When you arrive in a touristic town, your first thought is what you will see there. Is it museums, old buildings, or cool restaurants? Those thoughts crossed my mind but because beaches always win for me, you all know where I headed.
When in Mombasa, locals and even tourists will recommend that you visit Malindi. It didn’t take so long before I pursued this place, well…..due to hearsay. Will I find other tourists? Will I see what a good beach side offers like restaurants with seafood? I really don’t know and to be honest, I wanted to take the thrill pill of discovering on my own and not entirely depending on what I read and heard. All I needed was direction to get there using public transport. I wasn’t gonna go missing or anything besides whoever has a mouth can never really lose their way right?
I was already at the bus station. Am thinking the experience was okay in terms of me feeling safe and not attracting too much attention because of being different in terms of the language. Fitting in was pretty easy so long my mouth was closed. As an African female solo traveller, travelling in African countries, I really never like to ” blow my cover” because anyone could take advantage of you like that. So minding your own business is somehow golden. But if I don’t open my mouth, how on earth am I gonna get to Malindi?
My mouth finally opened. Kenya, just like Tanzania unlike Zambia, where I am from, have swahili as the official language. Zambia’s official language is English, so of course I used English. It’s like with these words, ” Sir, how much is it to Malindi?” Everyone standing next to me gave me the , ” You-don’t-know-Swahili?!-look.” I just gave a really wide grin and said, ”Am not from here.”
Fast forward, I was quickly assisted to get on a bus (matatu) heading to Malindi.Phew!!
The road trip to Malindi
Touring Mombasa and wanna try this place out? Getting there is about 10 to 15 dollars and total trip time is like 2 hours 45 minutes. The ugly thing here is I should have spent a night in Malindi…really, instead of doing a day trip as I didn’t fully explore. So anyways, the road trip was a smooth ride but some places had lots of traffic. I heard that it was not gonna naturally take that long if it wasn’t for the diversion we found ahead. There was constructions or repairs going on.
After those few hours, I got there. I then got on a motorcycle (bodaboda) to get me to the closest beach in Malindi.
The part of the beach I requested to be dropped off at was where the sand glittered like gold. I have never seen this before. I really don’t even know the scientific explanation behind it because I ain’t that smart but the place glittered! I took a long walk alone trying to register the good impression in my mind about this. I could see some people who appeared like locals around but didn’t care. I was in my ‘wow’ zone until I heard someone call out.
The bad and the ugly
“Madam!” and because they were female, I felt comfortable to talk back thinking they just wanted some info on something. Now, here is the thing…. what I have noticed in East Africa is that as long as a beach is touristic, you will find boat men marketing their boats for cruises. It works cheaper when a group of tourists agree to use one boat. Been there, done that. But because little me decided to do this solo, the lady that interrupted me said she was a local tourist. I wasn’t judging or anything but I know a tourist when I see one.
This lady claimed to be looking for a boat to share cruise expenses with another tourist. I fell for it and said I only had 8 dollars for this cruise. It was actually 12 dollars to do this ride but if I had company, we were gonna divide costs. She ended up convincing me she only had 4 dollars to add on. I agreed and felt comfortable because after all she was female like me…..what more safety did I need, right?
She actually came with the boat man already and I did the cruise with her. Towards the end, it turned out she had no 4 dollars and that the 8 dollars I paid was close to the normal price for a ride. When it clicked that she was actually friends with the boatman and not a tourist, I kind of spoke my mind and told them it wasn’t about the money but it’s upsetting to be taken for a ride .They admitted they were a local couple from Malindi area masquerading as tourists because that’s the only way to get to tourists like me…..but they didn’t have to put up that show, I still wanted a ride.
The ugly is that I didn’t really like the color of the ocean on this part of the area. it looked muddy brown and this isn’t anyone’s problem but some turquoise waters would have made my day after being taken advantage of.
The other thing that I could do was to monochrome my memories of this spot.