Marafa Hell’s Kitchen: The Beautiful Canyon

marafa hells kitchen

Marafa Hell’s Kitchen is one of the best-kept secrets along the Kenyan coast. A hidden gem that stands in magnificence, leaving anyone who sees it in awe. This hidden gem is located 40km from Malindi, in the quiet town of Marafa. The place is known locally as “Nyari” which translates to “The place broken by itself”. This is because the depression formed naturally over thousands of years through harsh weather. Surprisingly, the gorges often take shapes as if someone sculpted them.

Today it is a beautiful sandstone canyon with colourfully layered gorges. The colours range from white, pink, orange and crimson making it a wonderful sight especially at sunset. In fact, the place earned the name hell’s kitchen because it can get up to 50°C during the day, according to the tour guide.

Marafa Hell’s Kitchen is managed by the local community. The entrance fee is Ksh 700 for citizens and Ksh 1000 for foreigners. The price is inclusive of the guide fees. It takes around 45 mins to drive from Malindi town. There is public transport available from Malindi at Ksh 250 one way. If you want to visit you can call Julius on +254725082464. He is a really good guide.

The local legend

There are many legends that are told to explain how it was formed. The guide told me that according to his grandfather, the land was once owned by a rich man. He owned much livestock, as well as many wives and children. He was arrogant and boastful. To separate himself from the rest of the community, he and his family started bathing in milk, since he had plenty. Leaving the rest of the community languishing in poverty. Because of their extravagance, the gods were angered by this and sent an earthquake that destroyed his home. Thereafter, the bodies of his family were dragged to the sea to be fish food. That is why the gorge is coloured. White represents the milk, red represents the bloodshed and the other multiple colours represent the household items.

Being at the canyon is peaceful and you should make sure you add it to your list. Sit down, order a drink and watch as the sun sets on the beautiful canyon. If you are lucky you will get to see the baboons that have made the canyon their home.

Entrance Fee: Ksh 700 for citizens and Ksh 1000 for foreigners

Open hours: 6AM – 7PM, just in time to watch the sunset and obviously grab a cool drink.

Contact Information: +254 725 082464, Julius.

If you are in Malindi, be sure to check out this other gem: Ndoro Sculpture Garden.

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