Blue skies, Red Rocks & An Endless fascinating Vista
Marafa’s Hell’s Kitchen is one of Pwani’s (coastal region) most visually striking terrain and arguably the most underrated. This picturesque canyon is made up of multi-coloured fringed ridges that shine brilliantly under sunny blue skies, and exquisitely glow under the soft light of the rising or setting sun.
Hell’s Kitchen is a well-organized community-based project under the Marafa Youth Group. The income generated is directly used in financing village programs and other initiatives.
The Formation of Marafa’s Hell’s Kitchen
The patterns and clusters of the ridges are aesthetically appealing, and the story of how they came to be is equally as intriguing.
According to the locals, it’s believed that a long time ago the area was occupied by a very wealthy family that had a big heard of cattle. They were too lazy to go and get water from the river as it was far from the village. Instead, they cooked, washed, and bathed in then valuable milk from their cows while other families around struggled to have enough milk. God became angry with this excess and sank the family’s home and the areas around at night. The next morning, the locals awoke to a big valley that was left behind. The white and red walls of the depression mark the milk and blood of the family painted over the gorge walls.
The Marafa depression is characterized by cliffs, clay slopes, Craggy gullies, and hoodies made of limestone covered by a thin layer of hardened rocks caused by the continuous weathering and erosion by rainwater and wind. The slightly acidic rainwater lets the weak carbonic acid slowly dissolve limestone grain by grain, a process that rounds the edges of hoodoos and ridges.
This erosion leaves exposed, large colourful pinnacles and ridges that are 30- 50m high. The shapes, sizes, and appearance of the individual ridges and hoodies are ever-changing as erosion is still taking place.
How To Get to Marafa’s Hell’s Kitchen
This magnificent natural wonder is located in Marafa, a small village about 45km west of Malindi off Malindi-Lamu Road and can be easily accessed by road. The road to Marafa village is well tarmacked and marked and, a ride there is an attraction by its self. Keep an eye on the vast fields of maize, giant baobab trees that tower above the Makuti (beautiful Traditional Swahili roofing made off palm leaves) thatched muddy houses. The locals are quite friendly and always happy to say hello and offer help with direction, in case it’s your first time.
The whole tour takes about 90 mins from the bottom of the canyon to the top of the rim.
The best time to visit Marafa’s Hell’s Kitchen, is during the dry months of the year as it can get slippery during the rainy months. Also, the ridges and hoodoos look best when illuminated by the sun.
The best time of the day is during sunrise and sunset. Avoid the midday as the temperatures down at the valley can soar to 40 degrees Celsius at mid-day
Wear comfortable hiking shoes and comfortable clothing