Malindi: Africa’s most famous safari destination

Malindi: sun, sand and Swahili coast

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The Portuguese discovered it in 1498, Ernest Hemingway fell in love with it in 1930; and the Italians like it so much they’ve christened it ‘Little Italy in Africa.’ Cosmopolitan and friendly, Malindi promises beach life, colourful street life, legendary nightlife, and a fascinating selection of craft markets, restaurants and bars to suit all tastes and budgets.

Malindi beach life
Malindi beach life © Lion in the sun resort

Malindi at a glance

Standing on a panoramic sweep of the bay where surfing is possible all-year-round, Malindi boasts numerous water-sport centres and 13 superb dive sites. It also offers the Malindi Marine National Park, world-renowned for its coral reef and visits by turtles, whale sharks and dolphins. This is the perfect spot for snorkeling.

Malindi is also celebrated as a big game fishing destination - especially so for its abundance of sailfish, marlin and barracuda.

Wildlife and wilderness
Close enough to Tsavo for Big Five game spotting, Malindi is adjacent to the Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve, famous for its guided walks, ornithology, forest elephant, and the impossibly rare golden-rumped elephant shrew. Mida Creek meanders into the forest and visitors can enjoy the wildlife and bird spotting by canoe or paddle-board.

The Vasco da Gama pillar in Malindi, erected in 1498
The Vasco da Gama pillar, erected in 1498

Malindi: Swahili style

Bright, bustling, and intensely Swahili in character, Malindi has restaurants, bars, boutiques, craft markets, carving centers, and more. It also features a number of Portuguese monuments, the distinctive Juma mosque, and pillar tombs, as well as many fascinating curio shops and a working fish market. There is also a reptile park, falconry center, horse riding center, and the Malindi Golf and Country Club.

Culture and history
Malindi promises numerous cultural sites, including the fascinating sacred glades - or kayas - of the Mijikenda tribes. It also lies within easy reach of the ‘haunted’ ruins of the ancient Swahili city of Gedi.

  • Factfile

    Location: Malindi is 120km north of Mombasa.

    Accommodation: options are limitless from 5-star luxury to downtown guest houses and campsites.

    How to get there: Malindi has its own airport with direct flights from Mombasa and Nairobi while the road network links it to Mombasa and to the wilderness of Tsavo.

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