Gede Ruins in Malindi, Kenya

From Mombasa, we took a short bus ride up the coast to Malindi. We likely wouldn’t have visited Malindi if it wasn’t for the friends we had there who offered us a place to stay. More about them on the next post. Malindi is a bit of a resort town, with a nice beach right on coast. There isn’t much to do there, but the resorts are so popular with Italian tourists, that the mostly uneducated rickshaw drivers all speak Italian!

The Gede Ruins were cool, and having Andrew as our guide was even more cool! We took a ‘matatu’, a form of Kenyan public transportation, and then walked a few hundred meters down a local road to get to the entry gate, which is where we met Andrew, our volunteer guide.

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Although I don’t have a photo of him, I have to tell you about him, because he was quite possibly the funniest tour guide we’ve had until this point in our travels. He combined telling us all the important historical details of Gede (like the fact that it is the best known old Swahili city in Kenya, has a foundation that dates back to the 12th century AD, and was abandoned in the 17th century, and since its excavation in the 1940′s and ’50′s, has proved to be a site rich with local and international artifacts) with hilarious anecdotes and explanations, and a little toilet humor — he pointed out more than 20 historical toilets in the different buildings we looked at!

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Not only was he funny, but Andrew was also very well informed when it came to the botany of the area. In addition to the history of the site, our tour involved being introduced to a lot of the different plants of the area and some of their traditional uses, including the baobab tree (whose large seed pods are used, among other things, for musical instruments and mouse traps) and the neem tree (which in Swahili is called something like ‘forty’ because there are up to 40 mostly medicinal uses for the tree). We had a great time on the tour, and felt like we learned a lot.

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A visit to the Gede Ruins, and specifically a tour from Andrew, come highly recommended!

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