Malindi is the second largest coastal town of Kenya. Malindi Municipality has today a population of about 145,000 inhabitants (in the year 1999) with the two most important townships namely Malindi (app. 81,000 inhabitants) and Watamu (app. 17,000 inhabitants).
It is situated about 120 km north of Mombasa just a little south of the equator. The district has a coastline of 155 kilometres, Malindi Municipality has a land area of app. 360 sqkm.
There are two principal roads crossing Malindi Municipality: the B 8 running south-north just inland the coast coming from Mombasa and leading to Garissa/ Lamu and the C 113 coming from Malindi to Tsavo Park in east-west direction. In Malindi Town the most important roads are tarmacked.
It is generally hot and humid throughout the year. The long rains come from April to July and the short rains from October to November. The mean daily temperature is around 22o Celsius minimum and 30,5o Celsius maximum.
Economically, the tourist sector is by far the most important industry in Malindi Municipality. The tourist attractions mainly relate to tropical water and beaches and the marine national parks. Today more than half of the local population benefit directly or indirectly from tourism.
The Arabs founded Malindi as a town in the early thirteenth century. Before the arrival in East Africa of Arab from Arabia and the Persian Gulf the town of Malindi most likely did not exist. In this time the economy depended on fishing, hunting, agriculture, collecting of salt and an extensive trade in the Indian Ocean. Until the end of the fifteenth century Malindi had probably reached its zenith.
On the 15th April 1498 Vasco da Gama reached Malindi.
Malindi was at this time a kingdom and a wealthy town.
Malindi has 155 kilometres of coastline with idyllic silver beaches fringed with swaying palm trees, Casuarinas and frangipani. The beaches are extensive and provide panoramic views of the ocean. The beaches are a paradise of sun and sand and protected from the sea marauders by wall of fringing reef.
Malindi has got various woodcarvers who can make very unique furniture and also the famous Lamu beds. There are also local tour guides such as ahotsun to take you around to exotic places you have never seen before!
Given that Malindi is a seaside resort, do not forget to go out swimming in the warm waters, go deep sea fishing or visit the marine park alongside sunbathing and other beach sports in this lovely aquatic paradise. Various activities, religious, cultural and other activities which involve the whole of Malindi community do take place and tourists are invited to attend such functions and have a feeling of being part of the community, for example, participation in beach cleaning, tree planting and religious festivals
MARAFA HELLS KITCHEN
The canyon is located 1 hour away from Malindi Town, in the coast of Kenya.
Marafa Depression is known as Hell’s Kitchen due to the high temperatures that can go up to 50 degrees in the afternoons. Enjoy an early walk under and through the rocky outcrops.
The canyon is as a result of the crumbly sandstone rocks that have eroded faster than the harder, taller rocks. There are three distinct colours contained in the rock; red for iron, yellow for orchre and white for chalk.
During your visit to Marafa – Hell’s Kitchen, your guide will tell you of the legend that is told locally of how the canyon came to form.
GEDE RUINS MUSEUM
Historical Background –
Gede ruins are the remains of a Swahili town, typical of most towns along the East African Coast. It traces its origin in the twelfth century but was rebuilt with new town walls in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. This rebuilding is connected with the emigration of many citizens of Kilwa to Mombasa, Malindi and other places along the coast.
With its numerous inhabitants, the town became wealthy and it reached its peak in the fifteenth century. This enormous wealth is evidenced by the presence of numerous ruins, comprising of a conglomeration of mosques; a magnificent palace and houses all nestled in 45 acres ofprimeval forest. But in the first half of the seventeenth century the last
families left the town.
Gede’s eventual abandonment to nature is believed to be as a result of a number of factors. Namely, the Wazimba raid along the East African coast in 1589. The removal of the Sheikh of Malindi and the Portuguese to Mombasa in 1593. The falling water table as shown by the deepening of the well outside the Great Mosque and finally the overhanging menace of the Galla, a hostile nomadic ethnic group from Somalia. Gede remains the first intensively studied site on the coast. It was first visited by Sir John Kirk, a British resident of Zanzibar in 1884. Over forty years later in 1927, it was gazetted as a Historical Monument. Two years later in 1929, it was declared a “protected monument” and in the late thirties, the Public Works Department carried out work on preservation of its crumbling walls. Gede was soon after the repairs in 1948 declared a National park and an Archaeologist appointed as warden. Thus, the first archaeological work at Gede began under the direction of James Kirkman followed by the first publication of the site. In 1969, Gede’s administration was taken over by the Museum Trustees.
Currently the Monument is under the care of the National Museums of Kenya and in addition to being avery important archaeological site; Gede indigenous forest is a sacred site for traditional rituals and sacrifices for the surrounding community.