A beach bar of many names, from early Dar Alive and Malaika to the latest Mbalamwezi Beach Club, somehow Malaika is still the most suiting name for a pretty place (and easiest/shortest to pronounce). Swahili for ‘angel’. Just 5 minutes away from my home in Mikocheni lay a little paradise.
Malaika is quite easy to miss though. When you’re on the main street outside, there’s a big sign to Cine Club (a more famous beach bar), and only a small one to Malaika. When you enter the little road that takes you there, there’s again a big sign for Cine Club, and a smaller one for Malaika. As such, in the beginning I was fooled to go to Cine Club only and didn’t even realise there was another bar next to it. Cine Club has its charm, with narrow paths in a tropical garden with signs for “watch out for falling coconuts” and ending by a bar on an enclosed part of the beach, but once I stepped to the right instead of left at the parking lot and greeted the masai guards standing outside, there was no turning back. Malaika it is.
When you enter the compound a big residential-looking house (turned out it’s a small hotel) stands sturdy in front of you and for a second you might think you’ve taken a wrong turn to someone’s private garden. A narrow stone-tiled path takes you around the house, and the first thing you see is a cute little swimming pool and huge swaying palm trees, and immediately behind them starts the beach. A winding and long boardwalk takes you from the lush gardens towards a palm-leaf-thatched house with no walls, so you can already have a peek of the sea. Once you enter, a huge wooden bar commands the attention before your eyes inevitably drift to the huge beach bar area plotted with wooden chairs and tables, sometimes made of old boats, and white sails to provide shade from the burning sun, all the way until the sea. It’s beautiful.
For a video introduction, check out the music video below – completely filmed on spot!
My visits to Malaika ranged from once to four times/week, that’s how addicted I was. During the day it was perfect for cold sodas, reading a book or just listening to the sound of the sea. On Saturdays during the day, DJs play chilled house and lounge music which makes for perfect relaxation. Once I was desperate and/or hot enough to take a dip in the ocean too, but the water isn’t particularly clean so close to the city. In the evenings, Malaika is good for drinks, all kinds of tasty seafood and socialising with friends. The music theme changes every evening, from DJs to live bands and from bongo flava to reggae to hip hop to classic rock and pop. There’s a small terrace-dancefloor, but the best place to enjoy the swaying music is of course on the sand itself, which is often full-packed late on weekend nights. One song in particular reminds me of the place, as I heard it there the first time: P-Unit singing about the good life in Kare.
Never a bad time to go there. Take me back to Malaika, my love.