Malindi, Gedi

The Ruins of Gedi

Kenya’s most incredible cultural and historical attraction, the ruins are located in the village of Gedi, which is in turn near the town of Malindi. The ruins are the remains of a Swahili town that thrived sometime between the 13th and 17th centuries.

Mysteriously, there are no records of the town aside from the evidence of its existence unearthed over a ten year period between 1948 and 1958 showing a population of Muslim inhabitants that were involved in world trade. Excavators found a Ming vase from China, a lamp from India, and even beads from Italy. The excavation showed that the town reached around 2500 people, and as dedication to this previously unknown town, a museum was constructed to showcase the artifacts and to pay homage to the inhabitants.

Hidden in the forest and strangely unknown to Portuguese traders at the time, Gedi sits on the coast and backs into the forest. Baobabs and magnificent buttress-rooted trees dot the area and the ruins of the site include a mosque, stone built houses, and a palace. These structures give some indication to the people who inhabited the town. Not only do the buildings give insight into the people, but also the town’s technological advancement for the time. The houses contained flush toilets and the bathrooms had drains with gutters even lining the town’s streets. Wells were used to provide water for the inhabitants and the material to build the houses was sourced from the nearby coral reef.

The ruins were incorporated into a national park in 1948 and continues to be a very popular tourist attraction and is open until 6pm. Although the town was abandoned for unknown reasons, there is now a population of guenon monkeys that have taken over the site and are known to commonly interact with tourists.