Malindi: A lovely Paradise in our backyard

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It is crazy to think our own back yard has an Italian-sounding name, some of the best pizza in all of Africa and, well, plenty of Italian tourists. It would be easy to dismiss Malindi as just another European holiday resort. Until, that is, you wander through the alleys of the atmospheric old town, stop for fresh oysters beside the Indian Ocean and pause for Swahili cakes on Jamhuri Street. Malindi, it turns out, is quite the inconspicuous charmer.

Beautiful Malindi. Image from http://visitworldplaces.com/photo/cities/malindi/06/
Beautiful Malindi. Image from http://visitworldplaces.com/photo/cities/malindi/06/

 

For a generation, Italians in search of the African sun have travelled to Malindi. They have set up business and built hotels with mixed success. It is not exactly Florence on the Indian Ocean, but there is a distinctly Italianate imprint on Malindi – the language, the food, the hotels and the casinos.

As you probably already know, Malindi is a town on Malindi Bay at the mouth of the Galana River, lying on the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya. It is 120 kilometres northeast of Mombasa. The population of Malindi was 207,253 as of the 2009 census. What you may not know is that Malindi is the largest urban centre in Kilifi County.

If there were only three reasons for you to pack your bags and drive down to Malindi, those three reasons would be enough. Believe me there are definitely a lot of adventures to try and Trip Advisor even shares a few, but there are three major experiences that can only be discovered and enjoyed in the beautifully hidden Malindi.

  1. Marafa Hell’s Kitchen.

This is a gorgeous destination that be called our mini-version of the American Grand Canyon. The most breath-taking time of day there is the sunset. At this time the colours are incredibly bright and distinguishable. The colours and patterns of the valley seem to change every minute during the sunset. It can only be describes as simply beautiful.

2. Malindi Beach.

One of the most beautiful beaches you will ever see, the Malindi beach is worth writing back home about. The shoreline in the area from Malindi to Watamu features white sand beaches and offshore coral formations arranged in different bays and beaches: Garoda Beach, Turtle Bay, Blue Lagoon Bay, Watamu Bay, Ocean breeze, and Kanani reef and Jacaranda beach. It is also rated the third best beach in Africa, for its crystal clear water and silver sand beaches.

If you just want to chill out and relax then Malindi is the place to go. Image from http://malindi.afrileo.com/lion-in-the-sun-accommodation-malindi.html
If you just want to chill out and relax then Malindi is the place to go. Image from http://malindi.afrileo.com/lion-in-the-sun-accommodation-malindi.html

Commercial activities on the beach

Licensed commercial activities are divided into three categories:

• Boat operators operate glass bottom boats, which ferry visitors to recreation sites in the park/reserve.

• The activities of curio vendors include selling wood carvings, lessos, and antiques to visitors on the beaches.

• Safari Sellers try to sell safari excursions to tourists who are interested in visiting the terrestrial parks. Their tariffs are much lower than those of established tour operators.

3. Marine National Park.

Kenya Wildlife Services explains that the Malindi and Watamu Marine Parks and Reserves were the first MPAs to be established in 1968. They were first MPAs to be established in Africa and third in the world and designated a biosphere reserve under UNESCO in 1979. They are currently managed separately as two distinct parks and reserves.

Water Sports Activities

    • Water skiing.
    • Windsurfing, and there is a windsurfing school which offers training.
    • SCUBA diving
    • Snorkelling, the lagoon at North reef is a suitable site for snorkelling and moorings have been installed to allow safe anchorage.
    • The windward side of North reef is a favourite dive site because visibility is usually very high and both reef and pelagic fishes can be observed.

In Malindi you would get the chance to see dolphins, sea turtles, and colourful little fish swimming about without a care in the world. It is a magical island with a clean oceanic beach and warm water, different patterned corals, and a lazy almost romantic ambiance. Malindi is a dream destination for any tourist and like I mentioned at the beginning it is right in our own back yard! Why would anyone be insane enough not to want to experience Kenya’s little piece of Paradise?

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Managing editor and blogger at Potentash. Passionate about telling African stories. Find me at [email protected]