Travel to Malindi – Idyllic Beaches & Marine Reserves
The small town of Malindi is at the centre of a strip of idyllic tropical beaches offering the visitor a range of world class resorts and quiet relaxing hideaways.
Further south, the sleepy village of Watamu is fronted by wide white beaches. This tranquil haven is home to several well established resorts, and many private guesthouses scattered through the forest along the deserted shore.
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.
In 1498 the Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama anchored offshore at Malindi, and a memorial to his landing can be found at Vasco de Gama’s Pillar just outside Malindi. He received an initially warm welcome, and Malindi became an important Portuguese centre.
This influence would become a pervasive one throughout the coast, reaching a volatile conclusion with the protracted battles for control of Fort Jesus. Just outside town is a small Portuguese chapel whose graveyard, dating to the 16th century, is a fascinating portrait of the history of this stretch of coastline.
The Malindi area and the north coast offer excellent opportunities for wildlife safaris. The beaches themselves are good birding country. The waters of Mida Creek near Watamu is a paradise of waders and shore birds.
One of the best destinations for game viewing is the Arabuko Sokoke Forest, south of Malindi near Watamu. This is a wonderful reserve, full of rare and unique species. The forest is good for birding, with endemic species including the exceptionally rare Sokoke Scops Owl and Clarke’s weaver. The reserve is occasionally visited by herds of elephant and the occasional leopard, but more common mammals include the Sokoke bushy-tailed mongoose, Aders Duiker and the Golden Rumped Elephant Shrew. There are extensive walking trails and raised viewing platforms for visitors. There is also limited vehicle access.
Walk through the forest, explore the mangroves by boat, dive on the reef or try your hand at big game fishing. Around the Malindi coast you have all these choices and more, with the space and freedom to relax, unwind, and soak up the atmosphere.
The obvious culinary attraction in this area is seafood, and there is plenty available, with excellent fish, crabs, lobster, oysters and more. There is also an abundance of fresh tropical fruits and vegetables, peanuts, cashews and wild honey.
Malindi has a large Italian population, many of whom are involved in the tourist trade. As a result, there are plenty of excellent Italian restaurants, bistros and coffee shops to be found along the coast.
The coastal highway runs north of Mombasa all the way to Kenya’s northern frontier.
- Relax on Malindi’s white sandy beaches.
- Visit one of the nearby Marine National Parks – an ideal place to spend a day snorkelling or diving.
- For an inland adventure explore the Arabuko Sokoke Forest and the ancient ruins of Gedi.