Malindi’s magical “Silver Sand”

North Coast has nothing on South Coast beaches in Kenya. That’s just the truth. A renowned global beach destination, South Coast’s tranquil, vast, flat and white beaches with sand so fine you could exfoliate your delicate face, is definitely the more picturesque option than beaches in the North.

But what makes coastal communities in the North such as Malindi just as unique, and perhaps even more special than picturesque beaches on Kenya’s South Coast? Sand, so full of flecks of minerals, that when you run it through your fingers, your skin flickers in the sun brightly as if you’ve applied body glitter.

Known by locals as Malindi’s “Silver Sand,” a stroll along the shores of this historic coastal community will open your eyes to how magical Kenya can really be.

Now, I’m not talking about a stroll along the strip of resorts where tourists frequent and property owners have laid a layer of fine white sand to cover the naturally coarser version; but, a stroll through where Malindi’s people actually make their living from building handcrafted dhows and where the fisherman set sail in the early mornings in hopes of making a big catch.

Thanks to freshwater rivers that empty into Malindi’s shore, murky and slightly brown water washes minerals such as yellowish mica and different types of granites from Kenya’s diverse geology into the ocean. The rocks and minerals are then eroded by waves, resulting in the “Silver Sand.”

If you ask me, I think “Gold Sand” would be a more appropriate name seeing that the sand along Malindi’s shore is literally “Gold.”

“As kids, we use to come and play here because of the gold flecks. My mom would not allow me, but I’d still come because it was so pretty. But every time I went home and tried to lie about where I was, my mom always knew where I had been because of the glitter on my skin,” reminisces Said, a Tuk-Tuk driver.

So, there is a trade-off: white sandy beaches or, coarser sand with magical golden flecks in it. Which do you prefer?

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