Malindi defies the threat of terrorism
Posted Thursday, July 12 2012 at 17:56
It’s amazing how all the angst over terrorism, all the frothing at the mouth over the state of insecurity with security being on high alert locally and travel advisories being issued by foreign governments on their citizens has not helped tourism in Kenya.
When you land in Malindi all the alerts and fears do not seem to have registered here. There is a sense of indifference to all that, like it’s all water off a duck’s back.
And when you walk down the town’s streets, you never feel the apprehension. You don’t feel like the residents are worried about attacks like the ones that have been witnessed in other parts of the country.
Malindi trudges on, refusing to be intimidated.
“We have always experienced one form or another of terrorism; Taliban, Al Shabaab, post- election violence, travel advisories,” one hotel owner told me tongue in cheek, “but we continue to remain positive because we are peace loving and have faith in the government’s ability to protect us.”
It’s on the back of this positivity that investors keep opening up high-end resorts at the seafront like the new kid on the block; Ocean Beach Resort and Spa, which is adjacent to the Malindi Golf and Country Club.
In many ways, the story of Ocean Beach Spa and Resort resembles the story of Dubai.
A year ago, if you had visited the site where it now sits on, you would have found nothing, but sand dunes. Just like Dubai, what lay underneath the tonnes of sand was a dream. Roberto Marini, the managing director’s dream.
Haven of peace
He turned the sand dunes into a magnificent 35-roomed haven of peace and tranquillity. He built a resort that breathes through large gardens and a world class spa with an extensive therapy menu.
The resort’s architecture borrows heavily from the classical tropical style, which the French took to Mauritius and Seychelles in the 19th and 20th centuries. It was later adopted by the English.
You find quaint stylish wooden doors and wooden roofs marking the suites, which spill onto the sand dunes on the beach. In many ways, those sand dunes really give it a Dubai feel.
It’s little wonder that the Travel Advisor, a popular travel website, ranks it as number one, only after 41 reviews.
Such properties continue building Malindi’s profile. The coastal town still remains one of the most favourite destinations, especially among Europeans.
It’s famous for its deep sea fishing sports, one of the sports that put Malindi on the international map. It boasts a large sailfish population and holds the record of the largest Pacific sailfish ever caught in the whole of Africa.