1. Partake in a Beach Clean Up
This beautiful town is not what it used to be a couple of years back. It has really been through a lot of mishaps, damaging fires, befouled beaches, all which led to local investors upping and leaving, resulting from declining business. But the local community, together with private organizations and the local government are working hard to restore this town to its former glory. They have a monthly initiative where the communities collaborate to clean up both the town and the beaches.
Taking up in this cleanup is a fun way to interact with the locals all while doing excellent service to Mother Nature. Check out the local community Instagram page to find out when the next cleanup is.
2. Vasco Da Gamma Pillar
Vasco Da Gamma’s voyage from Portugal to India is a fascinating historical undertaking to read and learn about. But his journey was not one without resistance, as we find out. It is said that the first pillar he built at the Kenyan coast was in Mombasa, but the Navigator disputed with the Sultan which led to the demolished the plaque’s demolition. However, in Malindi, they found the Sultan much more friendly and helpful. Vasco da Gama secured the valuable services of an able pilot, who was essential to the voyagers reaching India.
This bell-shaped plaque was built by the Portuguese to give direction for those who were following the sea route to India. This is a perfect place to learn about the history of Vasco Da Gamma as you enjoy the warm sea breeze from the ocean.
3. Portuguese Chapel
Just a few meters away from the pillar is a thatched-roofed church reputed to have been built by the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama in the 15th century, and two of his crew members are supposedly buried here.
The church has an altar with Catholic religious paraphernalia, two chairs and eight wooden benches on a cemented floor. It can accommodate 40 people seated and 50 to 60 standing. It stands on an eighth of a plot and hosts 36 graves of sailors and prominent people in the compound.
Tip; Ask for a guide while you are at the pillar.
4. Roll on Golden Beach
As you descend from the Vasco Da Gamma pillar, you’ll notice the color of the beach to be very different from most beaches in Malindi. This is because the sand is golden in color and sort of looks like glitter. I must admit, this was a fun discovery for us and we couldn’t help and roll up on this beach as well as cover ourselves up in glitter.
The sand is very fine, so it doesn’t hurt your skin, and it comes off with a quick dip in the ocean. Try this, you might actually like it!
5. Hangout with Locals at the Pier
Right next to the golden beach is one of the longest piers in East Africa. This is a favorite hangout spot for local, especially in the evening, making it the perfect place to catch the sunset and you mingle with the locals. It also makes for a pretty cute photo background, as seen on the British Vogue with Naomi Campbell on the Cover.
6. Catch a Game of Beach Football
On the other side of the pier, at Bridge Beach, you’ll find locals either playing football or practicing for one. Watching them go is a fun pass time, especially in the afternoon, and if you ask them kindly, they will even let you join the game. Another great way to interact with the local community.
7. Buy African Art at the Curio Market
This is an excellent place to shop for souvenir items such as beaded sandals, necklaces, bangles, earrings, paintings, and other wares all made by the locals. In purchasing any of these products, you’ll be supporting the local craft community.
8. Learn about the Legendary Mekatilili
Mekatilili was a courageous Giriama woman who led her people in resisting against the British colonial rule. The legend goes that she was fearless, very vocal, and was ready to come face-to-face with the Queen to air her grievances. Because of her role is leading a resistance, she was captured and jailed in Kisii where she managed to escape.
She curved out a hideout spot in this Baobab, which to the Giriama, is now considered a holy place. On the site, you will find young local men who will guide you and share the legendary story of this Giriama heroine.
9. See the Sabaki River Feed the Indian Ocean
Opposite the sacred Baobab tree is the Sabaki River Estuary, where the Athi, Tsavo, and Galana rivers that rise and converge in upcountry Kenya ultimately disgorge their heavily silted waters into the coral reef fringed seawater of the Indian Ocean.
Watch how the guides “communicate” with hippos in the river and learn about how the local community is partaking in an initiative to plant mangroves as one of our eco-tourism and marine conservation programs.
Sabaki River Mouth is also a bird watcher’s paradise as it’s listed as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by Birdlife International. It hosts several rare beautiful birds.
TIP; to get to where the river feeds into the ocean, you’ll need to walk for at least an hour through a mangrove forest. Make sure to carry some water and wear comfortable shoes.
10. Shop for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables at the Local Market
There are two major markets in Malindi, the old market which is near the Modern Coast booking office and the new market near Malindi Bus Station, both of which you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Interact with the local vendors and learn about the ingredients of some of the local dishes, fish, and the herbs and spices they use.
11. Enjoy an Italian dish
Malindi is known as “Little Italy” because of the many Italian residents, and their influence is widely felt especially when it comes to food. You can spot little Italian restaurants all over the town. If you never get the chance to visit Italy, this is your opportunity to enjoy some authentic Italian dishes like Pizzas, Bruschetta and Pasta.
12. Enjoy a Night out at Lamu Road
A visit to Malindi is not complete without a night out. You’ll find a couple of popular hangout spots at Lamu road like Fermento, Stardust and the Palm Garden. Another spot highly favored by the locals is Kienyeji Bar. Most places start to come alive after 11.00 pm.
Have you been to Malindi? Let me know in the comments of any other fun things to do in Malindi.