Malindi town is located 120KM north of Mombasa and is the second largest coastal town in Kenya with a population of approximately 150,000 – 200,000. The town is an interesting mix between a historic Swahili town and a modern holiday destination. Malindi is very unique and diverse with rich culture, there are lots of ancient traditions and customs that still exist today in Malindi. Much of the society and hierarchy in Malindi was shaped by the Arabs, and their influences are still felt in the area today. The town was a thriving trading post in the 15th century Swahili city-state with connections by ship to India and China. At the harbour stands the Vasco Da Gama pillar, which was erected by the Portuguese explorer in 1948 for navigational purposes and one of the oldest European monuments in Africa.
Today, Malindi is one of Kenya’s famous touristic locations for holidaymakers seeking a sunny beach holiday. The stretches of white sand seaside is an idyllic setting for your beach lovers vacation in Kenya whether you prefer an activity intense schedule, quiet days watching the waves roll onto the shore, cultural experience that connects you to local people and artwork of studies of the areas architecture and human history.
A couple of months ago I visited Malindi and stayed at a family owned beach rental villa – Neem House. The house is designed and built in a traditional Arab/Swahili architecture. Surrounded by numerous large Neem, Palm and Fig trees, the house is situated on a coral outcrop catching the ocean breeze. 350m away from Neem House is the white sandy beach of Malindi, the beach can be accessed just down a few several lanes.
The house is a perfect gateway location for huge families and groups of friends – sleeps twelve people. There are five bedrooms each designed in its own specialization. My favorite was the Lamu style room situated on the rooftop, in the canopy of numerous neem and fig trees. The house comes fully serviced with help and a chef to cook all your meals. Charo, an experienced Swahili cook produces classis Swahili dishes, refreshing salads and baked bread. He sources all the freshest ingredients from the market and works closely with Abu the fisherman.
While staying at Neem House, there are numerous activities to enjoy:
- Deep sea diving and fishing with Kingfisher Safaris. Angus Paul is great; you can call +254721832803 for inquiries and bookings.
- Shopping for local products in Malindi is great, the best places for clothing, jewelry, beaded leather sandals:
- Monsoons, near the Italian supermarket
- Karen Blixen also has a small shopping center and restaurant/café where all the local Italians congregate interesting selection of shops.
- The Croc farm, the falconry and a visit to Gedi Ruins are all a must do when in Malindi
- If you don’t want to eat at the house, you can always enjoy some very nice restaurants:
- The Old Man and the Sea
- I Love Pizza (OH, they deliver to the house)
- Baby Marrow