All inclusive beach holidays in Lamu, Kenya
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    Lamu House Lamu Island Kenya Africa

    Lamu House is a beautiful example of how traditional architecture can be preserved while providing guests with a contemporary experience that is totally in-keeping with the local culture. There’s a reflection of fine living at Lamu House, Shaded white-walled verandahs open out on a vivid blue sky and spacious courtyards that overlook enticing pools of aquamarine water plus Beautiful art pieces collected from around the continent grace the interiors. Built on the seafront, Lamu House overlooks the Island of Manda Island and the thick wades of mangrove forests with the ancient dhows sailing past.


    In this dreamy paradise, it’s easy to slip into the lifestyle enjoyed by wealthy Swahili merchants of a bygone age. For Frank Feremans and his wife Marienne, Lamu House doubles as their home and a guest house where visitors can savour the old world charm of old Lamu, This is the best accommodation to rent in Lamu. A wonderful modification of a pair of waterfront houses (known respectively as Azania and Salama), it has an awesome position facing the harbor and is an extremely sociable and stylish space centered on a pool courtyard with shaded open-to-the-elements sitting areas. Owners Frank and Marian, originally from Belgium, love the property so much that they live here, too, and provide more of a warm, personable guesthouse experience than a mere Lamu hotel stay. In fact, they'll go to exceptional lengths to ensure you have a superb time -- not just at Lamu House, but in Lamu Islan. Frank arranges donkey rides, introduces you to the best shopkeepers in town, sets you up for a Lamu town tour with one of his neighbors, and takes you sailing on one of his very own dhows. The Lamu House is a fabulous arrangement of beautiful rooms, elegant barazas, and two very relaxing courtyards with swimming pools and space to lounge. Mixing African artifacts, contemporary art, traditional wood ornaments, colorful fabrics, overflowing bougainvilleas, and coconut palms in the whitewashed courtyards, Frank and Marian have transformed this into a homey, vibrant retreat from Lamu's bustling, narrow lanes. Ask for a seafront room -- these have superb views through Moorish arched windows. A couple of the rooms in Salama, on the other hand, are especially good for looking in on the neighborhood action. The rooms in Lamu house Lamu Island are located next to the Donkey Sanctuary on Lamu's waterfront, are all different, but each one is superbly decorated in traditional Swahili style and has a separate dressing room and a terrace looking out either onto the water or the town. The communal areas in the inside courtyard of the Lamu House are comfortable and tranquil, and there are two pools for cooling off. Don't miss the boutique attached to the hotel, which sells gorgeous soft kikois, sandals, bags and kaftans. The Lamu house restaurant, Moonrise, is open to non-guests and is one of the best in town. You can order fish of the day steamed in a banana leaf or pan-fried with a tamarind sauce, or lobster, tuna, sailfish, pasta, chicken curry or a good vegetarian deal. Imagine a meal prepared by a chef who understands what you want, and how to satisfy that need. Now, imagine enjoying such a meal while watching a clear blue ocean and distant mangrove forests and islands. You can turn all that into reality, now.


    A beach holiday to Lamu House lets you relive your imaginations in real time, in front of the Indian Ocean. This idyllic waterfront beach house inon Lamu Island has the right staff, the environment and resources to give you tasty cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The owners of Lamu House Beach Club are both passionate and in love with this location, they ensure your trip is not just another beach vacation to Lamu. At Moonrise Restaurant is where everything happens, It is unique design sets the mood for your meals because the open-air setup lets in a gentle breeze from the ocean and you can enjoy the great view from your seat. Enjoy a wide variety of seafood cuisines such as lobsters, fish and crab among others. You also get soups, sauces and salads. Even kids will love the cinnamon ice cream. They use all cooking methods from grilling to baking and steaming to bring out the best taste in your food. To wash down these meals, enjoy a cool session in the lounge overlooking the indoor pool. The bunch of palm trees make the place airy and offer a cool shade if you wish to relax on the sun decks. Great music fills the air on Friday evenings. With such serenity, finger-licking meals and the elegant dining area with spotless white linen table clothes, it is a star quality hotel. The chefs also bake homemade bread to make you feel like you have just walked into your dining room back home. They do not only treat you like a guest, they treat you as family and put your needs first. Lamu House is made up of two beach houses i.e Lamu House and Umma House that provide the perfect holiday / vacation getaway on Lamu Island, Kenya. This luxury accommodation caters to both those holiday makers and business travelers to Lamu who require a room or rooms to rent; or to a holiday group or family who wish to book out the entire hotel. Both houses have been restored and adapted for western-style living, and preserve all the charm of traditional Swahili architecture but are designed to satisfy the needs of clients and travelers that choose to stay in the historic centre of Lamu for their business or holiday. All the rooms in Lamu House are different; each hotel room possesses its own character and has a spacious bathroom, a dressing room and a private terrace. The rooms are best described as the sum of privacy...The town of Lamu, its inhabitants and the sea (dotted with dhows) can be viewed from every terrace. Lamu House is run by a team of dedicated and professional people who look after all those details, even the smallest ones that make the travelers’ stay more than just pleasant.


    Lamu House Accommodation


    Lamu House is a charming and authentic stopover on the enchanting Kenyan island of Lamu. This romantic and intimate 10-room boutique hotel is split between two 200 year old patrician Swahili buildings. It offers caring service, excellent fresh sea-food cuisine, and breathtaking views of the ocean animated by the movement of the dhows (traditional Kenyan boats). The Lamu House is the perfect base to discover the centre of the island of Lamu, a UNESCO world heritage site. The Lamu house is split between two traditional patrician Swahili styled buildings and has two plunge pools for guests to freshen up in. The main house, Salama, is three centuries old and was recently renovated by the architect and owner, Urko, in the finest respect of local traditions, craftsmanship and architecture so as to preserve the authenticity of the past. The walls, for example, are ancient and made of coral blocks that are particularly efficient at keeping the houses fresh. The decoration is stylish and features Swahili antiques of Lamu and Zanzibar and Spanish colonial objects such as old copper lamps, standing clocks, or ancient pots found in the street. The antiques, the traditional Kikoi tissue, and the Mahoney furniture contrast with the coarse aspect of the walls and the atmosphere radiates an undeniable charm. The rooms are all unique and different from each other but all are genuinely charming. Some have private terraces with sleeping beds or balconies allowing guests to observe life on shore as well as on the ocean with the movement of the traditional Kenyan dhows (sailing boats). The rooms are decorated with style, authenticity, and taste. For example, light veils dress the four poster beds and the room's bathrooms are decorated with a lot of oriental charm. The JUU room is perfect for honeymoons. It has a private terrace overseeing the old city of Lamu and that also gives breathtaking views over the simmering ocean. Its bathroom with candlelight is a heaven for relaxation.


    The Kulia (double room), Kati Kati (twin room), Kushoto (twin or double room) and Chini (double room) also feature a private terrace and have garden or town views.


    The Kiwayu (double room), Siyu (twin room), Ndau (double room), Kizingitini (twin room), all have a balcony with beautiful ocean views. Enjoy a magic breakfast with the sunlight and colour of the ocean! The Dodori room (double) has its own private lounge and has a view on the garden, the ocean, and the interior pool. The Lamu house restored 2 ancient dhows and whilst preserving their authenticity, equipped them with all modern comfort. They are thus perfect for private excursions to discover the archipelago. On top, the dhows are also the dream setting for a romantic candlelight dinner served under the thousands of stars of the Kenyan sky. Enjoy the Chef's special crayfish and crabs in an authentic setting amidst candlelight and copper lamps! The Lamu House boutique hotel is located in the historical centre of Lamu and nestled between the main street and the ocean. The main sites are thus only a couple of minutes away on foot: the Swahili House Museum, the German post office, Fort Lamu... The Lamu House organize the airport transfer and makes available a complimentary shuttle to take guests to the beautiful virgin beaches where guests can swim in the crystal waters of the ocean. A beautiful swimming pool was opened in March 2009. Every morning and every late afternoon, the hotel offers an hour of Yoga with mats, a bottle of water and towel provided. The Lamu House has two beautifully renovated traditional dhows that can be used for unique excursions in the archipel and to visit nearby fishermen villages, stop by desert beaches, and enjoy bare-foot pick-nicks. The Lamu House Beach Club at Manda Beach will open on August 1st.The facilities will be: a restaurant-bar, a Lounge Club with water sport facilities as canoe, wind surf and water ski. You will be offered free sun stretchers with shades and the possibility of having there full or half board meals at the beach restaurant. The hotel's boat will bring and take you back for free at different, although scheduled, moments of the day. A Lamu cocktail will be offered to Tempting Guests so that they can enjoy the beautiful sunset from the comfort of the terrace. If you reserve a stay of 6 or more nights, then you will be offered a personalised romantic cruise on the Lamu House's dhow, including an aperitif. Honeymooners will receive a complimentary bottle of wine that they can enjoy on the magnificent terrace of their JUU Suite whilst lovingly letting time go by. Do not miss a visit of the Central Sultan's Fort (1808) today a museum whose central courtyard also hosts the most important market in town. Stroll around the small streets by foot or on the back of donkey and discover the hundreds of typical houses with their interior patios and take advantage of the small boutiques with local craftsmanship. Visit the Swahili House Museum illustrating traditional houses and recounting the history and life of Lamu. Finally also visit the German Post Office Museum that has become a sanctuary and hospital for donkeys.


    Lamu Island Information


    There is an old peculiar legend that a Chinese fleet of Zheng He sunk near Lamu Island – a thousand years ago – leaving behind a few survivors who settled on the island.


    Such are the stories that have given Kenya’s oldest town Lamu its spice and earned it the privilege of being declared a Unesco World Heritage Site. Lamu has been called a paradise before and one must visit the island for proof. What strikes every visitor to Lamu is the rich Swahili architecture and a bristling culture to boot. The town has some of the most exclusive real estate gems, tucked on the lips of Kenya’s pristine beaches – making it a fertile playing ground for the rich and famous. The Princess of Monaco, for instance, has a regal house at the shores of Manda Beach, and once in a while, a chopper will drop guests at one of the exclusive lodges to the north of the Island to play water sports. Visiting Lamu can be a marathon or a breeze, depending on the mode of transport. The bus journey from Malindi is a bone-rattling adventure to be undertaken when you are young and impervious, or older but gung-ho enough not to be easily unnerved. I’ve ‘done’ the bus, watching the armed escort doze off while the barrel of his gun points every which way. Now, given the choice, I’ll fly thanks. And Air Kenya fly there daily. As the plane descends past Lamu town, you realise how small a place it is, nestled cosily on the side of one island in a vast surrounding archipelago. From the well-ventilated new airport building on neighboring Manda Island, it’s an easy boat ride to Lamu town at a private ‘taxi’. You settle into the beat of the boat’s engine, enjoying the cooling spray of salt water as you approach that timeless waterfront. Any remaining tension drops away as you step onto the quayside and duck into one of the narrow streets, heading into the heart of the old town. There’s no transport (apart from donkeys) but never a shortage of willing hands to carry your luggage. For the uninitiated, Lamu assaults the senses with its cocktail of sights and smells: litter is chucked into open drains; donkeys defecate on the street, skinny cats with mismatched eyes gaze disarmingly from doorsteps. An atmosphere of friendly welcome is palpable as you amble up streets, stepping into doorways to avoid donkeys laden with sacks of cement. Tantalising smells of fish and spice thread through the alleys, while a passing Swahili woman, swathed in black robes from head to foot, exudes a waft of perfume. You stop frequently to gaze at Lamu’s wonderful carved doors, which blend local Bajuni 11th century styles, with later Omani, Zanzibar and Gujerati influences. Archaeologists actually believe that carving is a form of decoration stretching back to Byzantium, even ancient Egypt. There’s a range of catered accommodation, from basic to boutique. Or a self-catering option offers more privacy and freedom. Swahili fare is all about fresh seafood with spiced coconut, mango, and chili sauces, accompanied by coconut rice. If you have the stomach, you can buy local treats off the streets, including spicy bhajias and samosas, coconut-flavoured mandazi and the ultimate sweetmeat, cardamon-scented halwa. This takes four hours of stirring to prepare and almost as long to lick off your fingers. Lamu has basic supermarkets, while an out-of-town canteen sells a reasonable selection of wines and spirits: it’s a pleasant evening’s walk there, past the vast fig tree spreading its tentacles over the graveyard. Lamu’s exotic and unique Swahili culture is embedded in layers of fascinating history. Surviving centuries of invasion and boosted by trade, Lamu has gathered up a diversity of customs and treasures from Persia, India, China, Arabia, Portugal, Turkey and Europe; absorbing them into her own enduring blend. Islam has been a dominant influence for over 1000 years. Today its many mosques continue to herald the dawn and punctuate the days as the faithful are called to prayer. Wherever you stay in Lamu, your day is measured by these ancient Arabic chants. For more than ten centuries, dhows from the east have unfurled lateen sails to come and go across the Indian Ocean to Lamu – the oldest Swahili settlement along the East African coast and a historically important centre of East African trade. The town itself dates back to the 12th century, after which it flourished for several hundred years.


    Then in 1506 the Portuguese invaded the East African coast, bringing two centuries of oppression and decline. After much bloodshed they were expelled by the Omani Arabs. This heralded another golden age for Lamu as it grew wealthy again, largely from the export of slaves, ivory and rhino horn. Many beautiful Arab-style houses and mosques were built from coral stone and mangrove timber, their interiors decorated with carved stone niches, elaborate plasterwork and furnished exquisitely. 19th century Lamu hosted many major Muslim religious festivals, continuing after East Africa’s coastal strip north of Zanzibar was assigned to the Imperial British East Africa Company in the1890s. The British fought to end the slave trade, with it final abolition achieved in 1907. Lamu then became a part of independent Kenya in 1963 and today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, remaining a significant centre for the study of Islamic and Swahili cultures, celebrated in many annual festivals, most famously the Maulidi. Meandering through the streets at dusk, you will be amazed at shops selling local clothing, with tailors who’ll make or adjust things as you wait. Visitors to Lamu are requested to respect local custom and dress modestly, often find them selves falling in love with the local fashion. Other shops belong to craftsmen and silversmiths whose families have been there for generations, wander through the vegetable and meat markets, and then find the halwa shop. A stroll along the waterfront takes you to the Donkey Sanctuary on the waterfront, and just inland is the small animal clinic, providing much needed inoculations, operations and assistance to Lamu’s feral cat population. Back in the centre, Lamu Fort presides over the main square where Lamu residents meet under the huge Mkungu (Indian almond) tree. The fort was built by the Arabs in 1812, initially for protection, becoming a prison during British colonial times and after independence, until it became a museum in 1984. Today it’s a popular venue for Swahili weddings. Just along the narrow main street, behind Lamu post office is the German post office, existing as such from 1888 to 1891 during Lamu’s brief German occupation, now a museum under the beneficence of the German Government. Nearby, on the waterfront which came into being when the fort and the sea wall were completed, Lamu Museum, dating back to 1892, was built by the British. This building, initially a DC’s residence, now provides a fascinating insight into Lamu’s past. Lamu residents liked to collect fine porcelain – and surviving pieces imported from China and Persia date back many centuries. Guests can also glimpse insights into the traditions of some of the mainland tribes, including the Boni and Orma, as well as fishing and boatbuilding, and learn about a traditional Swahili arranged marriage. There’s plenty to capture the creative imagination here: 18th century poems translated from Arabic, the lute-like kibangala, silver jewelery from Oman, Indian and Yemen, and Lamu’s first shoes (wooden ones brought by the Persians). Another Museum, the 18th century Swahili House, is tucked away up the backstreets.


    It’s a traditional house, with long, thin, high-ceilinged bedrooms set around a courtyard. Bathrooms were also downstairs and sophisticated, with fish in the tanks to deter mosquitoes, and by all accounts drainage systems superior to todays. Upstairs in the kitchen, traditional pots and implements are displayed – many of these simple but effective aides remain in use in many Lamu homes today. It’s a half hour walk to the village of Shela Village, or you can take a private boat. Shela has its own a charm, although this has been invaded by rather too many celebrity types, inflating property prices to extraordinary heights. Alighting on the beach beside the atmospheric and luxurious Peponi Hotel where locals and guests mingle in the sea-facing bar, walk along Sheila’s endless beach. Hastening past millionaires’ residences and reach uninhabited and pristine beach, flanked by sand dunes and stretching out of sight. Lamu has always attracted artists, writers, eccentrics and drop-outs. But the newer breeds of Lamu billionaire’s investors are bigger fish: there’s talk of landgrabbing on the dunes, heedless of their importance as Lamu’s freshwater catchment. Then there are plans for a huge new port, oil refinery and transport hub at the other side of nearby Manda Island, raising questions in the minds of those who wish to protect Lamu and the surrounding islands from unrestrained development, with added concerns about the degradation of the marine environment and the vital mangrove forests. Lamu has a long history of battles – it seems these haven’t yet ended. Lamu town on Lamu island is best reached by air safaris either directly from Nairobi (Fly 540 from Jkia airport, Safari link and Air Kenya fly from Wilson Airport, Nairobi) or from Mombasa or Malindi to the south (operators include Mombasa Safari Air from Mombasa, which does not fly every day, and Fly 540 from Malindi). The airport is on an island opposite the main village necessitating a short boat/ferry ride. Tourists are generally charged a premium price for the short trip.


    For those on a tighter budget a daily bus service does run from Mombasa via Malindi. This route was notorious for attacks by Somali bandits and buses have in the past been stopped and robbed. As of Oct 2005 the security situation was deemed to be OK. Armed guards are taken on board the buses for the most dangerous part of the journey close to Lamu. No incidents with buses have happened in years. The trip from Mombasa to Lamu (Mokowe on the mainland) takes 5-7 hours depending on road conditions. The last part from Garsen to Mokowe is a mud road and can be rough. Get a seat in the front of the bus (book in advance) to get a pleasant trip. Several bus companies operate the route but few are express (no unnecessary stops). Two express buses are Tawakal and Najaah. To get from Mokowe on the mainland it is possible to take the slow and crowded ferry, a shared speed boat or hire your own speed boat. All options will take you to Lamu Town. You can usually negotiate to be taken to Shela if this is your final destination. It's also possible -- but very expensive -- to hire a car from Mombasa or Malindi. Meet and drink beer with fellow travelers at Petleys, one of the few bars in the town. You can enjoy a Tusker (beer) at the Lamu Palace Hotel, but this is more expensive than Petley's, hotel and very quiet. It's OK if you want to hear the wave’s crash against the sea wall and read a book.


    The cheapest beer on the island is at the Social Club, hidden away in the bush, down the coast, after the power station. This is where all the locals go, and thus has the best music and cheapest beer and pool table. DEFINITELY go to the Social Club on a Saturday night for boogie boogie disco! - A mixture of traditional African and reggae. Everyone screams and goes crazy when Bob Marley is played!! When you find the music too hot and loud, go round the side and enjoy a game of 8 ball pool. The locals willingly play winner stays on, you might pay for their game too, or they yours, at 50c a game who cares! There will be a pool attendant to keep your cue well chalked and to set up the table for you (buy him a couple of tuskers for his trouble if you are in the mood!) The point is that the people here tend to treat each other to drinks. Be prepared for that ambiance. The walk to the Social Club can seem a bit daunting especially as the sea wall isn't lit too well. Just walk away from the town centre towards Shela keeping the sea on your left, go past the hospital, past the power station, and keep going until you see a sand path through the mangroves into the bush on your right, and a few dim lights at the end of it. On a Saturday night you will definitely hear the music before you arrive!! If you are still concerned about taking the walk, ask a local to show you the way. Dhow sailing in Lamu Island will give you the most wonderful experience. A romantic sunset cruise or a day excursion combining historical ruins and snorkeling, a unique experience of sleeping on a luxurious dhow, savoring a fresh caught fish on the beach. Lamu has a long history related to dhow sailing and lots of stories. It's best to rent from the locals, especially in Lamu Town, where dhows are an essential part of the economy. Recently, Lamu dhow operators joined hands and formed a dhow organization called "Promise/Ahadi." Their aim is to offer standard prices and to ensure that cheating of tourists does not occur on Lamu. They offer quality services and affordable, reasonable cost-ratio rates for service. Check out their website at Stop in and visit their office along Lamu seafront, near Lamu House. Dhow trips are also available at any hotel, including Peponi in Shela and Lamu House. Recently, several local captains have fallen in love with Mozambique dhows, which are wider and more comfortable than the traditional Lamu boats. Take your pick!


    Lamu House Information


    For many years we have been the Lamu Island beach house rental expert offering our guests the most exquisite Lamu beach house rentals. We offer the biggest and most exclusive portfolio on the island. We are the biggest growing group in the tourism industry, and we understand this very well! No more crowded beach hotels, standing in line for the buffet, fighting for that perfect spot at the pool or late night parties that keep you awake. Renting a private home in Lamu, whether it is a villa, apartment or a highly exclusive beach house, is the perfect place to stay for your Lamu vacation. A Lamu private house offers space, amenities, fully equipped kitchens, multiple bedrooms and bathroom and all the other special features you are looking for in you perfect Lamu holiday. Villas and apartments are great for groups and families. Not only can it turn out very price competitive, but the bedrooms and bathrooms offer a flexible usage of the property for family or friends. ALL the properties in our portfolio feature a private pool and/or a resort pool, and/or ocean front and/or walking distance to the beach. We now offer our guest a very flexible property search where you can select your personal amenities to find that perfect rental.


    Lamu houses are not your ordinary beach destination. It is not a long stretched chain of hotels and wide white beaches with beach bars. Lamu Island is a travel destination for those who are looking for something different, but still want to enjoy the tranquility of the sun, sea and lifestyle. Vacation rentals perfectly suit that image and offer that great base camp to start your every day adventure from, or to enjoy the full privacy of your private pool and enjoy your view over the Indian Ocean. Lamu beach Houses are gaining popularity, not just for family vacations at the beach but among independent travelers as well. For families, a vacation rental is an easy way to get more bangs for your buck -- a rental home will almost always yield more space at a lower price than a hotel room. If you're a tourist who wants to feel like a local on your next trip to Lamu, a rental can help you do just that. And if you're looking to make fantasy into reality, renting could be your chance to discover what it really feels like to live in an oceanfront house in Lamu. Most people imagine beach houses when they think of vacation rentals, but these are just one segment of an ever-growing industry. You can rent an apartment, a villa, penthouse or apartment. Whatever kind of lodging you're interested in, no matter how exotic, chances are you can rent it. In most cases you'll have more space, more privacy and more money in your pocket when you choose a vacation house rental rather than a hotel. You'll also most likely have access to a kitchen and washer/dryer. If your property is part of a larger resort or condo complex, you might also enjoy privileges like concierge service.


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