Vasco Da Gama Pillar, Malindi.

Vasco Da Gama Pillar, Malindi.


It is located in Malindi County nearby the Malindi Airport.


The Vasco da Gama Pillar in Malindi, Kenya, commemorates Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama’s visit in 1498. Welcomed by the sultan, he received provisions and a pilot for his journey across the Indian Ocean. Vasco da Gama later returned and was permitted to erect a pillar topped with a cross bearing Portugal’s Coat of Arms near the sultan’s palace in Malindi. The cross, made of Lisbon Limestone, served as a navigational marker. However, its Christian symbolism sparked unrest among Muslims, leading to its removal despite the faint remnants of Portugal’s Coat of Arms remaining visible. Following representation from the Portuguese community, the Sultan permitted the erection of a pillar to hold the cross, marking its current site, the sole original Padrao among several along the African coastline. In 1973, Captain Malcom of HMS Briton reinforced it with a concrete cone, concealing the original pillar. Now under the National Museums of Kenya, the monument was declared a gazetted National Monument in 1935. Erosion prompted National Museums of Kenya to reinforce the sea wall and pave the access road, enhancing visitor experience. The limestone cross atop the pillar, confirmed to be from Portugal, remains a testament to maritime history.

Entrance Fee

Managed by the Kenya National Museums, the Vasco da Gama Pillar offers insights into the pioneering journey of the first European to reach India by sea. A single ticket grants access to four sites, including the Portuguese Chapel, House of Columns, and Heritage Complex museum, all under the control of Malindi Museum. Entrance fees to the Vasco da Gama Pillar vary, with Kenyan adults charged Sh.100 and foreigners paying between Sh.50 and Sh.500, depending on visitor type. National Identity Cards are required for entry, and the ticket office is conveniently located at the pillar’s entrance.

Hours: Open daily from 8 am to 6 pm

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