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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

Marafa’s Hell’s Kitchen
The Marafa depression is characterized by cliffs, clay slopes, Craggy gullies

The Myth

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 Facts

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

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The ongoing Covid pandemic has changed the way people have been traveling for a long time. It has also lead to the demise of some of the facilities we loved, as they could no longer stay open. It saw most of us spend more time closer to home and explore the nearby scenic spots and hotels. Even with the pandemic, most travellers continued to explore, book, and post reviews on places to visit or stay. They also shared their most desired travel destinations and hotels they would love to stay in when things get back to normal on travel sites like Tripadvisor.

Each year Tripadvisor®, the world’s largest travel platform delves into the very many reviews and rewards the best, with the very much coveted award/badge that celebrates travellers’ favourite hotels, restaurants, and destinations around the globe. This year has not been an exception, the much-awaited publication is finally out, and some facilities made it to the 25 best in the world. The Winners are calculated based on the quality and quantity of the reviews, opinions, and ratings collected on the platform during the prior year.
Although the previous year was tough the desire to go out and explore remains strong and we hope to inspire you to get out more and help revive the hospitality industry that is still the main source of income to a lot of breadwinners especially in the coastal region.

Here is a glance at this year’s results

Globally, the No. 1 hotel in the world for 2021 is Hotel Colline de France in Gramado, Brazil. While in Africa, the Villa Rosa Kempinski in Nairobi emerged as Africa’s best hotel and the 24th best hotel in the world
South Africa claimed most top positions in African and neighbouring Tanzania scooped most top places in East Africa, followed closely by Kenya.

Below are the properties that made the cut this year from Kenya’s coastal region:



Ocean Village Club took position 7 on Top 25 Hotels in Africa

Travelers rave: “Luxurious getaway”


Swahili style building

Neptune Palm Beach Boutique Resort & Spa at Galu Beach scooped position 10 in the all-Inclusive Resorts — Africa

Travelers rave: “World Class Service World Class Experience”



The Charming Lonno Lodge in Watamu, Kenya took position 10 among the Top 25 Small Hotels — Africa

Travelers rave: “Truly enjoyed the simple but luxurious atmosphere of the room, garden, and magnificent ocean view. Aldo and Silvia are great hosts.”


white room

Watamu Treehouse took the 13th position under the Top 25 B&Bs and Inns in the African region.

Travelers rave: “Some of the best times of my life!”


lodge and pool

Severin Safari Camp Tsavo National Park West is on position 24 on the Intimate hotels that make big impressions.

Travelers rave: “Perfect stay surrounded by an amazing nature”

To see all Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best Hotel winners for 2021, across all categories, visit tripadvisor.com/TravelersChoice-Hotels.

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