All inclusive beach holidays in Lamu, Kenya
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    Kaskazi House Kizingoni Beach Lamu Island Kenya & Luxury Beach Villas Rental

    Having stayed in many good tropical beach houses, we agreed that this was our loveliest ever.Max Hastings, SUNDAY TIMES

    Kaskazi House is the latest and greatest of the Kizingoni Beach houses as it is named after the northerly monsoon wind which blows in the summer months, and which for thousands of years carried dhows to Lamu from India and Arabia, laden with treasure for trade. Kaskazi House is imaginatively designed and sits back from the beach with wonderful sea views and is surrounded by landscaped tropical gardens. The house consists of four towers, around an elevated, 16m infinity pool. The two front towers house four spacious bedrooms, while the back two towers house the communal areas, kitchen and the sumptuous master bedroom, with its star- gazing bathtub and outside shower. Shady makuti-covered terraces run between the four areas, providing privacy for the pool area, while allowing the breeze to blow through and gently sway the hanging beds. Entertainment areas abound, with a welcoming bar and baraza seating area by the entrance, a large lower dining area, a rooftop dining/recreation area and plenty of room around the pool for sun worshiping and dining under the stars.

    Each bedroom has a private terrace and its own special bathroom. Nothing has been spared to ensure that Kaskazi House is as comfortable, functional and luxurious as possible, Double Bedrooms ensuite: 4, Triple bedrooms ensuite:1, Massage room ensuite:1, Dining areas: 2, upper dining terrace with separate kitchen staircase and lower dining terrace, Swinging beds: 3, Baraza areas: 2, 16m infinity pool, Guest/pool changing room, Office/TV room with DSTV, Basement games room with table tennis and darts, Fully-equipped kitchen, Large planted garden of 1.5 acres (0.6 hectares) with established coconut trees, Laundry room, Powered by wind turbine and solar panels, Solar hot water

    "The houses are simple but spectacular. Each house has its own sense of drama, beautifully-proportioned rooms, and plenty of places to lie down and relax"

    Kizingoni Beach is a striking beach front villa in Lamu Island and it stands at the southern tip of Lamu Island, on the far end of Shela Beach - famous for its 24 kilometers of wild, untouched seashore and ancient sand dunes that have recently been designated part of the Lamu World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Remote and peaceful, it is a 20-minute boat ride from Lamu town and Manda airstrip, approximately a one hour and forty minute flight from Nairobi – and what feels likes the rest of civilization, brings you to Manda where a bopping speedboat awaits at the edge of the coast to carry you over to Kizingoni Beach, turtles lay their eggs on the beach where long walks are a joy: snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, fishing, dhow sailing, camping out on desert island beaches, water skiing, wake boarding and kite surfing are all possible. If you are looking to escape the crowds this summer and indulge in the simple life, look no further than the alluring island of Lamu. Nestled against the unspoilt Indian Ocean coast of northern Kenya, Lamu is exotic and secluded, a place to unwind and disconnect. Little has changed in centuries; donkeys are the mode of transport, there is no package holiday tourism or resort development. Avoiding coastlines littered with bathers is easy here; Kizingoni Beach is a far stretch of deserted paradise. It is little wonder that for this reason it has become a home away from home for some A-list celebrities wishing to avoid intrusion. Both Sienna Miller and Kate Moss have stayed at one of the distinctive villas, “built to allow both absolute privacy in the darkened cool of its bedrooms, and lavish hospitality in the white light of its public spaces.” The houses come fully staffed including a chef, a private boat captain and guide. All of whom come to greet you, waving, as your boat drifts upon the shore for the very first time. Kizingoni House has been built and positioned to take full advantage of the west facing view for spectacular sunsets and sea views and to catch the sea breezes throughout the year. The large central living/dining room is simply designed in the Swahili style with traditional plasterwork and wooden beams, with a magnificent locally crafted dining table. A private boat and captain allows you to explore the area’s marine life with ease. A private chef and masseuse are also available to complete the Lamu holiday experience. The local village of Kipungani is a friendly and unspoilt fishing hamlet.

    From there Kizingoni House receives coconut palm products for building, including the makuti thatch for the roofs, makeka for the paths and all the woven carpets. It is also the main supply of fish, dhows and donkeys - all of which are fully utilized at Kizingoni Beach House. There is always plenty to do at Kizingoni beach House including various water sports equipment to use on your private boat and the swimming, snorkeling and walking is excellent. Sailing is available in a wooden dhow or a hobby cat, creek fishing and deep sea fished are also possible as well as a small safari on the mainland. Kizingoni House Lamu is a collection of seven beautifully designed, privately owned and secluded beachfront houses on Lamu Island, Kizingoni Beach offers a perfect venue for both active and relaxed beach holiday experience, Each villa is fully furnished in colonial Arab Swahili style — with tropical hardwood furniture and attractive fabrics, fittings and fixtures sourced from Lamu, Kenya Morocco and the Far East. The feel of the beach houses is one of space, simplicity, comfort and tranquility — all have numerous shady verandas and terraces, welcoming daybeds, swinging beds and lounging areas — and freshwater swimming pools. Each is a wonderful place in which to stylishly entertain or to simply relax with family and friends. One major attraction at the Kizingoni beach Villas is the calm and serene environment that it provides. Kizingoni Beach is backed by palms and large sand dunes and the houses come fully staffed and can be rented from a Saturday to a Saturday. The houses are named Wazi Dubu villas (a five roomed house), Jahazi House (five rooms), Kusini House (four rooms) and Kizingoni House (four rooms). All are built in the same Swahili style with carved plasterwork, hardwood furniture, and brightly colored fabrics. Power is by solar and windmill and all the rooms have fans as well as mosquito nets. Every house has a small swimming pool and overlooks the beach and sea. All the beach villas come with a resident manager, room steward, waiter and Askari as well as a private boat captain who will take you on excursions to fish, water-ski or visit the town of Lamu.

    You have the option of taking the houses on a self-catering basis (to get food you’d get your boatman to take you into Lamu Town) or having a cook who will take care of all your meals. The cooks tend to be excellent and will discuss the menu each day for you and then source fresh fish from the local fishermen and tropical fruits and vegetables from the market. Nestled between indigenous woodland and a 24-acre stretch of fine, sandy beach, Kizingoni villas are spacious, supremely comfortable and imaginatively decorated, built to ensure maximum privacy and seclusion. Villas are designed in a style that celebrates the fusion of Lamu's culture, with intricately carved dark-wood doors and Makuti thatch woven by the women of the local village. This beautiful Swahili architecture exudes romance, complete with all of the modern vacation luxuries expected of a five-star hotel. Watch the fishermen in their dhows or the myriad of crabs scuttle across the beach from your private terrace, or enjoy an exquisite meal cooked by chefs in the large, shaded dining area with fantastic views over the Archipelago.

    The houses are simple but spectacular. Each house has its own sense of drama, beautifully-proportioned rooms, and plenty of places to lie down and relax

    Kizingoni Beach is an exclusive development, spread out across a lovely coastal land close to the southernmost tip of Lamu Island. All the beach villas sit beside a deserted and virtually private beach, and look out towards the mainland coastline a mile or two away across the bay. Unusually for an East African beach, the houses all face westwards, and the dramatic sunsets at Kizingoni often have to be seen to be believed. The expansive land around Kizingoni Hotel is dotted with established coconut palms and planted with indigenous shrubs and trees. As one would expect, the beach cottages are all beautifully and imaginatively designed, and built and finished to the very highest standards, each of the cottage is a ‘turnkey’ property – absolutely everything is organized and arranged to make one’s existence at Kizingoni hotel as easy, relaxing and luxurious as possible. The houses are fully-equipped and supplied and ready to move into and enjoy. They come complete with friendly and experienced house staff, cooks and gardeners and a professional management team. For those who really cannot bear to be separated from the outside world, there is wifi internet access and cell phone reception is good. Each house is also supplied with a speedboat and if one can tear oneself away from Kzingoni cottages, the sights and delights of Lamu and Shela are only a short boat ride away. For the even more energetic, the boats are equipped for waterskiing, wakeboarding and snorkelling. Sundowner cruises around the bay on Kisingoni traditional Arab dhow Kilindini (‘deep water’ in Kiswahili) are another lovely way to enjoy the Indian Ocean waters. Close by are the relaxing and informal Kizingoni and Kipungani Sea Breezes lodges.

    Kipungani village, a mile so along the beach, is a completely unspoilt Swahili fishing community – it supplies palm products, staff, seafood, dhows and donkeys to Kizingoni, which in turn provides employment and funding for community initiatives. Backed by dunes and palm trees, is Kizingoni Beach, a blue-gold sweep of sand, just a few miles down the coast from the living Swahili museum that is Lamu Town., the beach is deserted; but for a few local fishermen, and two gracious dhows anchored in the deep blue water of the sea channel. Behind it run miles of sand dunes interspersed with palms and low grey-green shrub. Privacy and exclusivity are guaranteed. Island retreats, the style of these Lamu Kenya properties are distinctive and places ultimate emphasis on relaxation. There are swinging day beds, shaded beach gazebos, breeze-cooled roof terraces, and cool white sofas. Each holiday house also has BBQs on deserted islands, turtle tracking and more. Two luxury dhows await orders for dawn dives and sunset cruises. Camels can transport ‘sundowners’ up into the dunes. Supremely adaptable, professionally catered, idyllically set and uniquely defined by the breadth of styles and themes it can present, this Lamu Island accommodation represents a complete escape from the typical Lamu hotel accommodation. It is also renowned for its wedding and honeymoon venues portfolio.

    This multi-facetted beach resort is also emerging as one of the world’s most innovative venues for high-profile corporate events and incentives options. The constant cool breezes at Kizingoni Beach insure that there are few mosquitoes, but we advise all guests to take anti-malarial medication on their doctor’s recommendation. We recommend all guests acquire temporary membership of the Flying Doctor Service on top of their normal travel insurance, the two monsoons “Kaskazi” from the North East and “Kusi” from the South East determine the Lamu weather: the Kusi blows from May through to November, when the Kaz Kazi, a gentle, warm wind arrives. For ten months of the year Kizingoni Beach enjoys spectacular sunshine. However, we do not shut in May and June as the storms pass and there are still many sunny days with huge skies and wild winds. It is our low season and very popular with guests looking for an empty beach, clean water for all domestic use and for drinking is drawn from wells on the property. It is boiled for drinking and placed in the fridges. Bottled water is also available. Solar panels and a windmill are connected via an inverter to a bank of batteries. This is the power supply for the house. It is reliable, but limited, so we would be very grateful if you could be careful with the power and not leave anything running unnecessarily, such as fans, lights, music and computers. There is a back up generator if required, but it can be noisy. Please note that it is not possible to use heating elements such as hairdryers or hair tongs. Kizingoni Beach is on good terms with its neighbours and has a loyal staff, so security is not an issue. However, each house has a safe for valuables, which we recommend you use. We also have a team of Samburu patrolling the property, day and night. There are three daily scheduled flights between Nairobi and Lamu. The flight takes between 1hr 40mins and 2 hrs, depending on the aircraft used. Ali, our meet and greet man will meet you at Manda Airport, help you collect your luggage and load it into the Kizingoni Beach trolley. You will then trundle down towards the Manda jetty and your private speedboat. You will see Lamu town straight ahead of you, with Shela village off to the left. Kizingoni Beach is a twenty minute boat trip through the mangrove fringed channel. Your house staff will be on the beach to welcome you and escort you to the house.

    Water Sports

    A variety of water sports are available at Kizingoni Beach, including waterskiing, wakeboarding and donating. Guests can use their houseboat and captain for these sports, whenever they choose to. Fuel is charged at US$3 per litre and can be settled at the end of your stay. Your captain will ask you to sign for fuel after every excursion or activity, so you can keep track. Fuel prices can change without notice. Fuel usage quoted is approximate.

    Waterskiing and wakeboarding

    Water-skis and a donut are provided with your house. The best time to ski is often early in the morning, when the sea is calmest and there is little wind. All water sport activity takes place further down the channel where the sea is flatter and there is less disturbance to other guests. This equipment can be found in the central sports store. We have a variety of sizes of wakeboards and two windsurf boards.

    Kayaking

    Kizingoni Beach has 3 kayaks: 2 one-man and 1 two-man. Your boat captain can take you over to the inland waters across the bay for a wonderful paddle through the mangrove forests and inland waterways. Guests are strongly advised not to venture into the open sea, as conditions are changeable. Life jackets must be worn.

    Boats

    The Lamu archipelago is a boating paradise, for both motor and sail. At Kizingoni Beach we have the following boats available which you can use to explore and to enjoy.

    Yamaha 31 85HP speedboat.

    Your house speedboat is available for your personal use and seats 8 passengers. It is ideal for water sports, snorkelling and trips to Lamu town and Shela, but cannot be used after dark. Fuel is charged at $3 per litre

    FR21 Bow Rider 200HP ‘Tamu’

    Luxury 8 seater power boat, recommended and ideal for a fast and comfortable trip to Kiwayu (approx. one and a half hours), and the surrounding Lamu archipelago. Equipped with fishing tackle and captain. It will cost you approximately US$480 in fuel to Kiwayu. US$100 per half day plus fuel charged at US$3 per liter

    Yamaha 31 Twin 140HP ‘Bob’

    Professionally equipped fishing boat for open water fishing safaris along the Kenya coast line for up to 6 pax. Ideally suited for fast trips to Kiwayu and Lamu archipelago. It will cost you approximately US$420 for half day fishing in fuel, and US$700 in fuel to Kiwayu. US$100 per half day plus fuel charged at US$3 per litre

    Luxury Dhow ‘Kilindini’

    Hand built in Kipungani Village, this 37ft luxury dhow with teak decking is a magnificent way to explore the magical islands of the East African coastline. It is fully equipped with dining area, sun deck and cushions, outside shower, interior loo, snorkelling equipment, refrigeration boxes, cooking facilities and a sound system, along with a professional crew. It is also perfect for a luxurious sunset cruise off the beach at Kizingoni.

    Small Dhow “Mafida”

    Hand crafted locally, this 15ft dhow is ideal for exploring the inland waters surrounding Kizingoni, under sail. Your house boat captain can sail it with you, though we strongly encourage guests to take the helm and learn the ancient art of dhow sailing.

    Creek Fishing

    We recommend you try your hand with the traditional hand lines – they can be the most successful method of creek fishing. Your boat captain will take you through the mangrove channels and hopefully you will return with your own catch, to be cooked at your request. On calm days you can go out beyond the reef and fish for tuna, snapper, kingfish and more. Alternatively, hire either TAMU or BOB, as both are equipped with rods.

    Deep-sea fishing

    Lamu is renowned for its deep-sea fishing, with Kiwayu one of the top 10 sites in the world. Rent BOB, equipped with rods and captain. Rental US$ 100 per half day, plus approx. 140 litres fuel will be used, costing US$420. Please book in advance.

    Charter CHEZA from Manda Bay, a Lochin 33ft with twin 230hp new Holland Turbo Diesel Engines, or LITTLE TOOT from Peponi Hotel. Both offer full days fishing which is anything up to 10 hours – i.e. leaving at 6.30 am and returning at 4.30 pm. You may return earlier, but if you are looking for big fish or bill fish it is not practical to go out for a half day as it takes too long to get out to the fishing. In the months when the fish are closer inshore (Nov -March) then it is possible to go out for just a half day. The captain’s recommendation will always be sought regarding weather and fishing conditions and time to depart. The crew do have a TAG & RELEASE policy for all billfish caught, however in the event of a billfish dying or being damaged, the captain will make the decision as to whether to let the fish go or not. If you are not happy with this and would like to bring the fish in, then please make this clear at the beginning of the trip. US$600 half day and US$1100 full day. Please book in advance and note that you will have to take your house speedboat to Manda Bay (approx 40 minutes) or to Peponi Hotel (approx 30 minutes).

    Overnight dhow safari to Kiwayu

    The luxury dhow Kilindini is ideal for a two or three day trip to explore Kiwayu and the Lamu archipelago, with spectacular overnight camping either on board or on the beach. Our dhow captains are local to Kiwayu Village and provide interesting background information throughout the journey. National Reserve daily fees payable direct at Kiwayu. US$600 for a day trip, additional US$250 for overnight stays. A luxury dhow safari offers guests a unique and enchanting combination of simplicity and indulgence and is ideal for those wanting to get well off the beaten tourist track. This beautiful 65ft traditional, wooden sailing boat has been customized to accommodate and cater for up to ten guests in simple luxury and comes fully staffed so that you don’t have to lift a finger. By day you can enjoy the tranquility of setting sail past Kenya’s white beaches and lush mangrove forests. You can water-ski, snorkel the reefs or go deep sea fishing. In the evenings, when the deck is beautifully lit by brass lanterns, enjoy delicious fresh seafood accompanied by excellent wines. Nights are spent under the stars on comfortable bedrolls which are rolled out for the night and put away by day; there is one flushing loo, one traditional dhow open air loo and an open air warm fresh water shower. Three to four nights is ideal for a dhow safari from Lamu north to Kiwayu Island. Cruising, or sailing in the right wind conditions, from Lamu to Kiwayu takes approximately five hours. The route meanders between the islands of the Lamu Archipelago, past white beaches and mangrove forests. You may stop in a sheltered bay for lunch, or for a night, or visit one of the coastal towns or historic ruins on the way. Booked on an exclusive basis, we can tailor an itinerary around your wishes and time. It is ideal on its own, or else combined with a stay in one of the Kizingoni Villas on Lamu.

    Day trip sail to Kinika Rock or Manda Toto

    Sail to the beautiful coral island of Kinika Rock or Manda Toto for the day and snorkel amongst turquoise waters and an array of tropical fish. Dolphins can be seen at Kinika (seasonal). You will have lunch prepared for you on the dhow, before returning to Kizingoni later in the afternoon. Well worth a trip! 9am- 4pm US$600

    Sunset sail or lunch on the dhow

    Book Kilindini dhow for a sunset sail around the channel, with drinks and bitings. The dhow can take up to 10 people and is one of our most popular activities, so please book in advance. 5pm-7pm US$150. Alternatively you can take the dhow, and sail around the channels while having a relaxing lunch under the canopy, or sunbath on the deck. 12pm-3pm US$250

    Snorkelling at Manda Toto

    Manda Toto is a small coral island about 40 minutes from Kizingoni Beach. The boat ride there takes you through the mangrove-fringed channels. There is good snorkelling close to the island and you can fish on the way with hand lines. If you ask your cook to pack a picnic, your captain will take you to one of the deserted sandy beaches on the tiny island for your lunch. It is also possible to hire the dhow Kilindini for this day trip, or the speedboat Tamu. Fuel approx $150 (House speedboat)

    Snorkelling and Dolphin swimming at Kinika Island

    The coral island of Kinika is just half an hour from Kizingoni Beach in the open sea and has excellent coral heads. If the sea is rough the trip should be postponed until a calmer day. Although you can do this with your boat and captain, we also recommend you go with Louis from Kizingo, next door to Kizingoni Beach. Louis has befriended two schools of dolphins and there is a good chance you will be able to swim with them (seasonal). The Kizingo boat leaves at 9am and you need to book in advance with the Kizingo manager, as availability is limited. Kizingo fee Ksh4, 500 per person. Please pay direct.

    Snorkelling at Kiwayu Island

    Kiwayu is a small island in the Northern part of the Lamu Archipelago, situated in the Kiunga Marine National Reserve. The primary economic activity in the area is fishing. The main attractions for tourists in Kiwayu are the tidal pools, snorkelling in the coral gardens and the long white beaches. To get to Kiwayu from Lamu, you can take our private dhow, Kilindini (2 day safari) or your house boat (2.5+ hour trip each way). The two speedboats Tamu and Bob can be hired for a day trip to the island, taking approx 2 hours each way. KWS fees US$15 non-resident. Fuel US$360 on house speedboat and US$480 on Tamu

    Swim the Channel

    Swimming the channel has become a regular event for many Kizingoni householders and guests. It takes about 30 minutes one way, depending on how strong a swimmer you are, BUT has to be done just as the tide is turning. Otherwise you risk being swept out to sea, as currents are strong. It is possible to swim both ways, although most of our visitors are happy to be collected by their boat once their feet touch the mainland… Your boat and your captain will accompany you, on rescue duty. Don’t forget to take a pool towel and some WATER for the arrival celebration. Please do not attempt this on your own!

    NB: This is strictly at your own risk. There are large fish, occasional jellyfish and a few sea urchins out there. KBM takes no responsibility for any incident or accident.

    Walk to Shela and boat back

    The 12 kilometers long sandy beach to Shela is about a 3-hour walk. We have found it is best to start very early (6am) to beat the sun and on a receding high tide, so you have firm sand. You will arrive in Shela in time for breakfast. Let us know before hand and we will book your breakfast at Peponi Resort and your boat captain can meet you in Shela with the boat to take you home. Fuel US$90 Walking safaris can be arranged on the mainland up the creek, accompanied by a guide and one of the Samburu askaris. They can help you identify the animals, birds and trees.

    Lake Kenyatta Safari

    Across from Kizingoni Beach, on the mainland, lies Kenyatta Lake, an area of pristine indigenous bush, rich in wildlife, including elephant, hippo, lion, topi, zebra, waterbuck, buffalo, warthog and other seasonal game. Birdlife is spectacular with many fish eagles, egrets and carmine bee-eaters. It is a very beautiful unspoilt area. Kizingoni Beach offers a 3 hour guided safari around the lake. It is possible to stop for a bush breakfast or sundowners, depending on the time of day. You will need to take your own boat and captain to Mea jetty, where the Ranger over is parked. The safari times are tied to the tides, as your house speedboat can only access (and depart from) Mea on a high tide. Our guide will travel with you in your boat and a cool box will be organized from your house. US$200, max 4 pa

    Ride a camel to Shela

    Depending on the tide, we can arrange with Peponi’s for a camel walk along the Shela /Kizingoni Beach and you can then take your boat back. Or you can ride to the top of the sand dunes for sunset. There are currently only 2 camels for riding, and 2 for carrying the drinks, so there will be walking involved for some! US$32 per camel.

    Sand dune sundowners

    Take a 15-minute walk up the sand dunes behind Kizingoni where your house staff will have prepared drinks and bitings in a beautiful setting with 360° panoramic views of the Indian Ocean, channels and dunes. Donkeys can be arranged for those who want to ride Lamu style. US$10 per donkey, we have two beauticians. Using a range of luxury massage oils made from local Kenyan herbs and fragrances, plus Dead Sea products, they offer the following treatments:

    Excursions

    Kiziningoni Beach is well placed to access the many cultural and natural delights offered by the Lamu Archipelago. Here are just a few examples of the destinations which can be reached on foot; by donkey or camel; in a speed boat; under sail or by small chartered plane or helicopter.

    Lamu Island

    Less spoilt and cheaper than the Caribbean, Lamu is also far from Kenya’s sharp-toothed wildlife and perilous roads. Instead it offers exotic days filled with lime sodas, sea breezes and the odd stroll in the dazzling surf. No wonder it continues to attract eccentrics, artists, dreamers and romantics. If you’re doing it right, you reach Lamu via a scenic trip over the African bush by helicopter that puts you directly outside your beach-front door. Alternatively, you can take a small plane from Nairobi, (20-ish people, taking one to two hours depending on stopovers) followed by a speedboat transfer. Life moves at a pace of a monkey or a dhow. Spices and the smell of grilled musk scent the air around the markets, museums, fort and ancient house. The winding streets of the towns are best explored on foot or by donkey, as you shop for local woodcarvings, kikoys and fabrics. Or you can sit at an open-air restaurant, feel the breeze by the water and watch the world go by as an incredibly fulfilling past-time. Lamu Island seems to take place once upon a time, rather than in actual times. Lamu Town is part of the Indian Ocean's Lamu Archipelago. The interior of Lamu is a bushy, untamed habitat, which spills over onto sublime sugar beaches. Visiting Lamu is a novel experience, striking and unusual plus rich and unforgettable.

    Lamu is one of the most atmospheric islands in the world. Historically, the island was held under Omani Arab rule. As if not an island, but some marked treasure trove from the 15th century, architectural heirlooms from the era are gathered throughout the island of Lamu, reflecting its rich legacy. Lamu bursts at the seams with culture and tradition. The community is a fascinating blend of Swahili people, all sharing in beliefs, all indelibly intertwined with their shared history. Visiting Lamu is a combination of lazy beach bliss and living off the fruits of the ocean. The island has an indescribable appeal, filled with secrets you feel the first to discover. Lamu is an ancient town steeped in history - it also happens to be in Kenya, a sub-Saharan developing country. The town was recently designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. As such, some funding is now available to restore buildings that otherwise would be lost, as the local people can hardly afford to live, let alone rebuild and restore these ancient and elaborate homes to their former glory. Many of these lovely stone town houses have been restored by European owners - they are the height of luxury but the electricity still cuts off on a regular basis and the entire island runs off an enormous generator! Lamu is a struggling, living/working island, not a tourist-led place, although tourists are made very welcome.

    Donkeys carry building materials, fishermen wheel carts of fish, dhows are repaired using smelly shark oil and boxes of imported goods are piled high on the jetty. It's not all clean and tidy, it's Lamu coastal living. Tourists provide a much needed source of revenue and over the past ten years huge improvements have been made to bring accommodation and food in line well above world-class tourism standards. So far this has not destroyed the fundamental character of this small group of Swahili islands. The streets may not be swept daily and sprayed with disinfectant but this is Africa. Donkeys are the mode of transport on Lamu Island, off the coast of Kenya – yet the place is a magnet for A-list celebrities. Sienna Miller, Ewan McGregor and Kate Moss have been spotted there. Barack Obama is a regular on the island and Princess Caroline of Monaco and Prince Ernst of Hanover own several large houses. The fact that Lamu is cluttered and ramshackle, with no proper roads (or electricity in places) does not deter the glitterati. They rather like the crumbling Swahili buildings, the deserted beaches and lack of mass tourism. If you'd lived in Lamu Island 400 years ago you'd still recognize it now." Lamu's house prices have trebled in the past five years but are still tuppence compared to popular Caribbean travel destinations; large town houses cost £90,000 while an eco home with infinity pool is on the market for £1.3 million. There's a small and select community of British home owners on Lamu. They live in Robinson Crusoe-style homes with thatched roofs, solar power and infinity pools. They get about by donkey or on foot and use small motorboats to zip through the mangroves. Lamu Island measures 10 miles by five miles, and is part of the Lamu archipelago. "It's a pretty cool lifestyle in Lamu Island - like living in a film set, with amazing food and sun everyday," a bizarre lifestyle which you couldn't be part of anywhere else. It can be social if you want it to be; it's very international." But Lamu is also the ultimate place to chill out; massages cost £8 per hour and a house isn't complete without at least three lounging areas. The population is predominantly Muslim. There's call to prayer five times a day; the men wear khanzu robes and women often wrap themselves in black buibui. The architecture is a mixture of Moorish, Indian, Swahili and Colonial styles. "Most people who come here have a feeling for the architecture and the culture. It's the oldest Swahili trading port and a World Heritage Site," The narrow streets in Lamu town (most only wide enough to accommodate a laden donkey) are lively early in the morning, and then later in the afternoon, when the temperature is cooler and people have woken from siesta. "Most people are in bed by 10pm but there's a low-key nightlife and you can drink as much alcohol as you like in the tourist bars," A number of restaurants have sprung up in town and on the beaches, mainly serving fresh fish and fruit. "You can spend very little or a fortune but everything is very healthy." While Lamu town attracts an arty, bohemian crowd, Shela Island a village two miles along the coast, is more star-studded. "It's become quite chic and the houses are among the most expensive in east Africa. This is where Peponi hotel is located, the centre of Lamu social life (sometimes referred to as "Groucho-Club-on-sea").

    The white sand beach stretches as far as the eye can see and there is scuba diving, waterskiing and windsurfing. The good news is that the recent Foreign Office restrictions on travel to Lamu and its archipelago (except for right up on the Somali border have been lifted and so, once again, virtually the entire 360 mile coastline is back on the map. The Lamu archipelago is at the top of this coastline. The beaches are raw, untouched, wonderfully Kenyan idylls. Relaxing is a given, but there are also brilliant activities on offer including windsurfing, snorkelling, dhow sailing, water skiing, creek fishing, and dinghy sailing. From a few of the lodges there are also deep sea fishing boats available for hire. Separated from Lamu by a narrow channel is Manda Island. The Manda Bay Lodge is at the top of the islands peninsular and it has its own 60 foot traditional sailing dhow – ‘the Utamaduni’ – from which you can charter overnight trips exploring uninhabited islands of the archipelago. Further south the Watamu region is considered one of the best snorkelling and diving areas on the coast of East Africa and the offshore coral formations of Watamu Bay, Blue Lagoon and Turtle Bay are all protected as part of the Watamu Marine National Park. Other activities available include fishing, windsurfing and sailing, and we can recommend some lovely beachfront hotels and some lovely private houses. Further south still, at the bottom of the Kenyan coastline, lies the palm tree-lined white beach of Diani. Thanks to warm seas and beautiful coral reefs it is also one of the best places to get close to the richly diverse marine life of the southern Kenyan coast. Snorkelling, diving and boat safaris are all possible, and there are also some fantastic bars and restaurants to frequent. As well as boutique hotels and Robinson Crusoe style getaways, we also work with a few handpicked private beach houses that work extremely well for families or even couples wanting to get away from it all. They come fully staffed, with large swimming pools, and are catered for on a full board basis. For the time being at least, the donkeys and the dhows are unlikely to be replaced by anything more sophisticated. To quote one British homeowner's visitors book, the island is one of the best places in the world to come and do absolutely nothing.

    Shela Village

    Shela is a village about 2 miles from Lamu Town, making it easy to combine both in one trip. According to history, it was settled by the people from nearby Takwa on Manda Island, after their wells turned salty. There are a few colorful local shops and some more expensive boutiques and galleries run by expatriates. You can enjoy lunch or a drink at the Peponi hotel or at the local seafront juice bars. Your boat captain can take you there and he will wait for you while you shop or have lunch. Fuel US$90

    Kipungani village

    Kipungani village is just 2 kilometers from Kizingoni Beach. The people of the village are mainly fishermen, some of who still build the traditional dhow fishing boats. Kilindini, our own luxury dhow, was built under a tree right on the beachfront, using only traditional hand tools and local woods. The women weave the coconut mats makeka and thatching makuti for the Kizingoni houses and grow coconuts and mangoes in their shambas at the back. Many of our staff come from the village, or now live there.

    We have used funds from the sale of each Kizingoni House to assist the villagers start initiatives that can spur economic development. For the Young Men’s Group we have helped purchase engines for their fishing boats and have provided them with legal fishing nets. For the Women’s Group we bought land and built guesthouses that can be rented out to our staff, plus we helped establish a small business that sells fresh eggs to the houses. The villagers are friendly and hospitable and the village itself is very attractive — an unspoilt example of coastal rural life. We can arrange visits for you, guided by one of our staff. It will take you approximately 35 minutes to walk there, or you can take the boat. Fuel US$15.

    Booking

    Find and book accommodation in Lamu Island, whether on beach holiday or Honeymoon vacation, browse listings of all self catering in Lamu Island to find your ideal accommodation. All inclusive hotels and self Catering accommodation is available in the form of chalets, bungalows, flats, holiday apartments, suites, villas, homes - normally equipped with kitchens as no meals are offered and all inclusive hotels offer all inclusive. Even rooms are sometimes made available on a self catering basis. Lamu Island Beachfront caters for a wide spectrum of visitors; from luxury 5-star hotels to self-catering cottages, guest houses, Lamu Island accommodation at country lodges and estates with B&B's for the more budget conscious traveler. Please use contact details for the Lamu Ocean front establishments as provided. Accommodation in Lamu Beachfront! For your holiday trip and travel needs we have great deals, budget, cheap, and luxury holiday accommodation in the Lamu Island tourism region and many short-term vacation and holiday venues in the vicinity of and around Lamu Island area. You can browse our listings of holiday lodgings and accommodation in and near Lamu Island by the links below to get a personalized offer from a accommodation property owner that may be able to cater for your specific travel arrangements surrounding Lamu Island

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