Marafa Depression – Malindi, Kenya - Atlas Obscura

The Marafa Depression, also known as Hell’s Kitchen, is an odd sandstone canyon outside of Malindi, Kenya. Known locally as Nyari - “the place broken by itself” - it was once a great sandstone ridge worn by wind, rain, and floods into a series of jagged gorges. The layer-cake colors of the sandstone reveal whites, pinks, oranges, and deep crimsons, making the gorge particularly striking at sundown, when tones of the ribbed sandstone gullies are highlighted and mirrored by those of the setting sun.

Naturally, local stories accompany the “place broken by itself.” According to legend, there was once a town located where the gorge is now. One day, all the town’s inhabitants received a vision telling them a miracle was coming and to move their town. Everyone moved except one old woman who refused to leave. The abandoned town then supposedly vanished - with the remaining woman still inside - leaving the Marafa Depression in its place.

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December 6, 2009

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