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Vasco da Gama's fleet landed here in 1498 and Malindi has had its fair share of fortune hunters ever since. It's a bustling town that doesn't quite have the architecture of Lamu or the easy-going charm of Watamu, but it makes up for it with several worthwhile historical sights, its own marine national park and some fantastic stretches of beach. Beloved by Italians – many of whom have been settled here for years – Malindi has been feeling the pinch lately, with economic depression in Europe impacting on much of its visitor market. Still, it remains a melting pot of local cultures with a rich and fascinating history. Wander through the alleys of the atmospheric old town, dine on terrific Italian food beside the Indian Ocean or take a plunge into the crystal-clear waters of the national park, and you'll discover for yourself that Malindi is quite the charmer.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Malindi.