adventure in Marafa Hells Kitchen, or embarking on a wildlife safari in Tsavo East National Park, Malindi promises to leave you with cherished memories.