All inclusive beach holidays in Lamu, Kenya
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    Subira House Lamu Island Kenya Africa & Lamu Honeymoon House

    Subira House is both architecturally and historically of great interest. The Subira House is located directly behind the Old Fort and Lamu Market, a block from the seafront. The historic home is in the middle of Lamu bustling special UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Subira house is an Arab style building with two open court yards, pretty arches and two beautiful gardens with a well. There are 7 bedrooms with two Pent Houses on the Top Terrace and many galleries where one can relax in the soft warm winds. The house was built about 200 years ago by Said Bin Sud, important and wealthy "Liwali", the governor of the Sultan of Zanzibar. His family resided here until 1972. Over the years many Swedish painters have come to spend a month in Subira House as artists in residence. Famous Karin Mamma Anderson is one of them. Life at Subira House is inspiring and with the new WIFI internet access in the house you have great possibilities to focus your creativity into something fantastic. On the ground floor the four women's quarters are now a self-contained flat of two bedrooms, two bath rooms, and a kitchen. There is an open courtyard with stairs leading to the roof - for watching the stars at night! This is a popular place to rent monthly and you cook for yourself. The breezy top top room is a favorite for couples with a splendid view of the Lamu Fort. The old building is restored with care, nicely decorated and managed with love and environmental ambitions. In 2010 it received Silver Ecorating by Eco Tourism Kenya.

     

    Breakfast

     

    It is not just any breakfast; shamba (farm) eggs, home-made yoghurt, island honey, Lamu fresh fruits, home baked lovely bread, mango jam. Dinner Is at 7 pm and can be ordered the same morning from Michael our excellent chef with the help of Mwallim. A 3-Course Dinner is also available in the new quaint 12-seat Karkadeh Restaurant. Subira House has a small restaurant that's high ambitions just to cook using local produce, vegetables from the area some grown at Subira's farm on the inland of Lamu, and of course a lot of fresh seafood. Also their restaurant has a liquor license. If you decide on having dinner please request the same morning at the latest. Making your reservation at Subira House is easy and secure with best rates guaranteed. Fill out your preferred dates of stay above and click the 'check availability' button. Then select the number of room/s you'd like to book and click the 'book now' button. Subsequently a reservation form appears where you will be asked to insert your details to confirm your booking. We will then send you an instant confirmation message by email which you need to show during check-in. This historical Arabian-style building is located in the UNESCO-listed town of Lamu. It is less than 300 metres from the seafront and 3 km from the white sandy beach. The bright rooms at Subira House have either a patio or a balcony and some have sea views and free Wi-Fi. Every room has a fan, a seating area, and a dining area. Guests can enjoy a free buffet breakfast each day at the restaurant. The restaurant serves a range of healthy organic cuisine, with packed lunches and room service available upon request. This eco-friendly property has a library and a garden with sunny terrace, and offers massages and babysitting services. Activities in the area include diving, hiking, and canoeing. The Lamu Airport is less than 3 km from the property, but can only be accessed by boat.

     

    Subira House Accommodation

     

    Subira House has seven bed rooms and many more galleries for relaxing in the soft warm winds. You sleep under treated nets and there are electrical fans. The generator of Lamu is these days quite efficient. But please help us save electricity! And for walking in the dark alleys bring a torch!!! Small court yard in the two rooms flat downstairs. Here you can look after yourself, shop at the market cook in your own kitchen and order dinner when you feel like it. We have our own well water for washing. Drinking water is from Lamu County Council. Our sanitary system is environmental friendly. We use the so called waterless Eco San toilets. At night you hear donkeys braying and the rattling of the leaves of the coconut palms. During festive season music and perfumes from the affluent Lamu weddings are felt. During the years many Swedish painters have come to spend a month in Subira House as artists in residence. Famous Karin Mamma Andersson is one of them. Life here is inspiring and with the internet access in the house you have great possibilities to focus your creativity into something fantastic.

     

    Lamu House Information

     

    The Lamu Island is a small island located in the Lamu County which occupies an area of about 6,497.7 km2 and a population of 101,539 inhabitants. It is precisely found on the Indian Ocean. It covers a strip of the northeastern coastal mainland and the Lamu Archipelago together with the villages of Shela, Matondoni and Kipungani and is approximately a distance of some 410 Km from the national capital, Nairobi. The Island is believed to have been founded as far back as in the 14th century, making it Kenya’s oldest living town and the best-preserved Swahili settlement in the East African Region. The Island is built on coral stone and mangrove timber and is well known for its simplicity of structural forms enriched by such features as inner courtyards, verandas, elaborately carved wooden doors among other interesting layout planned and constructed by the early settlers of the island. History tells us that Lamu Island defeated the Pate Island and Mombasa in the battle of Shela (Pate Island is another Island on the Indian Ocean) in the eighteenth and nineteenth century respectively. Lamu Island then became autonomous but after the slave trade was abolished in Africa, the Island was annexed by Zanzibar and remained a loose province on its own until when Kenya was granted independence from Great Britain in 1963 when it was added to Kenya. It was also known to have prospered the slave trade back in colonial days and attracted a lot of people from different parts of the world with notable among them being the Arabs. The Arabs built the famous Pwani Mosque and a sea port which have remained an integral part of the Island till date. Due to its diverse nature, it inculcated a lot of ancient and traditional artifacts making tourism developing as early as the 1970s with visitors coming in from all over the world to experience the aroma of the island and the best of Swahili culture. The place is also said to be one of the best places for the teaching of Islamic values in the world.

     

    The Lamu Old Town itself was added to the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site in 2001 in what UNESCO described as a three unique features of the town. UNESCO said the architecture and urban structure of the town, graphically demonstrate the cultural influences that have come together there over several hundred years from Europe, Arabia, and India utilizing traditional Swahili techniques to produce a distinct culture which difficult to find in any part of the world. Also, UNESCO described the growth and decline of the seaports on the East African coast and interaction between the Bantu, Arabs, Persians, Indians and Europeans as representing a significant cultural and economic phase in the history of the region which finds its most outstanding expression in the Lamu Township. Furthermore, the paramount trading role and its attraction for scholars and teachers according to UNESCO, gave Lamu an important religious function in the region, which it has maintained to this very day on the island. The dominant religion on the island is Islam. One common practice that visitors ought to know about this wonderful island is that the inhabitants of the place love to welcome visitors to their houses and give them special treats with the best of Real Swahili foods such as lobster, coconut sauce, fish, vegetables and among other foods. In the evening, they gather around to entertain visitors with stories but note that some may choose to demand some small fee while others too will demand nothing. The streets on the island are so narrow such that donkeys provide almost the only mode of transport, carrying heavy loads, this feature makes the town quite unique but speed boats are also available as an alternative means of transport on the island. Tourists can better still, tour the island with dhow (a traditional Arab sailing vessel with one or more lateen sails) which is considered one of the primarily means of transport along the coasts of the Arabian Peninsula, India, and the East Africa Region where seas are located. The Shela beach on the North end of the island is a beautiful stretch of white sandy and tiny broken sea shells.

     

    The beach is just some few Kilometers away from the Lamu Township and is well worth visiting especially, the locals you meet on the way with some of the young boys selling delicious homemade samosas, a popular local food sold at the beach made from potatoes, onions, peas, meat and other ingredients. The popular Social Club on the island is also one main primary source of entertainment for both the locals and tourists especially on Saturday nights. The best of music, beer and pool table are the hallmark of the club which is a mixture of African and reggae music. There are moderate and expensive accommodation pricing in the island and its ranges from budget hotels and guesthouses to the luxury of the Peponi Hotel in Shela, and private houses in Kipungani which one can choose depending on what one can afford. There are also local flights from Mombasa to a small airport in Manda Island which just opposite Lamu Island, and with a ferry or a speed boat; Lamu is just some few kilometers from reaching. A visit to the place will leave in your memory for the rest of your life.

     

    What is so special about Lamu?

     

    Cast into the Indian Ocean off the coast of Kenya, the island and town of Lamu is heir to a distinctive tradition over a thousand years old. The Swahili culture and style of Lamu are a mix of East African, Omani, Yemeni, Indian, and some Portuguese and Victorian influences. Of all the old Swahili towns of East Africa, Lamu is one of the very few remaining substantially intact. It is the humidity; It is the heat; it is the aroma of the town; the scent of the tropics; the donkeys and their droppings; the bui-bui's of the women; the kanzu's and kikoi's of the men; the intense brilliance of the midday sky, demanding a nap; the glare of the whitewashed stone houses; the strong winds blowing off the ocean, rustling the strands of the makuti roofs, stripping the stone houses of their lime-whitewash and ruining your CD-player; the Portuguese cannons on the waterfront; the absence of cars; the narrowness of the streets which shades the heat and barely allows two donkeys to pass each other; the majestic architecture of the galleries and harem rooms of the patrician Stone Houses; the mix of Arabic, Indian and African tongues and cultures, lovingly called Swahili.

     

    History of Lamu

     

    Imagine a tiny island off the eastern coast of Africa, and on that island, a town forgotten by time. Altered by little except the rhythm of the tides and the quiet bustle of daily life, the island town of Lamu, Kenya appears much the same as it did when it was first established by the Swahili people before the 15th century. Though shaped by a tumultuous history, this place is still considered Kenya’s oldest continually inhabited town, and on the UNESCO World Heritage List, Lamu’s old city is described as the “oldest and best preserved Swahili settlement in east Africa”. After invading the area in 1506, the Portuguese controlled Lamu until about 1652. Supported by backing from Oman, Lamu rebelled against the Portuguese at that point and became a flourishing Omani protectorate, drawing travelers and merchants on the East African trade route and becoming a thriving center of culture and commerce. Lamu was also a central point for the slave trade, which increased the island’s wealth and population diversity until slavery’s abolition in 1907. At the dawn of the 21st century, Lamu is predominantly Muslim and has settled into a quiet and timeless daily pace. Visitors come here for authentic history and tranquility, and tourism has helped the island recover economically from the disappearance of the slave trade.

     

    Lamu Island Today

     

    Visit Lamu to experience an island community largely unaltered by the effects of tourism and the influence of the outside world. This place is a paradise for those who love history and are searching for a quiet escape. Wildlife watchers and eco enthusiasts also appreciate the archipelago, since the natural coastal ecosystems of Lamu and the surrounding islands of Manda, Kiwayu, and Pate provide sheltered habitats for exotic birds, turtles and marine life, The streets of Lamu’s old town are literally too narrow to accommodate vehicles, so all transportation takes place by foot or by donkey. Come here to wander the winding, shadowy corridors between ancient architecture, beautiful mosques and colorful markets. Explore. Lose your way. Be transported by the sound of local conversation, the music of prayer horns, the scent of exotic spices and the sight of island cats lounging in the sun. Visit the local museums, and don’t miss a tour of Lamu Fort or a trip to the Donkey Sanctuary, a shelter established to protect these humble, four-legged engines of town life. Lamu also maintains a series of festivals and annual events. New Year’s celebrations, in particular, offer a fun glimpse of local culture. But if you travel here, be prepared for minimal adaptations to tourism. Plan your accommodations ahead of time, and recognize that authentic travel destinations come with authentic responsibilities. While visiting Lamu, for example, respect the local Muslim community by leaving shorts and revealing bathing suits at home. Check State Department updates before your trip and, as always, stay alert to crime and other potential dangers. Anytime of year is ideal to visit Lamu as there are no high or low seasons. New Year’s celebrations are worth a trip. The weather in Lamu is mild and temperate all year round. Highs in January are around 80°F (26.5°C) while lows in July are 70°F (21°C). The rainy season is not as noticeable here as it is further inland, with rainfall mild and relatively steady all year long. Dress for weather that’s warm but not too hot. If you’ll be hiking or trekking along the coast, wear breathable layers, the cost of living is very reasonable in Lamu, with inexpensive hotels available for less than $30 dollars per night and restaurant meals averaging between $2-10 dollars per person.

     

    Getting to Lamu Island

     

    Lamu is situated on the north Kenyan coast and is located roughly 220 km north of Malindi and 150 km south of the Somali boarder. The old town and island can be reached by airplane and bus. Air Kenya, Fly540 and Safari Link offer flights between Nairobi and Lamu. Mombasa Air Safari, Fly540 and Safari Link connect Mombasa and Lamu. Air Kenya, Fly540 and Mombasa Air Safari fly between Malindi and Lamu. Lamu airport is on Manda Island; ferries connect the old town and the airport. Several bus companies operate between Mombasa, Malindi and Lamu. The bus trip from Mombasa is roughly 6 hours, the last two of which are on a rough dirt or murram road. Ferries operate between the bus station and mainland. Family Travel Tips: Families considering bus travel should check government sources for updated travel advisories before booking a ticket. Bus tickets are best booked at least two days in advance

     

    When to Travel to Lamu Island

     

    The best time of year to visit Lamu is from mid-December to February. Not only is the weather hot and dry, it's ideal for water sports. The short dry season from August to September also boasts good weather but the ocean is rough and underwater visibility is low. There are two rainy seasons, April through July and November. There are pros and cons to traveling in March; humidity is on the rise but the tourists have all but disappeared. The peak tourist seasons are mid-December to February, the month of August and Maulid Celebration, held during the third month of the Islamic calendar each year

     

    Health & Safety

     

    Lamu is a malaria risk area and because of its proximity to the border with Somalia, the area is subject to instability. Thus all travelers should check government sources for travel advisories, consult a health care provider or travel medicine clinic prior to booking a trip and review medical coverage to ensure it applies abroad and covers emergencies. Other health risks include sunburn, strong tidal pull, and travelers' diarrhea. Family Travel Tips: Safeguard against the southern sun. - Wear sunglasses and a hat with a brim. Apply high factor sunscreen to all exposed areas. - Don't swim during the outgoing tide, never swim alone and supervise children carefully. Be careful about what you eat and drink can help, it can help prevent traveler's diarrhea. - Wash your hands before eating.

     

    Avoid raw foods. Peel uncooked fruits and vegetables. Drink bottled water only. Avoid unpasteurized dairy products, including milk, cheese and ice cream. - While prophylactic treatment is recommended for visitors to risk areas no drug is 100% effective in preventing malaria hence it's important to avoid mosquito bites. Here are three tips: 1) use insect repellent with DEET. 2) Wear trousers and long-sleeved shirts after dark. 3) Sleep under a treated mosquito net or in a screened or air conditioned room. Lamu is Muslim communities so dress modestly as a courtesy to locals and refrain from public displays of affection. Alcohol isn't served in local restaurants but is available in some hotels. Beach boys, hawkers and touts can be a bit of a nuisance but there's little one can do but be firm and polite

     

    Lamu Cultural Festival

     

    In November 2001 the Lamu Cultural Festival was held for the first time. This is a great event arranged to underline the fact that Lamu is worthy the World Heritage label, to show and preserve Lamu's old traditional ways and handicrafts. The year 2012 it is on the 15th -18th of November. There are traditional music evenings, dances, cultural seminaries, exhibitions, dhow and donkey races, swahili dishes etc. The Festival is an extended weekend full of events to experience. It must take place around either full moon or new moon since the dhow races need high tide water.

     

    Do’s

     

    • Relax and settle into the pace of island life. Feel free to engage with the local community.
    • Visit the Donkey Sanctuary on the waterfront just north of the old town. This unique shelter provides care to injured and abused donkeys and supports the welfare of these creatures with a popular annual contest for the donkey in the “best condition”.
    • Try the seafood. Samosas and pakoras are very popular here, but this is also an excellent place to experience the unique flavor of authentic Swahili crab and fish dishes fresh from the Indian Ocean.
    Don’ts

     

    • Disrespect the local Muslim culture by wearing shorts or bikini bottoms outside of the water.
    • Become so relaxed that you neglect your personal safety. The Island of Lamu lies close to the coast of Somalia and crimes like piracy and kidnapping are not unheard of here.
    • Visit the area without checking State Department warnings beforehand. Travelers to Lamu come at their own risk.
    Fun Facts

     

    • In 2011 the Lamu Donkey Sanctuary, along with two international animal welfare charities, successfully lobbied to ban plastic bags on Lamu. This is expected to beautify the island as well as protect donkeys from bag-related injury and death.
    • In 1415, a Chinese trade ship sank near Lamu Island. Survivors came ashore and integrated with local women. Recent DNA testing and archeological work confirms that many residents of the island have Chinese ancestry and are probably descendants of this original crew.
    • Traditional exports from Lamu include turtle shells, ivory and rhinoceros horn, all of which left port on route to India and the Middle East.
    Lamu Maulidi Cultural Festival

     

    The festival that fuses culture with religion, this year 14 th - 16 th February Maulidi is the celebration of the Prophet Mohamed's birthday. The Maulidi in Lamu is a big occasion. Pilgrims from many parts of the world come to Lamu once a year to fulfill their vows. Here Maulidi is celebrated a little different from other parts of the world. There is much chanting and music in the mosques, The Cassida a lovely solemn music performance at night by the Mkunguni Fort square Most of the events are organised in Lamu Old Town, at the town square, in the Fort, on the seafront and some come to get a feeling of the ecstasy surrounding the celebration.

     

    Lamu Island Honeymoon Packages

     

    Of all of the most popular honeymoon holiday destinations in the world, the Lamu Island is more than just a step above the rest. Often said to be just like paradise, what better way to celebrate a new marriage than surrounded by utter beauty? Nothing says "I love you" more than Lamu honeymoon holiday. Long walks on the beach may seem like a cliché, but this certainly is not true on a honeymoon in Lamu. Pristine white beaches formed over thousands of years literally beckon bare feet to tread over them. A nation untouched by the hands of modern civilization, the Lamu Island offer beautiful day and night scenery at the water's edge and beyond. It is not unheard of for newlyweds to spend entire days at the waterfront enjoying the sound of the water and the beauty of the island. The beaches are a perfect venue for picnics, long talks or even a well-deserved nap in the sun.

     

    A Lamu Island honeymoon Vacation is not complete without a stay in one of the locally-owned beach houses that are found on each and every island, the private houses are a newlywed couple's honeymoon hub, and any number of activities can be scheduled directly through resort staff. For a more secluded honeymoon tours, consider the rental of a locally-owned beach house, they provide a level of seclusion that cannot be found in any beach hotel. Activities can be scheduled privately or with other guest house residents. Either way, there is no better location for a honeymoon trip than the Lamu Island. Many of miles from the nearest big city of Mombasa and Malindi, Lamu Island is the perfect getaway for couples looking to escape the hustle and bustle of their everyday lives. A Honeymoon to Lamu offers couples several ways to bond and relax before returning to their hometown. Spas are abundant throughout the islands, so honeymooners frequently choose to get massages or other spa treatments together. Quiet dinners with other honeymooners are quite popular as well since newlyweds tend to flock to the Lamu Island houses and Villas. The islands can provide newlyweds with a peaceful, romantic getaway that helps build a strong foundation for a healthy, long-term relationship.

     

    The Lamu Island is a great place for a quiet and romantic honeymoon, but that does not mean that this is all a Lamu Honeymoon vacation has to offer. Snorkeling or scuba diving as a couple can be a very romantic, rewarding and even life-changing experience. Some locals will even take tourists out into the ocean to try and catch a glimpse of dolphins, whales or even sharks. Some locations are primed for jet-skiing and other types of water sports. The Lamu Island is such a detour from most people's everyday lives that simply experiencing the wonders of the wildlife and scenery together can form an unbreakable bond. Honeymoon holidays to Lamu are simple, affordable and breathtaking. There is an endless variety of activities available nearly 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whether seeking a quiet, romantic getaway or an action-packed adventure, a Lamu Island honeymoon can deliver. Wondering where to holiday at home this summer? Head to Lamu Island Subira House and rent one of the houses for a classic beach break in style.

     

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