All inclusive beach holidays in Lamu, Kenya
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    Pool House Lamu Island Kenya Africa & Lamu Luxury Villa for Rental

    We believe in Crafting the Extraordinary, Delivering perfectly realised beach house experiences that intuitively understand the needs of our guests and surprise them with visionary service and unexpected details that leave them with enduring stories.


    The Pool House” got its beautiful name because it is one of the few private homes in Lamu town with a full size swimming pool and was featured in the recently published book “Swahili Chic” and is generally considered one of the most beautiful private homes on the Lamu Island. Lamu Island lies to the north of Kenya's coastline and here you find the jewel of the Indian Ocean. This most exotic place in Kenya is set in an archipelago of islands, surrounded by coral reefs; the island lies virtually undisturbed by the surrounding materialistic world. It is an ancient Swahili culture and Lamu inhabitants are exclusively Sunni Muslims and a minority is Christians. Lamu town has a population of about 20,000 people. They live in ecological balance with each other and with the world surrounding them. A fabulous environment with transparent boundaries between people. Lamu, Kenya's oldest living town, was one of the original Swahili settlements along coastal East Africa. There are some other accounts that mention Chinese ships of Zheng He's fleet sinking near Lamu Island in Kenya in 1415. Survivors are said to have settled in the island and married local women. However, the authenticity of this story is disputed.


    The Pool House is situated in the old part of Lamu town, a medina of narrow alleyways where many of the grand old stone houses are located; about ten minutes walk from the historical town center. Through a beautiful antique front door one enters a true oasis of tranquility and fragrant gardens leading to three separate courtyards filled with tropical trees and plants. One of the courtyards contains the freshwater swimming pool from which fresh air cooled by the water floats through a series of interconnecting rooms and living spaces. The Pool House is a compound of self-contained buildings, offering a maximum of privacy to its guests. The house has several roof terraces, one of which is partially covered by a thatched roof, has a hammock and swinging bed from which you can enjoy a lovely panoramic view of Lamu and the bay. It is the perfect spot to enjoy your sundowners and at night, to gaze at the spectacular African starry sky. All living areas are open and airy and designed to catch the cooling breezes. One of the courtyards has a jasmine covered pergola and separate grille area for outdoor dining. At night all courtyards are candle lit for a magical effect. The house has gradually been renovated in the Swahili style with lovely plaster work, tall ceilings and a mix of antiques and new furniture made by local crafts people. Throughout the house there are interesting pieces of African art, reflecting the owner’s wide travels all over the African continent. Over the years, the Pool House has been the site of many memorable festivities, featuring performances by Swahili orchestras and dance groups.


    Pool House Accommodation


    Pool House is a compound of self-contained buildings, offering a maximum of privacy to its guests. The house has several roof terraces, one of which is partially covered by a thatched roof, has a hammock and swinging bed from which you can enjoy a lovely panoramic view of Lamu and the bay. It is the perfect spot to enjoy your sundowners and at night, to gaze at the spectacular African starry sky. All living areas are open and airy and designed to catch the cooling breezes. One of the courtyards has a jasmine covered pergola and separate grille area for outdoor dining. At night all courtyards are candle lit for a magical effect. The Pool House can comfortably accommodate groups of 4 to 6 people and is ideal for two couples or a single family with children. It has also gained a reputation as a romantic honeymoon retreat. A spacious dining room is at the center of the house, seating up to 12 people with rugs and antique furnishings, leading to a veranda overlooking the pool. Both principal bedrooms have their own dressing rooms, queen-size beds, full bathrooms with hot and cold water, and sun terraces. The beds are beautiful, hand carved, four-poster affairs with yards of mosquito netting. Other buildings house a third bedroom with two single beds, and a fully equipped kitchen. The house is equipped with a backup power generator and its own well, and fresh, bottled water is available at all times.


    Lamu Island Information


    Lamu is an exceptional place like no other that is situated in the Lamu Archipelago in a tranquil tropical island where life is appreciated at its own relaxed rhythm. Its history is as intriguing and enchanting as the winding streets of its marvelous old stone town. This island is a beautiful place of rolling dunes and endless beaches, where tiny villages nestle among coconut and mango plantations as lateen sailed dhows ply the quite waters. Lamu is an idyllic place to unwind and relax, where you can immerse yourself in medieval antiquity, only interrupted by the braying of donkeys and the devoted calls to prayer from the many mosques on the island Some believe that the island has been settled since the 7th century, although the first written history of the island dates back to 1402. Folklore also speaks fondly of the lost city of Hadibu, an Arab settlement buried beneath the rolling dunes of Shela beach, when the islands of the Lamu Archipelago grew wealthy on fortunes brought in from the East over the ages. Now they offer visitors the luxury of expansive virgin beaches, a laid-back lifestyle and beautiful private villas. Governed by tides and seasons, nothing happens quickly around here at this UNESCO World Heritage site and Lamu looks much as it did in the drawings rendered 200 years ago. Built in coral stone and mangrove timber, the town is the islands real attraction. It is characterized by the simplicity of its structural forms enriched by such features as inner courtyards, verandas, and intricately carved wooden doors. As the most populous part of the island, it is recognized as one of the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlements in East Africa.


    It is still acknowledged as Kenya’s oldest continually inhabited town and was one of the original Swahili settlements along coastal East Africa. The town was first mentioned in writing by an Arab traveller, Abu-al-Mahasini, after his encounter with a judge from Lamu who was on a pilgrimage to Mecca in 1441. There are however some other accounts that mention the Chinese ships of Zheng He’s fleet sinking near Lamu Island in Kenya in 1415. It is now confirmed that the survivors who settled on the island intermarried with the local women. This has been proven recently by archaeological discoveries on the island that has resulted in the finding of evidence which suggests this connection. According to credible sources further DNA testing done on some of its residents show that they indeed have Chinese ancestors! Lamu town flourished as an independent city-state until Portuguese traders, seeking to control the lucrative market with the Orient, invaded it in 1506. The Portuguese invasion was prompted by their successful mission to control trade along the coast of the Indian Ocean. For some considerable time, Portugal had a monopoly on shipping along the East African coast where they imposed export taxes on the established local channels of commerce. Over the course of the 16th century, the once prosperous Swahili town lost its middleman position and gradually declined to oblivion. In the 1580s, Lamu led an aggressive rebellion against the Portuguese that was precipitated by the Turkish raids on the island In 1652, Oman joined the resistance with the help of the Turks until 1698, when the last Portuguese forces finally surrendered. The Omani’s who had helped overcome the European invaders now became the dominant force in the region.


    Lamu later spent its years as an Omani protectorate under their domination from around 1813, after the Battle of Shela, marking the beginning of its golden age. During this period, Lamu became a center of poetry, politics, arts and crafts as well as the trade. After defeating Pate Island in the nineteenth century, Lamu advanced to become a local power. The island remained prosperous for over two hundred years until the late 19th century but declined after the British forced the closure of the slave markets in 1873, when the British began to take greater interest in East Africa. In 1890 the island was made part of Zanzibar after they forced concessions on the ruling Sultan leading to the established of the East Africa Protectorate in 1895. Lamu town then became the headquarters of Lamu District under the administration of a resident British official together with a Muslim official. The island’s economy continued to be based on slave trade until abolition ending in Lamu’s obscurity until Kenya was granted independence from Great Britain in 1963. Each of its aspects give a graphic demonstration of its cultural impact infused with several hundred years of European, Arabian and Indian influences. Lamu Old Town is now recognized as a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, since 2001, based on these distinguishing features entailed its architecture and urban structure. They are essentially a utilization of traditional Swahili techniques to produce a very distinct ambiance and culture. The growth and decline of the seaports on the East African coast. In addition to interactions between the Bantu, Arabs, Persians, Indians and Europeans also represent a significant cultural and economic phase in the history of the region. Its paramount trading role and attraction for scholars and teachers also gave Lamu an important religious function in the region, which it still maintains to this day. In 2011, proposals were advanced to build a deep-water port which would have much greater capacity in terms of depth of water, number of berths and ability for vessels to maneuver simultaneously, eclipsing the country’s main port at Mombasa. Agriculture had been the most important economic activity for Lamu until its plantations withered after imperial proclamations made the procurement of slaves increasingly difficult and expensive. In addition to its abolition, construction of the Uganda Railroad in 1901, which started from the competing port of Mombasa, significantly hampered Lamu’s ailing economy. This introduction of the Uganda Railroad stretching from Mombasa to Lake Victoria in 1901, left Lamu somewhat isolated. As the railroad’s terminus Mombasa later became the main seaport of the East African coast, Lamu was relegated to a minor role as a small local harbor. With neither trade in traditional exports which were shipped via the Indian Ocean to the Middle East and India nor agriculture to support the economy. Lamu stagnated and was in a full-scale depression by the mid-1920s. Subsequently the population in Lamu fell by nearly half as it drifted into economic obscurity as a small, remote island town. Ironically, it was the town’s isolation from 20th century modernization that preserved the rich architectural heritage that is still recognized to this day.


    The rapid population growth coupled with an increased awareness of our cultural heritage led government officials and residents to undertake an extensive conservation study of Lamu town in the early 1970′s. Today the mangrove exports, commerce, and government jobs paired with traditional maritime occupations continue to provide a stable economic base for the growth of the town since the 1960s. Tourism has also continued to gradually refuel the local economy in recent times. This current increase in tourism has contributed an additional source of revenue for the popular island. Swim in the turquoise waters, stroll the pristine deserted beaches, experience Lamu’s rich Swahili culture, wander the charming streets of Lamu, Shela and Matondoni and indulge in exquisite fresh seafood or al fresco dining by the sea! The Lamu Old town contains many fine examples of Swahili architecture worth visiting though there are no roads on the island, just alleyways and footpaths. Lamu is also famous for its woodcarvers whose specialties include the famous carved Lamu doors, furniture, signboards and Swahili boxes, intricately carved and inlaid with brass, copper or marble work. This makes it an ideal place to shop for well priced coastal handicrafts and artful souvenirs. Lamu has a long history related to dhows and lots of stories about dhow sailing trips. You can go for a cruise on one of the traditional Arab sailing vessels with one or more lateen sails, which is a very sought after experience offered in Lamu. They are relatively inexpensive and you can explore the Lamu archipelago by dhow as you enjoy the romantic sunset cruises or day excursions. You can combine tours to historical ruins and snorkeling which will offer you a unique opportunity to sleep on a cruising dhow as you savor fresh caught fish on the beach. Dhows are primarily used along the coasts of the Arabian Peninsula, India and East Africa. Dhow safaris can take you beyond Lamu into the surrounding archipelago where isolated villages, ancient ruins plus a few luxurious and exclusive resorts lie hidden among the islands. You can go as far as Manda Island, Takwa Ruins or Matondoni, Siyu, Pate and Kiwayu. Dhow trips are also available at any hotel including Peponi in Shela and Lamu House. Today, several local captains have taken to Mozambique dhows which are wider and more comfortable than the traditional Lamu boats to enhance their services It’s best to rent dhows from the locals, especially in Lamu Town, where they are an essential part of the economy. Several companies specialize in trips to Kiwayu but you can also go directly to the local captains, who know the islands and the villages best not to mention the sea. The delightful people of Lamu are great believers in tradition and custom as this is a strong society built on a respect for the past. Once a center for the slave trade, the population of Lamu is ethnically diverse. Lamu was on the main Arabian trading routes, and as a result, the population is largely Muslim. The obvious culinary attraction in Lamu is seafood and there is plenty available with excellent fish, crabs, lobster, oysters and more. There is also an abundance of fresh tropical fruits and vegetables. There are several other museums, including the Lamu Museum home to the island’s ceremonial horn known as the siwa. There are other museums that are also dedicated to Swahili Culture and to the local postal services. Some of these notable buildings in the old town include:


    Lamu Island What to Expect


    Lamu’s narrow streets remain unchanged, and the winding streets of the towns are best explored on foot or bicycle. Many locals also use donkeys in the markets and squares around the fort where life moves at the same pace as it always has. The island is still linked by boat to Mokowe on the mainland and to Manda Island, where there is an airport. Residents move about on foot or by boat, and donkeys are used to transport goods and materials since there are few motorized vehicles on the island. Due to the narrowness of the streets, automobiles are not allowed. Shela village and the beaches are also accessible by foot. Alternatively dhows regularly carry paying passengers back and forth from Lamu town to Shela. To access the surrounding islands of Manda, Pate or Siyu, either take an organized Dhow Safari or for the adventurous traveller, just hitch a ride on a passing dhow and explore. It is also possible to hire donkeys to ride around the island.


    Tour guides are licensed on Lamu and they will show you their license on request and they have a well-organized association and work together cooperatively. Recently, Lamu dhow operators joined hands and formed a dhow organization called “Promise/Ahadi.” Their aim is to offer standard prices and insure cheating of tourists does not occur on Lamu. These young men really made an effort to improve the tourist experience in Lamu, while also trying to empower themselves. They offer quality travel packages in Lamu services and affordable, reasonable cost-ratio rates for their services, but they do not offer hotel accommodation or complete hotel bookings or flights and packaged safaris from or to Lamu Island Lamu is still a popular vacation destination for backpackers. While Al-Shabaab kidnappings placed Lamu off-limits since September 2011, the island is now considered safe. On April 4, 2012, The US Department of State lifted its Lamu travel restriction. From respect to the Muslim inhabitants, tourists in town are expected to wear more than shorts or bikinis. Lamu is best accessed by air. There are scheduled flights daily from Nairobi, Mombasa, Diani Beach and Malindi. The island is serviced by an airstrip on neighbouring Manda Island. The strip can also be used by private charters. A dhow ferries arriving passengers to either Lamu town or Shela. Many yachts also come to Lamu, often sheltering in the channel near Shela. There are many unique luxury hotels, retreats and houses in Lamu and the surrounding islands of Manda and Kiwayu. Each hotel and house in Lamu has its own character and charm. Whether you are searching for a quiet weekend getaway from Nairobi at a boutique beach hotel or a luxury Lamu house rental for a romantic or family getaway from Europe, there is something for everyone.


    Accommodation in Lamu archipelago ranges from budget hotels and guesthouses to the luxury of the Peponi Hotel in the village of Shela and private houses in Kipungani at the island’s far end. We offer a range of accommodations from backpacker guesthouses in Lamu to mid-range and luxury rentals in Shela village. Again, this company goes local whenever possible without compromising quality. There are some exclusive listings of private houses which are real finds, This place is known for its unusual mix of travelers reminiscent of the 60s Euro-voyage to India in search of enlightenment in spectacular natural beauty and ancient culture. In Lamu, that happens. See the ancient eco-houses of limestone and coral rock in this unique, natural, unspoiled place. Community values are comfort, safety and hospitality. Reaching out to people, between people, is a community practice.


    Donkey Sanctuary


    Since the island has no motorized vehicles, transportation and other heavy work is done with the help of donkeys. There are currently close to 3000 working donkeys on the island. Dr. Elisabeth Svendsen of the Donkey Sanctuary in England first visited Lamu in 1985. Worried by the conditions for the donkeys, the Sanctuary was opened in 1987. The Sanctuary provides treatment to all donkeys free of charge.


    Riyadha Mosque


    Lamu has hosted major Muslim religious festivals since the 19th century, and has become a significant center for the study of Islamic and Swahili cultures. Habib Salih, a Sharif with family connections to the Hadramaut. Also spelled Hadhramaut, was an ancient South Arabian Kingdom that occupied what are now the southern and southeastern Yemen and the present day Sultanate of Oman in Yemen. He settled on Lamu in the 1880s, and became a highly respected religious teacher. Habib Salih had great success gathering students around him and in 1900 the Riyadha Mosque was built. He introduced Habshi Maulidi, where his students sang verse passages accompanied by tambourines. After his death in 1935 his sons continued the Madrassa, which became one of the most prestigious centers for Islamic Studies in East Africa. The Mosque is the center for the Maulidi Festival which is held every year during the last week of the month of the Prophet’s birth. During this festival pilgrims from Sudan, Congo, Uganda, Zanzibar and Tanzania join the locals to sing the praise of Mohammad


    Lamu Fort


    This is a massive two storey stone structured located 70m inland at the main jetty. Fumo Madiibn Abi Bakr, the Sultan of Pate, started to build the fort on the seafront to protect members of his unpopular regime. Its construction commenced in 1813 shortly after Lamu’s victory over Pate and Mombasa in the battle of Shela and completed in the early 1820s. The major building task was reputedly undertaken with the cooperation of Seyyid Said, the Sultan of Oman who was cultivating a promising new alliance with the rulers in Lamu. Upon its completion in about 1821 the fort marked the southern corner of the traditional stone town and served as a garrison for Baluchi soldiers sent by the Sultan of Oman. Its protective presence encouraged new development around it. By 1900 the Fort had become a central to the community, a role which it still plays today. It served as a prison from 1910 to 1984 to both the British colonial regime and the Kenya government, before it was handed over to the National Museums of Kenya in 1984.


    Efforts to turn the Fort into a museum were started with technical and financial assistance from Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA). With its inception as a museum with environmental conservation as its general theme; Lamu Fort is basically a community center for the people of Lamu old town. The courtyard is available for weddings, meetings and theater productions. At the ground floor there is a large exhibition space, which most recently hosted the first Environmental Museum in Africa. Upstairs there are administrative offices, laboratories, a workshop and a rooftop with impressive views over the town. There is also an excellent conference facility that is available for hire


    Lamu German post office


    This building is located in Lamu old town.was the first German Post Office ever established along the East African coast. The Post office was established on November 22nd 1888 by the Germans led by Clement Denhardt. The communications and trade contacts for the German Protectorate in Witu could at the time be served through Lamu, as a well-established town with links to the outside world. The Post office operated for more than two years before its closure on March 3rd 1891 after the withdrawal of the German settlement in Witu.


    Mnarani Mosque


    These ruins were first gazetted in March 1929 as ‘Ruins of Mnarani’. It is a scenic, serene site that was first occupied in the early 14th century before the Great Mosque was built in AD 1425. Close to the first Mosque is a smaller mosque which was constructed after a similar one in the same location. The foundation of its Mihab may still be seen east of the present Miharb. The original mosque was built around 1475, while the later mosque in about 1500


    Kiunga Marine National Reserve


    The marine ecosystem incorporates a chain of about 50 calcareous offshore islands and coral reefs in the Lamu Archipelago, running for some 60km parallel to the coastline and adjacent to Dodori and Boni National Reserves on the mainland.


    Lamu Island Private Houses Information


    Welcome to spectacular Lamu Island - Kenya’s top boutique holiday destination and home to an exceptional collection of private holiday villas, managed and rented through the island's premier villa specialists, Perfect for families or groups of friends and couples on honeymoon, we have an array of wonderful private houses and villas in Lamu Island, This website has been carefully designed to offer an easy to use portal featuring the most appealing and well appointed Lamu holiday villas, many of which are also considered among the best rental villas in Lamu. The island's many fabulous beaches provide a wide choice of stunning locations for the villas, and with an extensive portfolio of designs and layouts we can offer something for everyone, whether couples, families, groups of friends — even a large wedding party or corporate gathering. Each Lamu villa also comes with an experienced team of dedicated, professional in-villa staff to take care of guests' every request. As well as preparing delicious meals and keeping the villa clean, tidy and well maintained; the hospitable Lamu holiday consultants can also help with bookings and offer local insights and travel tips. All the villas on this website boast breathtaking ocean views and either offer direct or easy access to Lamu powder sand beaches. The furnishings and facilities are second to none, and booking through our Lamu travel consultants and Homes also gives you access to our unique personal concierge service, with experts on hand to help advise and plan your personalized holiday in paradise. Whether you are in search of the perfect location to enjoy a an indulgent romantic break, need a base for a fun-filled beachside family holiday or want to stay in a stylish getaway with friends, the fabulous villas and exacting personal services offered by our Lamu travel experts will ensure that Lamu Island climbs right to the top of your bespoke holiday hotlist. To reduce the difficulty in choosing and booking your ideal holiday villa on Lamu, we have made the selection and booking process as easy and efficient as possible. The villa pages on this website provide all the photos and information you need to make one or more selections. You can then use the enquiry form to narrow down your choices, and also provide us with any details regarding your specific tastes, preferences and requirements prior to making a confirmed reservation. Our concierge team will then advise you on the specific villas and services that best suit your requirements and expectations.


    Planning your perfect villa accommodation should be a pleasant process and we are happy to help you design your ideal custom private villa stay. Simply let us know how you would like to spend your days and our team will offer expert advice and make all the necessary arrangements to ensure you enjoy the best of everything during your time on the island. Browse our online portfolio of Lamu Villas, cottages or private houses and send us an enquiry form, or call us and let one of our accommodation in Lamu specialists help you choose the perfect villa for your needs. The Lamu villa specialist will then review availability and answer any further questions you may have and discuss the various options with you. When you are fully satisfied with your choice, our team will send you a rental contract, asking for a deposit to secure the dates you require. Our Lamu villas are booked on a first come first served basis, so it is advisable not to delay once you have chosen the property you would like to rent. After securing your villa, the personal concierge will assist you with any additional arrangements, from flights to tour bookings, advanced provisioning or chef services. If required, we can even stock the fridge before you arrive. A final document must be completed prior to arrival to ensure every detail is agreed and pre-arranged. We will also need correct contact information should you need anything on arrival or during the stay. When you arrive on Lamu Island, our hospitality team can meet you at the airport to transfer you directly to your private luxury villa. Once you check in, the villa staff will then take you on a guided tour of the property, answering any questions you might have. After that, all you have to do is relax and enjoy the private island experience. Whatever you require during your stay, the staff will always respond with enthusiasm and our concierge service is just a phone call away, guaranteeing a comfortable and enjoyable stay on Lamu Island from arrival to departure. The practical details are all taken care of — everything from serving a delicious breakfast when you rise to turning off the lights and locking the doors when you're ready to drift into an untroubled sleep.


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