Vasco Da Gama pillar Entrance fees : Vasco Da Gama is located on a coral rock the sea front road and at the shores of Indian Ocean in Malindi ,Kilifi county. It is a top of the list places to visit in Malindi,  its maintenance and repairs are done by the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) and it is a top tourist destination. The pillar was built by the Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama in 1948. It remains one of the earliest European monuments in the East African coast. The pillar built several centuries ago still remain a marvel at the coast. The pillar has survived harsh weather conditions especially the strong ocean currents. The pillar has been renovated to prevent it from collapsing due to strong water waves. Vasco Da Gama is a renown sailor , sailing from Europe to India circumnavigating the Cape of Good Hope through the East African coast. Vasco Da Gama arrived in two voyages between 1497 and 1502 and arrived in India on May 20,1498. He built the pillar to guide his fellow compatriots who were also Sailors to get the bearing to India. The role played the vital role of facilitating trade between India and Portugal. The pillar is much similar with the light house except that it has no lights. The Portuguese explores were able to see the pillar from the sea as they approach the shores of Malindi.

Vasco Da Gama was an explorer who came to connect the trade between Europe, Africa and the Middle East ,India in particular. He arrived in Malindi in 1498 and was welcomed by the Sultan of Malindi, the Sultan hosted Vasco Da Gama and his crew. He assigned him and other visitors guides to show them the  route to India. Vasco Da Gama built the pillar upon his return as a sign of appreciation to the Sultan of Malindi for his warm welcome and hospitality. The pillar was to be a symbol of their cordial relationship.  The pillar was built about a century before Fort Jesus was built in Mombasa, making it one of the oldest European Monument in East Africa. It is today  a major tourist attraction to both local and international tourist  visiting Malindi.

 Vasco Da Gama was the son of Estêvão Da Gama and Isabel Sodré , he was born in th1460s in the town of Sines in Portugal. While he was ten years of age , the town of Sines was attacked by the army of John I of Castile and Vasco Da Gama was caught up in the fight. Vasco Da Gama  killed a Moorish man who had taken his father’s boat and he took a ship belonging to his uncle. He used the ship ,he had taken from his uncle to ail all over the country. When he was 16 years old , he led a delegation of seamen enroute to India sent by king Joao II of Portugal. During this journey he encountered heavy storm along the coast of India and he lost his ship for two weeks. He returned back to Lisbon and he arrived after 28 days at sea.

While he was 20 years in 1482 he was a very experienced and skilful sailor. He set his first voyage across Atlantic ocean to India. He arrested at Morocco  for not having permission from the Sultan of Fez. He was held prisoner for six months, and he managed to escape and he continued with his journey by ship. He spent nine days in Lisbon trying to raised money from his friends for his travel expenses. Vasco Da Gama with his crew of 50 people sailed fro Lisbon on April 15th 1487 on board a Portuguese carrack called O Pescador meaning The Fisherman. His first goal was to sail to Tangier which is in the present day Morocco.

Om September 23rd the left Tangier by boat and reached Cape Bojador  on November 2nd. He sent his crew members to explore if he could find a way around the Cape. They were attacked by five armed galleys from Mogador. His two ships were captured, but they managed to escape with all the crew members by an open boat.

They all returned to Portugal, where they reported what had happened to king Joao II who was so pleased with him and he promoted Vasco Da Gama and he gave him 300 days wages and he also assigned him 150 slaves from Barbary. The slaves were forced to do hard work on their way back home for six months after reaching Lisbon in February 1483.

 In his first voyage of 1497- 1499, Vasco Da Gama discovered two islands along the east coast of India; St Mary’s island and Calicut Island. The discovery assisted other Sailors following his sailing route. He also discovered Cananore harbour and Cananore city  in his first voyage to India.

Vasco Da Gama pillar Entrance fees
Vasco Da Gama pillar Entrance fees

Other Tourist Attraction near Vasco Da Gama pillar

There are other popular monuments around Vasco Da Gama pillar such as Prince Henry the Navigator, the coastal Heritage Complex, the House of Column and Mambrui, the Portuguese Chapel and a 15th century  Arab town located North of Malindi.

Portuguese Chapel

The Portuguese Chapel which is also known as St Francis Xavier Chapel , St Francis Xavier arrived in 1542  to Bury his two seamen. It is only 300 metres away North of Vasco Da Gama pillar on the Silver sand road. It was built by Vasco Da Gama crew and those who died while travelling were also buried here. There are 36 foreign sailors and local pioneers who are buried in the Chapel’s compound. In its later years the chapel was taken by British colonialists as British East Africa protectorate.

 It has white walls made of Coral rocks and sand and also the Catholic religious paraphernalia. The chapel has a rooftop cross, two chairs, and about ten wooden benches. It has 35 seats and 50 more standing,  on December 3 hundreds of Catholic faithful visit the Chapel  to  commemorate the feast day of St Francis Xavier who prayed in the chapel while on his way to Goa.

Citizens Charges
Adult Ksh 100
Child Ksh 50
Residents Charges
Adult Ksh 100
Child Ksh 50
Non – Residents Charges
Adult Ksh 500
Child Ksh 250

It is important to note that the ticket will grant you access to the 4 sections. The Vasco Da Gama pillar, The Portuguese Chapel, The House of Columns and the Malindi Museum.

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