A people like me yearn to one day to at least have a glimpse of Dubai city- one of the most developed and chief commercial centres on Earth. I can imagine this was happening to the people who were there in the 12th century. Located in the coastal region at Kilifi, 16 kilometers south of Malindi town is Gede monument, ruins of a Swahili town, one that I can call the Dubai of those times.

The town is said to have mushroomed in the 12th century. Like every other modern town that we know today, it accommodated both the rich and the poor in society. This is evidenced by the walls- the inner and the outer wall. The rich lived within the inner wall –Runda of those times while the poor lived between the outer and the inner wall (common residential areas where most people can afford). 

By 15th century, the town had reached its peak hence was one of the richest towns in the East African coastline. There are several remains of the town comprising of mosques, a palace and several houses. The houses were made of coral reefs and had bathrooms and flushing toilets with drains. Since water is basic for life to exist, there were large wells for supplying water.

Though early 16th century, the town was getting abandoned. This is said to have happened because of diseases: plague, lack of water and punitive expedition from Mombasa against Malindi. It is not also clear whether the really name of the town was Gedi or Gede: a Galla name meaning ‘precious’ may have been given to the town after the last Galla leader who camped at the site.

The ruins are surrounded by a thick forest, where those who have a heart for wildlife can go and watch them. It is inhabited by mammals and birds and the most prominent ones are: Blue monkeys, yellow baboon, black and white colobus, red and blue duiker, ader’s duiker,suni black faced vervet monkey and bush baby.

Bird species are many and watchers will have the privilege to see the green pigeon, fisher’s turaco, brown-headed parrot, trumpeter hornbill, silvery-cheeked hornbill and the guinea fowl. The forest also acts as a sacred site for traditional rituals and sacrifices. Just make an appointment to visit the place and you won’t be disappointed.