All inclusive beach holidays in Lamu, Kenya
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    Red Pepper House Lamu Island Kenya & Red Pepper Villa Lamu Kenya Africa

    If relaxation and indulgence are what you are looking for then The Red Pepper House, located on Lamu Island is somewhere to escape to. Lamu Island is a world heritage site situated within an archipelago off the coast of Kenya and a stone's throw from the historical town of Lamu. Lamu has managed to stay unspoilt and untouched by mass tourism and has retained all the charm and character built up over the centuries. The Red Pepper House is an exquisite boutique beach hotel built with traditional Swahili architecture, giving you the feeling that you are in an old Swahili village but surrounded by pure luxury and provides a combination of real African culture and laid-back beach life. The Red Pepper House lies between an acacia forest and red pepper trees. Guests here are practically doted on from the moment they cross the threshold of this architecturally stunning beachfront property. After a warm greeting by manager David Morgan and his gracious staff, your personal valet escorts you to your exclusive nyumba (house).

     

    These superb accommodations are simply some of the most integrative spaces imaginable, uniting open-air splendor and private luxury under one makuti (thatched) roof. The living area, adorned with the same artisanal Swahili furniture that's found throughout the property, spreads to a veranda overlooking a private beach garden and enclosed outdoor shower. Relax island-style and stroll your personal grounds wearing your complimentary kikoy wrap. Schedule your meals whenever and wherever—poolside, on the beach, on a dhow—you like, and you'll dine on some of the freshest seafood on the island. Fishing boats returning with their daily catch are intercepted by Red Pepper staff before they even reach the market. There are no red-pepper trees on Lamu: the Spanish owner just liked the name, particularly in his native language (pimienta roja). Initially built as a family home, this five-room hotel north of Lamu Town is set among neem and acacia trees. It is truly beautiful, with crystal chandeliers hung from an undulating makuti roof (designed by Mombasa-based architect Urko Sánchez), and tribal masks and colonial antiques dotted among traditional Swahili furniture, including pili pili beds decorated with peacocks (a symbol of passion). Meals can be taken overlooking the pale-aqua swimming pool or in your vast private boma, and the food is very tasty indeed (Chef Mohamed Yakat Ali loves oriental flavours and techniques). There are sunset cruises to Shela Town on the h Red Pepper Hotel handsome new dhow, and day trips to Manda Toto to snorkel with octopus, lobster and lion fish. The crew members, like all the staff, are unfailingly courteous. It is just a short walk into Lamu Town, with its elaborate carved doorways and excellent museum devoted to the area's Swahili heritage (a mix of African, Arabic and Indian). But the hotel is unbelievably peaceful, and the same sense of shade and tranquility prevails at Anidan Shelter House, a beautiful orphanage next to the hotel. Incorporating a children's hospital, a nursery school and dormitories, it was set up with financial support from The Red Pepper House Lamu and others. Fusing an open-air layout and coziness of private luxury, The Red Pepper House ensures personal—and personalized experience, in beautiful surroundings of Suahili art. The personal attention of staff is evident to you from the moment of arrival. Two members of staff took care of your luggage’s as you are led to the lovely traditional dhow (Swahili boat), where you will be met by the Pepper House general manager. With welcome drinks in hand, spread on comfortable pillows you are set sail to the hotel and on arrival will be welcomed like a family by the entire staff.

     

    The waterfront near the hotel is dotted by picturesque mangrove trees, replaced by neem and acacia trees further inland. The Red Pepper House emerges from amongst them, its impressive thatched, undulating makuti roof towering above. As you walk into the massive open-air lounge you will be struck by the eclectic and highly personal décor, which is a reflection of the hotel’s original purpose: the Spanish owner built it as a family holiday home. The unique assembly of art, crafts and furniture, used skillfully to decorate the hotel makes the Lamu Red Pepper Hotel feel equally cathedral-like and homely. Crystal chandeliers hang above colonial antiques, sisal rugs and traditional Swahili furniture, including pili pili beds, decorated with peacocks. Tribal masks and sculptures adorn walls and corners. The local Swahili heritage comes through in the hotel’s decoration but also in the building style: the open sides, high ceilings and shaded verandas provide cool interiors in the hot Lamu climate. The spacious open lounge is at the focal point of the hotel, with its circular seating area in the center. Leading to the beach and the pool on one axis and the guesthouses on the other, the lounge serves as a cool and comfortable hangout. The hotel’s rooms (called nyumba), are decorated with the same artisanal Swahili furniture found throughout the property. The living areas spread to a private terrace and beyond to the enclosed sandy ‘garden’ of acacia trees. The small number of rooms ensures an incredibly peaceful and highly personalized experience. Activities are tailored. A dhow cruise to a remote beach, excursion to the Takwa ruins or a trip into Lamu town, the Red Pepper staff is on hand to assist. The sunset dhow trip followed by champagne under the stars is a must! The dining options and their locations can depend on guests if they wish—though we liked to be surprised by the head chef. Every evening he would invite us on a journey of tastes, from Swahili to the Mediterranean flavours… with hints of Asian cuisine. The sense of tranquil shelter emanates from the Red Pepper House and extends to the unique development just a short walk through the sparse acacia forest. The Red Pepper House’s shared areas include a seating area, library, terrace, dining area, a walled garden, forest chill-out zones, beach and swimming pool. The main house is wonderful. Without walls, internal or external, the outside - sand, trees and sun - contrasts wonderfully with an interior characterized by semi-circular slumber seating, polished floors, sisal rugs, crystal chandeliers and a large dining room table and chairs. Supported by a simple series of wooden uprights, and marked by exposed beams, the house’s vaulted roof provides shade and gives the house something of a cathedral-like feel. Outside, discreetly placed sun loungers, the rectangular pool and a bar serving everything from fruit juiced to champagne complete an area that is as simple as it is beautiful. Much is made by returning guests of The Red Pepper House’s food and service.

     

    The kitchen is quickly becoming known for specialising in a Swahili and Mediterranean cuisine, though one that is strained through methods and sauces distinctly Asiatic in feel and taste. With much of the produce organic - the vegetables sourced as locally as possible, the fish and seafood bought off the beach, from Lamu fishermen - the food is at once light and healthy. Equally fine, the service, from restaurant floor to nyumba butler, is excellent, friendly and discreet. Comprising of only five beautiful and spacious Nyumbas, the Swahili for home, The Red Pepper House is perfectly integrated into its natural surroundings and covered by a Makuti thatched roof. Local artists and builders took part in the construction of the property using techniques passed down from their ancestors. Each Nyumba comes complete with a spacious and luxurious bedroom and bathroom area finished in the traditional Swahili manner. Wooden beams adjoin the ceilings of the living room which leads outside to a private beach enclosure equipped with an open air African shower and sun loungers. Guests have their very own personal butler who is on hand to bring refreshing cocktails and delicious food to the Nyumba’s at any time of day. The Red Pepper House Lamu Kenya believes that tourism should make a positive contribution to the local community and they consider it their obligation to help those around them. With only five guest rooms the attention to detail and personal approach is paramount at Red Pepper House plus it’s a Cozy, beautiful and one of a kind: it’s the most exclusive hotel in Lamu. We recommend Manglar Nyumba, with a round bathtub on the pation, or Acacia suite, with two pili pili beds for lazing, double showers inside and out, and an outdoor, beautiful open air bathroom beneath an Acacia tree. The staff makes this place incredibly committed and happy, from restaurant staff to the personal Nyumba butler. They make great effort to make guests feel privileged, from the moment of arrival at the small airport. The quality of the gracious welcome makes an instant impression on you and your loved ones and it only got better from there. The fantastic welcome is matched by the goodbye (singing and dancing!); the Flexible scheduling of meals and activities of which there is a wide choice; Exquisite food—the best you will ever have in Lamu and not to mention the complimentary kikoy wraps, each Nyumba has its own access to the beach, with two private sun beds in which to lounge on under the shade of a Makuti, the Red Pepper House does not come cheap, but the all-inclusive rates also cover a variety of excursions and activities, services of the private butler, and roundtrip transfers from the airstrip on Manda Island. It's great value for money plus the the Nyumbas are spacious and the traditional building techniques work in providing cool temperature, Red Pepper House is ideal for holiday makers looking for a perfect beach with ocean view.

     

    Lamu Island Information

     

    Lamu is an island located off the coast of Kenya. It is a one of the first Swahili towns in Kenya- dating back to the 1500s, and, because of its placement on Arabian trade routes, it is primarily Muslim. The island has a relaxed and sleepy atmosphere, making it a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the stunning scenery, sweeping beaches, rolling sand dunes and warm Indian Ocean. The ocean continues to play a vital role in the life and livelihood of Lamu, and traditional sailing dhows abound. A trip on one of these wooden boats offers a highly relaxing way to explore the area, travelling to neighboring islands and fishing villages. Snorkelling is excellent in the waters off Lamu and the surrounding archipelago, which teem with vibrant marine life. Diving is becoming increasingly popular here, and many superb sites remain relatively unexplored. Over a thousand years of East African, Omani, Yemeni, Indian, Portuguese and Victorian British influences have all left their mark on Lamu Island, in the architecture, the language and the very essence of the place. In bustling Lamu Town, winding alleys lead past the intricate carved doorways of white stone houses, some of which are truly majestic and still home to the very wealthy. And, because the alleys are too narrow to be negotiated by cars, the modern world has had little visible impact on this historic town. Life appears little changed since Lamu was a busy port town in the 14th century, donkeys remain the preferred local mode of transport, and the streets are lit by lanterns after nightfall. Spices and the smell of grilled food scent the air around the markets, mosques, museums, fort and ancient houses, and exploring Lamu on foot or donkey is a treat for all the sense Sitting at an open-air restaurant by the water and watching the world go by is an irresistible past-time. Fishermen haul their catches ashore, locals walk or ride by, donkeys carry their cargo. Shopping for local woodcarvings and curios is another enjoyable experience.

     

    The other main town on Lamu Island, Shela, is a 10-minute boat ride from Lamu. It lacks the vibrancy of Lamu Town, but is beautiful; smaller, quieter and more elegant and distinctly more up market. Manda Island: The airstrip for Lamu Island is on Manda Island, and visitors reach Lamu by boat. Manda itself is also fascinating. Huge baobab trees dominate the skyline, and the ruins of Takwa, a 16th-century Swahili settlement can be found after negotiating a thick mangrove swamp. This unspoilt island, which has been visited by Arab traders in their dhows for centuries, lies in calm inshore waters on a long protected beach of white sand. There are creeks and other tiny islands to explore, and big game fishing can be arranged. Kiwayu Island: Furthest north in the Lamu archipelago is the lovely island of Kiwayu. This remote paradise is also dominated by giant baobab trees, and its beaches are believed to be amongst the best in Kenya. Lamu is an island of peaceful paradise. It has a distinct and unique identity. The history and the tropical setting combine with the relaxed rhythm of life to make it an intriguing, idyllic and peaceful place to visit. There are no cars! The old town is described on the World Heritage List as "the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa". Previously a centre for the slave trade, the population of Lamu is ethnically diverse. The people have a strong belief in tradition and custom and the community is founded on respect for the past. You explore all this on foot or donkey. It adds to the mystique of the island.

     

    The sense of culture and tradition extends to the beach and onto the water too where sailing dhows stil dominate the sea. Key Features: island of unique history and culture / explore by foot, donkey or dhow / romantic / no cars There is just so much to explore by both donkey and dhow. Enjoy the endless rolling dunes and the miles of unspoilt beaches. Experience the magical history and culture of “the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa” (World Heritage List). And sail beyond Lamu into the surrounding archipelago, where isolated communities, ancient ruins and a handful of exclusive resorts laze among the scattered islands. We organize Lamu trips to this mystical archipelago in the many different ways you might wish to do them. However, nothing captures Lamu life quite like a couple of hours on a dhow. The dhow is synonymous with Lamu. It has a distinct and unique identity, is steeped in history and floats in a tropical setting. The dhow is the traditional Arab sailing vessel. Three styles of ships dominated the ancient world. On the Mediterranean were boats with small square sails and outboard steering oars. On the China seas were “junks”. On the Indian Ocean, dhows, with their triangular sails and stitched hull design, dominated waters. We organise trips around the archipelago for exploring, snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, fishing, and sailing. From Lamu you can access the finest fishing on an East African coast that boasts big open-water species like sharks, marlin and tuna. The 480km coastline hosts two of the rarest billfish: the nocturnal broadbill swordfish and the beautiful sail fish. More common species that can be tagged along the coastline include tuna, wahoo, mako, blue and striped marlin, narrow-barred mackerel, bonefish, mangrove snappers, giant travally, barracuda, shortbill spearfish, kingfish and hammerhead and tiger sharks. Walk just a minute or two from your Swahili Sands home to your fishing boat for a full day or a half day of Indian Ocean fishing. Windsurfing, kite surfing, wake boarding, water skiing, kayaking and diving are among the various water sports available. Wind related sports are possible throughout the year as there is always a good sea breeze. At high tide the mangrove creek is as flat, peaceful and private and as intimate a place you will ever be able to ski. Explore the Lamu Arichpelago from the air. Take off in the morning or fly at sunset.

     

    Fly inland and over bush to spot the game. Land on the sand and enjoy a beach lunch. We can arrange for you to see the full extent of Lamu’s beauty from above. You can combine a scenic flight with an escape to Lamu’s hidden wilderness. We have deals with a number of the surrounding luxury camps and remote community lodges and would be delighted to add even more adventure to your stay. The Lamu Archipelago has a tropical climate. The sea breeze keeps temperatures comfortable at all times and you can expect great weather all year round with any month to month variations being almost negligible. There is the occasional storm but these are rarely continuous and only briefly interrupt the sunshine. Those visiting us in May or June tend to experience one or two more of these storms. The water temperature rarely falls below 26˚C and, like the climate in general, you will not notice any month on month variations. Kenya lies on the equator, so the length of day and night are very similar throughout the year with sunrise between 0600 and 0630 hrs and sunset between 1830 and 1900 hrs. By Air Nairobi and Lamu are well connected by four flights a day taking no more than an hour or two. Lamu Airport is for domestic and private travel only. Flights to and from Lamu come from two airports with three airlines: Nairobi’s international airport is Jomo Kenyatta Airport from which Fly540 have daily scheduled flights to and from Lamu, Safarilink and Air Kenya have daily scheduled flights between Wilson Airport and Lamu, We facilitates the booking of domestic flights with the three airlines for a minimum of eight legs (ie return flights for four guests). We can also organise charters from and to any of Kenya’s main airports. The airstrip is 1 kilometer long and 15 metres wide. The largest aircraft it can accommodate include: ATR 42, Dash 7 & 8, SAAB 340, Citation, Challenger II, L410, Twin Otter and King Air. By Road It is possible to reach Lamu by land too. It is a seven hour drive from Mombasa and a minimum of four hours from Malindi. You park your car at Mokowe jetty and take a boat from there. If you are not based in Kenya, it is necessary to have a tourist entrance visa with a valid passport. You can obtain your visa prior to or on arrival. The cost of acquiring it fluctuates a little. As at 01/01/2011, 30 Euros buys you a 3/6 month tourist visa. This can be paid in Kenyan Shillings, US Dollars, Euros and British Pounds. There are no mandatory vaccinations unless you are arriving from an area of endemic yellow fever. However, we advise guests to keep vaccinations up to date and take anti-malaria tablets. Lamu has good network coverage at most times from most places, although very few houses in Lamu have wifi. There are basic Cyber Cafes with access to internet and email. However, there may be more cost effective solutions for our guests staying for longer periods and we are happy to advice on this. Importantly, Lamu is a Muslim community so beachwear is suitable for the beach only. Please ensure you are respectfully dressed when walking through the villages. Kenya is three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and two hours ahead of British Summer Time. Mains electricity is 220-240 volts. Nearly all our plug sockets are the UK 3 pin square. Lamu is powered by a generator. There are occasional power cuts but most of our houses have their own generators for these moments.

     

    Fishing Excursions

     

    Deep-sea fishing Deep sea fishing in the Lamu archipelago waters is famous worldwide both for its variety and for the quantity of sport fish caught, including Marlin (striped, black and blue), Sailfish, Tuna, Dorado, Wahoo, Barracuda, Giant Trevally and Kingfish. The best fishing season is from October through to April and is a wonderful way to spend either a half or full day out on the Indian Ocean. Deep-sea fishing requires 24 hours notice. Reef and river-creek and fishing, Reef and river-creek fishing in the mangrove channels can be done with traditional hand lines. This is a half day activity.

     

    Boat Excursions Lamu Island by BoatBoat Excursions Lamu Island by Boat

     

    Depending on weather, the trip around Lamu Island can be arranged clock wise from the open sea or by following the channel between the mainland and Lamu Island. The boat will stop on the beach of Kizingo point. On the way back, there is an option to visit the Matondoni or Kipungani villages. The trip is typically organized by speed boat. This is a half day trip and can take up to 3-4 hours. A barbeque lunch can also be arranged at your request. Excursion around Manda Island by boat, This is a half day trip on the other side of the island with stop-over in Manda Toto, a small island made up of sand off Manda Island. Access to the other side of Manda Island is possible by navigating into a narrow mangrove channel on the west coast of the island. The excursion can be organized with a speed boat or by dhow. This is a half day trip and can take 3-4 hours depending on the stops. A barbeque lunch can also be arranged at your request. Excursion to Kiwayu Island by boat, Kiwayu is a small island in the north eastern part of the Lamu Archipelago, situated in the Kiunga Marine Reserve. The main attraction on Kiwayu is the tidal pools and snorkeling/diving pools located on the eastern side of the island. This is a full day trip and it takes about 1 hour & 1/2 one way by boat. Fishing can also be organized on the way to Kiwayu.

     

    Beach and Bush Safaris

     

    Game drive safari to Lake Kenyatta

     

    Across from Lamu Island, on the mainland, lies Lake Kenyatta, an area of pristine indigenous bush, rich in wildlife, including zebra, topi, hippo, waterbuck, buffalo, warthog, elephant and other seasonal game. This is a half day safari with a guide from Kenya’s Wildlife Service. Depending on the tide level, it is possible to organize the trip in the early morning or late afternoon.

     

    Excursion to Tana River delta by boat

     

    The Tana River starts its long journey on the slopes of Mt Kenya and meets the Indian Ocean just south of Lamu in a magnificent River Delta, teeming with birdlife and game. Considered to be one of Kenya’s great coastal wildernesses, it is a wildlife refuge and a particularly important site for thousands of breeding birds. The river boasts more than 40 recorded fish species and this rich environment is a haven for elephant, lion, buffalo, crocodile and over 800 hippos. This also includes fishing on the estuary, fascinating bird and animal watching with a qualified guide and a visit to the historical Town of Kipini.

     

    Waterskiing, wakeboarding, sailing and snorkeling

     

    Depending on the tide level and wind direction, waterskiing is possible in the Ras Kitau bay or in the mangrove channel Windsurfing & kite-surfing is possible in the Ras Kitau bay.

     

    Sailing

     

    Sailing can be done in the bay, but also in the mangrove channels, or around Lamu & Manda islands. Morning half day sailing trip can be organized with a picnic lunch or sailing in the late afternoon to enjoy the sunset while sipping a nice cocktail drink.

     

    Snorkeling & Diving

     

    The Lamu archipelago offers some of the finest snorkeling & diving in the Indian Ocean to explore untouched coral reefs and discover an astounding array of exotic marine wildlife. Two of the most highly recommended sites are Kiniyka Island (30 minutes south-east of Lamu) and Manda Toto Island (40 minutes north of Manda Island).

     

    Kayaking

     

    The mangrove is a fascinating place to explore and encounter many species of colorful birds and fish.

     

    Trip to Lamu Town

     

    most important attractions are the fishing and vegetable markets, Lamu Fort, Lamu Museum and the whole stone Town. This is a half day trip to be organized preferably in the morning when there is a lot of activity in the local markets

     

    Boutique Hotel in Lamu Island Kenya

     

    We’ve rounded up an ever-growing selection of boutique hotels, luxury hotel hideaways and romantic retreats in Lamu. Pick a destination below to see our selection of the best boutique hotels to book, Travel to a romantic boutique hotel for a luxurious and charming honeymoon stay! You just have to choose the destination: Lamu Island is a pretty happening place for a honeymoon holidays. Hip, sun-loving couples will find a lot to like about the boutique hotels--stunning design, top-notch service, relaxing spas, and plush beds you'll never have to leave. Everyone loves a beach holiday and our collection of beach boutique hotels has a great selection of beachfront luxury villas, boutique lodges on the coast and seaside B&BS. When you decide to take a honeymoon to a boutique hotel in Lamu Island, you should be sure to plan your vacation accordingly. In order to make the honeymoon vacation as sweet as it can be, you should have a general idea of how you will spend your trip before you go on it. You will have to consider where you want to go, and what attractions you’re looking for at your vacation destination. A Lamu Island holiday is the perfect opportunity to spend time on the beach. Some of the hotels are located directly on the beach, and some are just a short walk from the beach.

     

    If you want a truly romantic experience, you should be willing to pay for it. Couples that are planning on having kids will not get the opportunity to take another stress-less vacation until their kids are eighteen years-old. When you go to a Lamu Island boutique hotel you will find all the comforts of a standard hotel room.

     

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