Six days of Lamu journey
Saturday October 09 2021
- 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 will discover in Lamu.
- There’s a good collection of water sports activities akin 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 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, one in all tradition, historical past, and an easy-going environment. 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 seek out only a few vacationers throughout these Covid-19 occasions however was pleasantly shocked to see company in all of the lodges we visited, and that almost all have been Kenyans or resident expatriates.
I visited six lodges 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 in case you are not booked into Peponi, cease by for a style of their unbelievable 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 contemporary 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 stay 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 standard dwelling. A leisurely breakfast within the upstairs restaurant was an important 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, stated to be the oldest resort in East Africa at 170 years.
For a extra luxurious choice, there’s 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 properties have been transformed into guesthouses. These are perfect for holidaying households or teams of mates.
I stayed at one such place on my final go to and do not forget that housekeepers attended to the rooms every day, a non-public 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 lets you strive 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 women adorned our legs with heena designs.
For the adventurous, there’s a good collection of water sports activities akin to windsurfing, water-skiing, snorkelling and paddle boating. A simple kayak cruise by the mangrove creeks is my form 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 vital for transport. Every morning I noticed donkeys herded all the way down to the dockside to gather blocks of stone, baggage of sand, and different items newly arrived on boats.
Outdated City which is a must-see for guests. You may stroll round by your self or use a information to steer you thru the maze of slim streets. Strolling in Outdated City is like stepping again in time and a few locations are solely large sufficient to let one particular person by. You’ll want to stand apart for a loaded donkey to move.
Nonetheless, the previous quarters are bustling and we handed outlets, 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 unique Lamu properties. A lined ready space on the entrance was usually used as a baraza spot to speak with guests.
The three-storey home was constructed round a central open courtyard that allows a lot of mild and contemporary air. Ornamental items have been positioned inside carved wall niches and an open rooftop space is a cool place for stress-free.
Lamu Museum is an efficient place to find out about Swahili tradition and the nautical historical past of the coast. Lamu Fort, in-built 1813, was initially a Sultan’s fortress after which grew to become a jail. Right this moment it’s a nationwide museum with an enormous assortment of Swahili poetry in its library. All these historic treasures are what make Lamu a UNESCO World Heritage Website.
Lamu, Pate, and Manda are the most important 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 pace 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 vital secluded getaways in Lamu. Nestled excessive up on a hillside, the Camp has a stunning vista of the ocean. This eco-friendly camp is solely produced 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 mangrove-lined channels to Takwa Ruins on Manda Island. The deserted city was occupied between 1500-1700 AD however now, solely historic 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 possible 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, large canvas sails gently fluttering within the wind whereas we sipped our sundowner drinks in opposition to a shocking sundown.
Lamu is now extra accessible with two airways flying there and the every day bus experience from Mombasa and Malindi. My 6-day journey glided by too quick.