Malindi, Kenya

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Malindi, Kenya

Region: Kilifi

Geographic Coordinates: -3.223600, 40.130000
Temperature Range: 20.0°C to 32.0°C (68°F to 90°F)
Climate: Tropical climate with two rainy seasons and two dry seasons.
Population: 119859
Language: Swahili

Malindi is a coastal town in southeastern Kenya, East Africa. It’s about 120 kilometers northeast of Mombasa and has a population of approximately 207, 000 people. The town has a rich history dating back to the 13th century when it was an important trading center for Arab merchants who traded spices, Ivory, And slaves along the coast. Today, Malindi is known for its beautiful beaches, Coral reefs, And vibrant culture. One popular attraction in Malindi is the Malindi Marine National Park.

This protected area covers over 200 square kilometers and includes various marine habitats such as coral reefs, Seagrass beds, And mangrove forests. Visitors can take guided boat tours to explore these diverse ecosystems or go snorkeling or diving to see colorful fish species like parrotfish and angelfish. Another must-see attraction in Malindi is the Vasco da Gama Pillar. This stone monument was erected by Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama during his visit to Malindi in 1498 as a navigational marker for sailors traveling along the East African coast.

The pillar still stands today as a symbol of both Portuguese influence on African history and the importance of maritime trade routes. Visitors can also explore some historic sites in Malindi such as Juma Mosque which dates back to the 14th century or visit Gedi Ruins located about twenty kilometers southwest from Malindi town center where visitors can learn about ancient Swahili civilization that thrived between thirteenth century AD up until around fifteenth century AD before being abandoned mysteriously.

For those interested in local culture, There are several markets throughout town where visitors can buy traditional crafts like woven baskets or colorful kikois (sarongs). There are also several restaurants serving delicious Swahili cuisine made with fresh seafood caught daily from nearby waters. In addition to its natural beauty and cultural attractions, Malindi is also a popular destination for water sports enthusiasts. The town has several surf spots, Including the famous Vasco da Gama Point, Which is known for its challenging waves. Visitors can also try kite surfing or windsurfing at Mida Creek or Watamu Beach.

Overall, Malindi is a fascinating destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you are interested in history and culture, Outdoor activities like snorkeling and surfing or simply relaxing on the beach with a good book, This coastal town has it all. With its warm climate and friendly locals, It’s no wonder why so many people choose to visit Malindi every year.

Important Landmarks

  1. Malindi Marine National Park and Reserve
  2. Vasco da Gama Pillar
  3. Gede Ruins
  4. Marafa Depression (also known as Hell’s Kitchen)
  5. Watamu Beach
  6. Falconry of Kenya
  7. Bio-Ken Snake Farm
  8. Malindi Museum
  9. Portuguese Chapel
  10. Hell’s Gate National Park

Primary Industries

  1. Tourism: Malindi is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful beaches, coral reefs, and historical landmarks.
  2. Fishing: The town has a thriving fishing industry with many fishermen using traditional methods to catch fish.
  3. Agriculture: The region is known for its production of cashew nuts, coconut, mangoes, and other fruits.
  4. Retail trade: There are many small businesses in the town that cater to tourists and locals alike selling souvenirs, clothing items, foodstuff among others.
  5. Hospitality industry: There are hotels and resorts that provide accommodation services to tourists visiting the area.
  6. Real estate: With the increasing number of visitors coming into the area every year real estate is becoming an important sector in Malindi’s economy as more people seek investment opportunities in this region of Kenya.
  7. Transport sector: The transport sector plays an essential role in supporting tourism activities by providing transportation services such as car hire or taxi services within the town limits or surrounding areas like Watamu beach or Gede ruins among others.

Noteable History

  1. Vasco da Gama arrived in Malindi in 1498, establishing a trade relationship with the local people on his way to India as a Portuguese explorer.
  2. In the 16th century, the Portuguese built a fort in Malindi to protect their interests and control trade along the East African coast.
  3. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Malindi was an important center for the Arab slave trade.
  4. In 1890, Britain occupied Kenya and established a protectorate over it, including Malindi.
  5. Mekatilili wa Menza was a female warrior from Giriama tribe who led an uprising against British colonial rule in Kenya in 1913-1914.
  6. Before becoming involved with politics, Jomo Kenyatta spent some time living near Malindi as Kenya’s first president.
  7. Barack Obama Sr., father of former US President Barack Obama, was born and raised near Malindi before moving to attend school at University of Hawaii.
  8. Today, tourism is one of the main industries of this coastal town attracting visitors from all over world for its pristine beaches, coral reefs and other attractions.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Vasco da Gama Pillar is a historical monument erected by the Portuguese explorer in 1498.
  2. Malindi Museum showcases the history and culture of Malindi, including exhibits on Swahili culture, colonial history, and natural history.
  3. Marafa Depression (Hell’s Kitchen) is a unique geological formation located about 30 km from Malindi town that features stunning sandstone cliffs and canyons.
  4. Gede Ruins is an ancient Swahili settlement that dates back to the 13th century and is now preserved as an archaeological site.
  5. Watamu Marine National Park is a protected marine reserve that offers opportunities for snorkeling, diving, and wildlife watching.
  6. Falconry of Kenya is a bird sanctuary where visitors can interact with birds of prey such as falcons, eagles, and owls.
  7. Mida Creek Boardwalk is a wooden boardwalk through mangrove forests that provides views of various bird species including flamingos.
  8. Bio-Ken Snake Farm is a reptile park dedicated to conservation efforts for snakes such as cobras and vipers while offering educational tours on snake bites management.
  9. Kipepeo Butterfly Farm – A butterfly farm in Banda village which helps conserve butterflies while providing employment opportunities for local communities.
  10. Watamu Turtle Watch – A conservation organization aimed at protecting sea turtles through research programs on their breeding habits while also educating visitors on how they can help protect these endangered animals’ habitats.

Cultural Events

  1. Malindi International Cultural Festival is an annual event that celebrates the town’s cultural diversity and attracts visitors from all over the world.
  2. The Lamu Cultural Festival is a popular festival that takes place on nearby Lamu Island, celebrating Swahili culture through traditional dances, music, and food. It also draws many visitors from Malindi.
  3. Mawlid al-Nabi is a religious festival celebrated by Muslims in Malindi to honor Prophet Muhammad’s birth.
  4. Jamhuri Day is a national holiday observed on December 12th to commemorate Kenya’s independence from British colonial rule.
  5. Christians in Malindi celebrate Christmas with carol singing, church services, and feasting.
  6. Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha are two important Muslim festivals celebrated in Malindi with prayers, feasting, and gift-giving.
  7. Madaraka Day is a national holiday observed on June 1st to mark Kenya’s attainment of self-rule or self-governance in 1963.
  8. The Kenya Music Festival brings together students from different schools who participate in various music categories such as choral verse speaking, drama, music composition among others.


  • The Old Man and the Sea Restaurant offers Swahili dishes such as biryani, pilau, and samosas.
  • Chateau de France serves authentic French cuisine.
  • Coral Key Beach Resort has a restaurant that specializes in seafood dishes like lobster, prawns, and fish.
  • Driftwood Beach Club is known for grilled seafood platters and pizzas.
  • Royal Spice Indian Restaurant is a great option for those who love Indian food with delicious curries and tandoori dishes.
  • Ocean Sports Resort is famous for its beach barbecues where you can enjoy freshly grilled seafood while watching the sunset over the ocean.
  • Mama Nguo’s chapati stand or Mwembe Tayari market are perfect places to find quick snacks or street food in Malindi with local delicacies like cassava chips or bhajias (fried potato fritters).

  • Parks and Recreation

    1. Malindi Marine National Park
    2. Vasco da Gama Pillar
    3. Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve
    4. Mida Creek Reserve
    5. Sabaki River Mouth National Reserve
    6. Watamu Beach
    7. Malindi Beach
    8. Marafa Depression (Hell’s Kitchen)
    9. Gede Ruins National Monument
    10. Falconry of Kenya Wildlife Trust


    Experience The Extraordinary.

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