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A Guide to Watamu:

Malindi - a Historical Kenyan coastal town

Practical Issues


Watamu Causes:


 

Malindi is just over 25kms from Watamu, and may be reached easily via the Mombasa-Malindi road, either by matatu, taxi or self-driven. You may need to go there in order to book air and bus tickets to Nairobi, Mombasa or Lamu, so why not explore a bit while you're there.

Malindi is a much larger place than Watamu, and as a result the beaches tend to be more crowded, especially with hawkers and beach boys and girls. Watamu.net naturally, therefore, recommends Malindi mainly for four things:

SHOPPING
For both everyday needs, such as groceries and booze and occasional luxury items, Malindi may have things not available in Watamu, since most of the supermarkets have a wider range of goods on offer.

There are several supermarkets on Lamu Road, the main road that runs parrallell to the beach heading North, including an Italian one with lots of Mediterranean goodies - at a price, of course!!

Malindi is well known for its Halwa, and the Malindi Halwa Shop is one street behind the Town Square, a triangular roundabout next to the local District Commissioner's Offices.

You can also find the ubiquitous curios in a variety of different sorts of establishments, from upmarket shops selling high value work, to the Malindi Curio Dealers Association, a ramshackle collection of semi-permanent kiosks where you can find many bargains.

NOTE: watamu.net requests that visitors observe wildlife and conservation ethics and DO NOT buy seashells, corals or wood carvings that are made with endangered local hardwoods.

HISTORICAL PLACES OF INTEREST
Vasco da Gamas Pillar,
on the beach in the middle of Malinidi's long coastal front, is a monument to where Vasco da Gama first set foot in modern-day Kenya in 1498. There is also a Portugese church nearby.

WINING AND DINING
Malindi really comes into its own when you have exhausted Watamu's eating joints after a few days. Top of anyone's list should be a visit to The Old Man and the Sea a wonderful seafood oriented restaurant on the seafront. A number of Italian restaurants serve the usual fare of pizzas and pasta, and there are numerous excellent Swahili cafeterias in the town itself that make a great change from exported foreign foods.

Most of the action is on the Northern side of the town, along Lamu Road. There are a number of bars of varying degrees of popularity where you can while away the afternoon over a cold Tusker. However, at some places you will be harassed by commercial sex workers, especially if you are a single man, or a group of men! You have been warned!! For little or no hassle, choose a place with a vigilant watchman, like Palm Garden. On the other end of the scale, Star and Garter can be quite calm during the day, and has pool tables too.

NIGHTLIFE
As the afternoon fades, and evening approaches, Malindi seems to die out and everywhere empties out. This is because things do not really get going until much later - Meditteranean style!

Of the remaining Nightclubs - the biggest, Stardust, having shut down sometime last year - Club 28 is almost always heaving by midnight, and carries on until dawn, even on weekdays in the low season. This is not a club for the fainthearted, and as either a male or female visitor, expect to be "chatted up" more times than in the whole of the past year!! Other clubs and discos are only open in the high season, such as Fermentos, a reputed hang-out of Naomi Campbell when she was still dating an Italian with a house here. Prices match too! Other clubs are associated with the hotels in which they take place.

Other attractions, both night and day, include a couple of Casinos, snake parks, a falconry, the fish market, dhow trips, Malindi Marine National Park (stick with Watamu instead!) and plenty of tour operators, a car hire company, pharmacies, doctors and normal shops.


 

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