The Kenyan coast is a magical place. It is the destination everyone wants to go to, but if your trip is not well planned, it can be quite expensive. There is a lot on offer along this stretch by the Indian Ocean.
And while many know Mombasa and the surrounding areas of Kilifi and Kwale, about 100km north of Mombasa is a destination that is even mush more exclusive. This is Malindi and the surrounding areas.
However, despite the hype around Malindi and the seemingly eye-watering prices associated with it, there are ways to work with a modest budget.
To begin with, for accommodation, there are a lot of budget hotels and self-catering options on this stretch. Just not on the beach itself, but you will be within walking distance of the beach.
Once you have secured an accommodation within your means, it is time to look for activities and attractions sites to visit, and this is where you will be spoilt for choice.
White elephant sea and art lodge
Sitting on the last limb of Arabuko forest and facing the National Marine Park in Malindi, White Elephant was founded in 1984 by artist Armando Tanzini who had a vision of creating a marriage between nature and art.
Entrance to the lodge is free, but one has to buy a meal or a drink. One is treated to an excellent display of art in different small galleries from the auditorium at the entrance to the other galleries inside the lodge.
Visit the Vasco Da Gama Pillar
The Vasco Da Gama pillar is one of the most popular stories in Kenya’s history. A quick trip to the pillar while in Malindi will leave you more enlightened and with more information than what is offered in history books.
The pillar, under the management of the Kenya National Museums, gives you a glimpse into the life and work of the first European to reach India by sea. Access to the pillar will cost you Sh100 for Kenyans. One must show their National Identity Card.
Malindi national museum
The little-known museum gives one an inside look at different coastal tribes and cultures. The museum has different artefacts that have been collected from the tribes in the coastal region and also showcases the different trade routes used back in the day.
While here, you can visit the house of columns, home to the first ever coelacanth to be caught in Kenya. It gives you an inside look of this rare fish, and you also get to see its eggs, which have been stored at the house of columns.
The Mambrui sand dunes
Apart from the archeological and historical importance that Mambrui holds, it is one of few places with beautiful untouched sand dunes.
Mambrui is also home to Kola beach, which is also referred as the regions ‘golden beach’ due to the occurrence of sand dunes by the beach. A visit to Mambrui is free.
Visit the Marafa depression - hell’s kitchen
Popularly known as Hell’s Kitchen, Marafa is a sandstone canyon outside Malindi town. The place is locally known as ‘Nyari’ meaning ‘the place broken by itself’.
Legend has it that once there was a village where the depression is. One day the inhabitants received a vision that a miracle was coming to their village and they have to move. Everyone moved except an old woman. The village vanished with the old woman inside.
The different colours of the sandstone are particularly striking during sunset.
The falconry of Kenya
The Falconry of Kenya acts not only as a zoo but as a rehabilitation centre for birds of prey that have been injured.
Most of the birds are brought there for medication after they have been rescued from the wild. They are attended to by a team of veterinary doctors and released back into the wild. Entry fees is Sh200 per person.