MALINDI

There’s something about Malindi. Something eerie and haunting in a beautiful ancient town that once was type of way. She’s a ghost town of sorts. Ron, Arnold and I spent a day driving around looking for the sights and gelato which Arnold had mentioned was of great quality in these parts. the streets were empty with hardly anyone going about. Ron says it’s been this way for a while now, a slow but steady decline of what used to be a bustling tourism scene. the decline is mainly attributed to terror attacks and kidnappings courtesy of Al Shabab. It’s very sad to see. Ron does say the area does pick up particularly in December which was just around the corner. It’s a comforting thought.

We did a drive around town stopping at Osteria for some gelato. Its’ a nice restaurant with some good décor. Arnold mentions this place makes a mean clam chowder. sadly since it’s a day excursion I wouldn’t be able to make dinner to try it out. i’ll save it for the next time I’m here. i had the vanilla and pistachio. He really wasn’t kidding, this gelato is excellent. we then drive down this street past a dilapidated building. Arnold mentions that once upon a time this shack was once The Old man &the sea, the best restaurant in the entire coast! Picture that for a second. The coast isn’t exactly small. this building is now a memory of a memory.

Vasco da Gama Pillar.

We drove down to see the Vasco da Gama pillar by the beach. paying the 100Ksh entrance fee we made our way across the beach whose tide was out. it was beautiful. if there’s one thing I always miss about such places it’s the sound of the waves. walking towards the pillar in the distance is pretty scenic. the pillar was built in 1498 by Vasco da Gama, a Portuguese explorer as a symbol of appreciation for the warm welcome the Sultan of Malindi had given him. the bell or dong (really depends on what angle you’re gazing at it from) shaped coral pillar is topped with a cross made from Lisbon stone. Resting at the stone benches and looking out at the ocean is pretty much all there is to do here. it sure is pretty though.

Mida Creek boardwalk.

We ended the day at the Mida creek boardwalk. part of the board walk was under reconstruction and repair and for  no apparent reason the entrance fee had been hiked but I figured I was here so I might as well get on with it. Crocs rented and our guide in tow, on we went. the tide was so far out it takes about 6 hours for it to come back in to shore. it was so unbelievably cool to see! this would be an epic place for a music video.I would say a wedding recepton as well but I’m yet to attend an African one that started on time, lest everyone drowns waiting for the first dance. my mind really goes left sometimes!

The creek is home to 8 species of Mangrove and two types of migratory birds. there were lots tiny little crabs everywhere. we then proceeded to the “boardwalk”. Boardwalk my ass! this was a rickety as hell foot bridge. there was absolutely nothing relaxing or casual about this bridge. it sways so hard and the ropes you’re supposed to hang onto for support are so far out, things will have you looking like a deranged DaVinci’s vitruvian man. thank goodness that thing was under construction cause there was no way I was finishing it without falling off and getting impaled by mangrove shoots. that being said, you MUST do this walk ,it’s very unsettling but very entertaining as well. no two people have the same reaction. It’s hilarious.

Getting off that death trap, we did a 10 minute or so walk to go catch the tide. we jumped over little puddles avoiding razor clams getting closer and closer. The sun was starting to set at that point. there is some beauty in this world I tell you, some of it is at this spot. The tide was coming in ever so slowly but coming it was. it was very therapeutic to watch. eventually we made it back. returning the crocs, one of the guides offered to wash my feet. not sure who enjoyed it more, me or him. The coconut oil foot rub really wrapped up the excursion for me. it made up for that ridiculous price hike. I truly enjoyed my day in Malindi. this town is a thing of beauty.i’m always going to remember that sunset for years to come.