Six days of Lamu journey



Six days of Lamu journey


Shela Lamu seafront. PHOTO | KARI MUTU | NMG


  • Lamu  is a world-class vacationer vacation spot with fascinating sceneries, tradition and journey. Peponi Home, Kijani Lodge, Petleys Inn, and Majlis Lodge are among the guesthouses you can find in Lamu.
  • There’s a good choice of water sports activities corresponding to windsurfing, water-skiing, snorkelling and paddle boating for the adventurous.
  • Tradition lovers will marvel on the beautifully-carved Lamu doorways and complex trellis balconies, a heritage of the Arab Asian influences within the coastal area.

I just lately found the delights of Lamu when Jambojet relaunched its flights to the coastal city after a four-year break.

I felt like I had stepped into a unique world, considered one of tradition, historical past, and an easy-going ambiance. From Manda Airport on the mainland, we crossed the channel on a motorised taxi boat, the everyday type of transport to Shela on Lamu Island.

I’ve not been to Lamu in a few years however not a lot appears to have modified in addition to the presence of boda bodas.

I used to be anticipating to search out only a few vacationers throughout these Covid-19 instances however was pleasantly shocked to see visitors in all of the inns we visited, and that the majority had been Kenyans or resident expatriates.

I visited six inns and stayed in three.

At Peponi Home, a family-run institution opened in 1966, an initially four-bedroom home is now a 28-room boutique seafront property with rustic Swahili interiors. Even if you’re not booked into Peponi, cease by for a style of their implausible seafood.

Our get together had dinner on candlelit tables on the restaurant veranda, with magical views of the channel, moored boats and twinkling lights of Manda, and a recent sea breeze blowing all night.

Kijani Lodge, one other previous institution with a captivating, laid-back atmosphere on the Shela seafront, has 15 rooms, on two ranges, arched partitions and makuti roofs. Resident tortoises dwell within the lush entrance backyard across the swimming pool.

Excessive Lamu beds, shuttered home windows, and carved wall niches within the ethereal guestrooms give the sensation of a conventional house. A leisurely breakfast within the upstairs restaurant was a fantastic begin to the day, watching the ocean glowing with the sunshine of dawn.

Additionally on the quayside and nearer to Shela city is Petleys Inn, mentioned to be the oldest resort in East Africa at 170 years.

For a extra luxurious possibility, there may be Majlis Lodge on Manda Island. Its 25 rooms in a number of villas are unfold out over the beachfront property. In all of the villas, I discovered superb African artwork, work, sculptures, and cultural items.

There’s extra lodging within the coronary heart of city, the place household houses have been transformed into guesthouses. These are perfect for holidaying households or teams of buddies.

I stayed at one such place on my final go to and keep in mind that housekeepers attended to the rooms day by day, a personal chef cooked no matter we wished and we dined on the rooftop.

Reserving a Lamu resort at half board or on mattress and breakfast is a good suggestion because it permits you to attempt different eateries. The common-looking Stopover Lodge between Kijani and Peponi resort serves up some very tasty meals as properly.

A flavoursome Swahili buffet lunch was served to us at Lamu Home and afterwards, two Swahili girls adorned our legs with heena designs.

For the adventurous, there’s a good choice of water sports activities corresponding to windsurfing, water-skiing, snorkelling and paddle boating. A simple kayak cruise by way of the mangrove creeks is my type of tour, the place I can take some nature as properly. On different days, we simply relaxed by a swimming pool.

There are nonetheless no automobiles on Lamu Island and donkeys stay essential for transport. Every morning I noticed donkeys herded right down to the dockside to gather blocks of stone, luggage of sand, and different items newly arrived on boats.

Outdated City which is a must-see for guests. You’ll be able to stroll round by your self or use a information to steer you thru the maze of slender streets. Strolling in Outdated City is like stepping again in time and a few locations are solely extensive sufficient to let one particular person by way of. You should stand apart for a loaded donkey to cross.

Nonetheless, the previous quarters are bustling and we handed retailers, companies, curio shops, silversmiths, furnishings yards, kiosks, boarding homes and mosques.

Tradition lovers will marvel on the beautifully-carved Lamu doorways and complex trellis balconies, a heritage of the Arab Asian influences within the coastal area.

We had a glance inside one of many authentic Lamu houses. A lined ready space on the entrance was usually used as a baraza spot to talk with guests.

The three-storey home was constructed round a central open courtyard that allows a lot of gentle and recent air. Ornamental items had been positioned inside carved wall niches and an open rooftop space is a cool place for enjoyable.

Lamu Museum is an effective place to find out about Swahili tradition and the nautical historical past of the coast. Lamu Fort, inbuilt 1813, was initially a Sultan’s fortress after which grew to become a jail. Right now it’s a nationwide museum with a giant assortment of Swahili poetry in its library. All these historic treasures are what make Lamu a UNESCO World Heritage Web site.

Lamu, Pate, and Manda are the biggest islands of Lamu Archipelago. There are smaller islands like Kiwayu, subsequent to Kiunga Marine Nationwide Reserve, the place we spent a few days.

The journey to Kiwayu on velocity boats takes two hours and goes previous the brand new Lamu Port, the start line of the LAPSSET hall, and a number of other small fishing villages.

At Kiwayu, we stayed at Mike’s Camp, one of the crucial secluded getaways in Lamu. Nestled excessive up on a hillside, the Camp has a beautiful vista of the ocean. This eco-friendly camp is solely constructed from woven makuti mats and mangrove poles, and the sleeping bandas are modestly furnished.

On one other day, we took a 30-minute boat experience by way of mangrove-lined channels to Takwa Ruins on Manda Island. The deserted city was occupied between 1500-1700 AD however now, solely historical baobab timber bear witness to the crumbling partitions of a as soon as vibrant settlement.

A information confirmed us across the previous mosque, pillared tomb and sunken graves inlaid with ceramic plates from China. Combating with neighbouring communities and lack of freshwater are the seemingly causes for Takwa’s abandonment though it’s nonetheless used as a prayer place by residents of Shela.

A late afternoon dhow experience was the right finish to the day. The boat cruised quietly within the open sea, huge canvas sails gently fluttering within the wind whereas we sipped our sundowner drinks towards a surprising sundown.

Lamu is now extra accessible with two airways flying there and the day by day bus experience from Mombasa and Malindi. My 6-day journey glided by too quick.

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