Nairobi to Addis Ababa (4) Malindi

From Lamu we backtracked south down the coast to Malindi, a seaside resort full of Italians and good pizza (naturally). We mutatu-ed it down to the Gede ruins which date back somewhere between the 13th to 17th centuries – no one’s quite sure, but that’s ok – it all adds to the atmosphere, which is wonderfully mysterious and quite beautiful. Less attractive was the beach we found ourselves walking down later that afternoon. The sand and sea were pristine but the place was swarming with fat, white (well, bright red) Europeans wearing very little in the way of anything. We’d stumbled, sweaty, dishevelled, looking like we’d just hopped the border from Somalia (which, in a way, we had) into quite an exclusive private resort and it all felt rather strange. Hopping back in the Mutatu we negotiated passage inland to the Marafa depression, a canyon of razor sharp red and orange pillars and knife-edges formed by some peculiar process of soil erosion by the wind and water. Fantastic, and not a single other mwzungu in sight. Mzungu, a word used in East Africa, to describe foreigners, derives (I’m told) from the Swahili to ‘wander around aimlessly’ and describes us rather well….

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