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Malindi, Kenya
Fast Facts
Scuba Diving
Wildlife Park
Natural Wonder
Market / Fair
Kid-Friendly Hotels




Points of Interest Nearby
Family Travel Tips

Malindi, Kenya


Photo by Alfredo De Simone

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Mailindi is one of those places you either love or hate. Package tourists, mainly Italians, flock here for sea, sand, and sun. Independent travelers find it short on culture and long on pizzerias. Truth be told, it's what you make of it. Malindi boasts superb sandy beaches. Malindi Marine National Park, part of the Malindi-Watamu Biosphere Reserve, is a good place to spot megafauna and tropical fish. The town's assortment of high-end galleries, posh boutiques and curio markets make it a great place to shop for souvenirs. Malindi is easy to reach. It has a variety of hotels and restaurants. What's more, it's located near a great many attractions. Watamu, a seaside village just south of Malindi, is home to Gede Ruins, one of the best-preserved Swahili settlements on the Kenyan Coast, and two of Kenya's top birding destinations, Mida Creek and Arabuko Sokoke Forest. The oft-overlooked geological feature known as the Marafa Depression is a great place to spend an early morning or late afternoon. Tsavo East and its famed elephant herds can be visited on day trip from Malindi.
Getting There
Malindi is situated on the Kenyan coast and is located 120 km (78 miles) north of Mombasa. Malindi has a small domestic airport. The nearest international airport is in Mombasa. Road transfers from Mombasa can be arranged through area hotels or booked directly with Juma Wilson, a reliable driver and excellent guide. The one-way trip between the two cities is roughly 2 hours. Malindi can also be reached by bus and matatu. Driving in Kenya is a hair-raising experience and costly means of travel.
Getting Around
Boda-Bodas (bicycle taxis), tuk-tuks (three-wheeled vehicles), matatus and taxis are readily found at major hotels as well as the shopping arcades on Lamu Road. Family Travel Tip: Negotiate the rate before getting in.
When to Travel
Malindi has two peak seasons, December to Feburary and the month of August. Snorkeling and diving are best from August to November. The turquoise water is silted brown from December though April. Families traveling at this time of year should head north to Che Shale, just beyond Mambrui, or south to Watamu. Both are easy day trips.
Health & Safety
Malindi is a malaria risk area. Other health risks include sunburn, coral cuts and travelers' diarrhea. Malindi is relatively safe yet it is imprudent to stroll alone after dark. Beach boys, hawkers and touts can be a bit of a nuisance but just be firm and friendly and they'll likely move on. Water shoes are recommended at all times and fundamental at low tide. When packing your first-aid kit, don't forget to include high factor sunscreen, diarrhea medications and DEET insect repellent. See our Kenya page for information on vaccinations, malaria and other items to include in a medical first aid kit.
Things to Keep in Mind
Read hotel descriptions carefully; not all accommodations are beachfront. The tidal range is substantial meaning the shoreline changes dramatically every 6 hours. A service charge of 5% may be added to accounts settled by credit card.
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Travel Trivia
Magellanic penguins breed in: