It stands on the Northern end of Casuarina Beach atop rocks that provide stunning views along the coast; an architectural memorabilia affiliated with Vasco Da Gama and his exploring adventures. One of Malindi’s top attractions, the Vasco Da Gama pillar came into existence in 1498 built as a sign of appreciation for the hospitality of the then sultan of Malindi, and still stands today as one of the oldest remaining monuments in Africa. Its erection was met with resistance from the muslim community and as a matter of fact what many do not know is that the Portuguese explorer had not only built one pillar but two. The first pillar had been erected near the sultana’s palace however due to christian-muslim animosity then, the pillar was demolished sighting that the cross surmounting it was seen as encouraging Christianity. Vasco was later allowed to build the second pillar on the cliff where it stands today only after explaining to the sultan of its importance.
It may come across to many as just a simple monument but this coral pillar right here might well define the essence of colonial intrusion into the country and East Africa at large, with the Portuguese being the first Europeans to explore the country. Vasco Da Gama’s arrival into Kenya was led by his endeavor into finding a sea route to India and Malindi being well placed as a sea route to and from the east coast, saw the pillar serve well as a landmark that could be sighted from a far by those approaching the harbour from the sea.
Today the Pillar is a frequent for couples what with the cool breeze and spectacular view, it has also become a good fishing ground; practiced either leisurely or as a sport and you will definitely not fail to spot the photographers who offer instant photo services to the many visitors. Make this the site to see next time you are in Malindi!!