This historic coastal town lies 60 miles (l00 km) from Mombasa and is believed to be the ‘Melind’ of Paradise Lost. Chinese junks visited the port in the early fifteenth century and, after the arrival of Vasco da Gama’s fleet, Malindi prospered as the centre of Portuguese influence for nearly one hundred years.
For nearly three hundred years, slaves were sold in front of the pillar which stands by the Juma Mosque. In 1900 the enforcement of the ban on slave labour crippled the economy and Malindi entered the twentieth century as a ‘small fishing village:
However the introduction of agricultural settlement schemes and the building of the first beach hotels in the 1930’s turned Malindi into a thriving township. Just south of the township is Casuarina Point and the coral gardens of the Malindi Marine Park, a fascinating underwater wonderland, visited every day by glass bottom boats and snorkelers.
Malindi hosts the International Billfish Contest in February each year. Sailfish breed along the mouth of the Sabaki River (3 miles/ 5 kms north of Malindi) and sailfishing is at its best from October until February. In recent years night fishing has been introduced, to search for the elusive broadbill.
The Kenya Association of Sea Anglers keeps a tight control on the size of fish which can be brought ashore, and all members prefer to tag billfish to protect the species.