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Malindi, Kenya

On the coast of the Indian ocean, lies the city of Malindi that once rivaled Mombasa as a trade center and powerful sea port. Its location at the mouth of Galana river made it one of the most important ancient trade routes between the Swahili coast and mainland Kenya.

 

In the early 15th century Malindi was visited by Chinese explorers, and the ruler of the city sent a special envoy to their ship with a giraffe that was supposed to sail all the way to China as a marvelous present. In 1498, Vasco de Gama arrived from Europe and, faced with cold reception in Mombasa, directed his ship to Malindi coast where he ended up erecting a large pillar as a thank you for the trading agreement and guidance on his way to India. This coral pillar still stands in Malindi, a piece of immortal history of this coastal town.

 

But it is not history and old pillars that make Malindi so loved by both local and foreign travelers. Malindi Marine National Park is one of the best dive sites in the country. Crystal blue waters of the Indian ocean hide many beauties and secrets, and both experienced and amateur divers can see barracudas, dolphins and various types of tropical fish just off the coast of Malindi and by nearby islands.

 

If you still want to stay on dry land, do not miss the opportunity to visit the Gedi Ruins, a village near Malindi that once was a powerful trading port. Many theories explain how it was abandoned sometime in the 16th century, but what survived until our days are a few stone walls of ancient mosques and houses, and slabs with inscriptions in Arabic. Monkeys inhabit the abandoned stone town and love to interact with the visitors, so do not be shy.

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