Why Malindi is Kenya’s little Italy

Some billboards are advertised in Italian Only!

Joyce Muchiri


A resort in Malindi, Kenya

The small Kenyan coastal town of Malindi is a gem! It is well known internationally, especially in Europe as one of the best holiday places in the world. It is located in the Kenyan Coast, around 347 miles from Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya and 68 miles North of Mombasa Town.

Celebrities like Naomi Campbell and Flavio Briatore spend quite a bit of time in this ever Humid town. For 365 days a year, it’s always warm. The coldest months are July and August when the temperatures get to 21 degree (70 °F), at the lowest.

Language and culture Influence

You will be surprised to find billboards advertising in English and Italian, grocery stores stock shelves of Italian necessities like deli slice salami & prosciutto and wine. There are countless numbers of pizza joints all very italian style.

Malindi is basically the Maldives on Italian steroids! One would prefer it as it has a lot less populated large white sandy beaches. Locals love to exercise on the Beach especially in the morning. The area is quiet and slower paced compared to the rest of Kenya. The Locals are friendly as well as helpful and Italian is widely spoken. Taking a walk in Malindi feels like walking in another italian town.

The Culture here has evolved so much that the majority of schools around this area teach Italian as a compulsory language! This is fair considering that 70% of the restaurants are Italian and so are the menus. The italian resident population is large and so this works in breaking the language barrier. Locals agree that if one wants to start a business in little Italy Malindi, they should be fluent in Italian or have staff that Speak the language. This works well especially during the tourist high seasons.

Billionaire resort in Malindi owned by Flavio Briatore

Business In Malindi

Italian residents as well as foreigners have invested in a lot of businesses here. Take an example of Billionaire Flavio Briatore whose mega classy Hotels are located in Malindi. The billionaire Resort and Lion in the sun are some of his local businesses and i can assure you the standards are exceptional.

Something that I found strange about this town is that a huge percentage of businesses are seasonal. They tend to be too tourist targeted such that when the tourist season is low, They are closed! This does not work well for the area’s economy. It has led to locals almost worshiping the tourists believing that they are the only ones who do, and can put food on their tables.

One of the ripple effects of this belief is that workers from the seasonal businesses do not bother to get other forms of income, even when the low season comes. They prefer to wait until the economy is up again!