Skip to main content
5 min.

Like many kids, as a child, I was fascinated by elephants, giraffes, and antelopes. To me, they were mythical animals. As a young girl, I then read some novels by Wilburn Smith set in Africa, and I fell madly in love with the setting, the landscape, and the light described in his books.

Growing up, Africa became a true passion, and I tried to read everything I could find on the subject, see all the movies … well, I dreamed of Africa for years.

Holiday in Kenya, beyond Malindi and Watamu

Africa, from dream to reality

In 2007 I was able to put aside a bit of money, and on a hot Spanish night, I booked a flight Valencia-Mombasa (at the time I was living there).

Between booking the flight and the actual journey, two months passed, and I was so excited! I spent hours imagining, again, the journey and I told everything about my plans to colleagues and singers who have dreamed with me 🙂
Actually, in these two months, I also lent my shoulder to many vaccines offered by the Spanish Institute for Travelers Health. Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Yellow Fever … and then pills for malaria prophylaxis to be taken before, during, and after the stay (as a result of various other experiences, I recommend Lariam over Malarone!!!)

On August 10th, I finally boarded the plane to Mombasa. Turbulent flight and landing in another world.
The airport of Mombasa is Africa 🙂

Silvia's Trips in Kenya

Two weeks in Kenya: Malindi, Watamu, and a safari

My two weeks in Malindi, Watamu, and the Tsavo East National Park began with a grueling race to catch a bus (more nag than bus actually) to Malindi.

Silvia's Trips in Kenya

In theory, the two cities are only a hundred km away. Still, the trip took about 5 hours … 5 hours of slalom between the holes, between the cars, racing to pass before the other in the stretches of narrow road … I felt like in a movie with Michael Douglas but without him …
However, during the trip, I realized that the mythical Swahili pole pole (i.e., slow slow) is true for everything except for drivers!

Upon arrival in Malindi, I negotiated a colorful Tuk Tuk to avoid walking the last 2 km to my bungalow (part of a residence destroyed in a fire in 2010).

Silvia's Trips in Kenya

The driver, Martin, was then my guide and companion for most of the stay, and his family gave me emotions and an awareness that I will always remember.

I was so tired and sore from the trip that I crashed on my beautiful mahogany canopy, and I opened my eyes just in the following morning, awakened by the two frogs residing in the box of the flushing system! I do not know how they got in, but I still had them move to the garden!

Silvia's Trips in Kenya

After breakfast, I finally started the discovery of this tiny part of Africa.

Visiting Malindi

Malindi is a relatively small town, albeit important for the Kenyan economy, especially thanks to tourism.

Silvia's Trips in Kenya

The slave trade has marked his past, and the square to the side of the mosque was long home to the market.
The beautiful coastline is dotted with international resorts, mostly Italian and English, and a few meters behind the real city.

The craft market is certainly very touristic and not too cheap, but it’s worth going into it and admiring the technique and the local tradition of carving. The important thing is not to accept being escorted inside by anyone! Who accompanies you then claims a tip from you and a commission from the craftsmen …

Visiting Watamu

Watamu is 15 km, and its population is multiethnic. The tuk-tuk ride through the villages is very nice and shows so much poverty … the beaches are beautiful, breathtaking, and besieged by the “beach boys,” guys competing with each other to sell excursions, change money, sell souvenirs, and whatever tourists might want. A torment is true, but be polite and determined in saying that you are not interested …

Silvia's Trips in Kenya

Protected by coral reefs and dotted with boats and canoes for fishing at low tide, they land on shore to return to float after lunch.

Silvia's Trips in Kenya

Watamu is also the departing point of the sea safaris to Sardinia 2, a white beach that rises each morning in the ocean to be swallowed up by the water after a few hours at high tide. The safaris provide group transport on colorful boats, snorkeling along the reef, stage on the beach, and yummy grilled fish cooked on the barbecue in the middle of the ocean.

Silvia's Trips in Kenya

Sardinia 2 can be reached on foot, walking along the shore to the beach of Jacaranda and then crossing the small boiling pools created by the tide. Careful only to terrible urchins and the sun! (of course, I have experienced both the first and a super sunburn …)

The Gede Ruins (precious) is located not far from Watamu, and I got there in a tuk-tuk with the trustworthy Martin.

Silvia's Trips in Kenya

It is one of the few historical sites in Kenya. The remains of this city built by Arab merchants date back to the thirteenth century and is protected by thick vegetation. Getting lost in the old streets, be enchanted by gigantic ficus, stroking vetches walls, being followed by hundreds of birds … absolutely worth a visit.

A stage not to skip is Marafa, a beautiful canyon about two hours by car from Malindi. Marafa is best known as “the devil’s kitchen” … the legend says that a wealthy family of cows breeders use milk to bathe… to punish them; the devil made them sink into this high temperatures canyon.

I recommend that you wait for the sunset before returning to the city in the evening … here it is bright red, and it is magic.

Silvia's Trips in Kenya

Silvia's Trips in Kenya

Another unforgettable moment of the stay was undoubtedly the afternoon spent in the forest of mangroves.

Unforgettable for the surreal atmosphere created by the dense vegetation, by the myriad of crabs walking through a root and the other, but above all for hours spent together with Martin’s family.

Silvia's Trips in Kenya

Silvia's Trips in Kenya

Before leaving the coast to the savannah, I made one last dutiful stop at the local market to buy rice, flour, tea, sugar, and chicken. It is for us very paltry spending, but for local families, it means meals for several weeks. Do not bring gifts from Italy; buy them something useful locally and hand them over to them in person.
Silvia's Trips in Kenya

P.S. I did not give prices and other details of this type because it’s been seven years now since this trip, and it would not be useful data for people arranging a trip now.

Silvia's Trips in Kenya

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Silvia's Trips

Hi there! My name is Silvia and after 15 years between the Paris Opera and the Palau de les Arts in Valencia I now run a boutique hotel in Cinque Terre, deal with tourism management and blogging, sail, horse-ride, play guitar and write about my solo trips around the world. For more info about me and my travel blog check my full bio.