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LAMU ISLAND - KENYA
Still undisturbed by the turmoil of modern times


Best season:   from August to October
Country / Region:   Kenya
     
Remark:   The island lies two degrees above the equator. You can set your watch by the sun, but most who visit this tranquil archipelago simply forget the meaning of time.


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The island of Lamu is located at the northern coast of Kenya and daily scheduled flight from Nairobi takes you there in about 1 hour 40 min. It is undisturbed by the turmoil of modern times, and boasts a timeless serenity. Set in an archipelago of coral fringed islands, Lamu Town was a trading centre for hundreds of years. Great lateen-rigged dhows sailed in from Arabia and India, buying and selling ivory and spices. The resultant blend of cultures has produced a vibrant people, the Swahili, who are rich in history and justifiably proud of their maritime tradition. To this day there are no cars on the island, and transport is by dhow, donkey or on foot.

Shela Village is a tangle of narrow sandy lanes, tall stone houses, some smaller thatched dwellings, mosques, ruins and a spacious square ringed with a few market stalls, small shops and a telephone booth. Here in the cool evenings the elders gather to talk, while women come out to shop. Wandering through the village you might meet discreet women in bui-bui, young boys in gowns hurrying to the mosque, sleepy donkeys, weathered fishermen, the occasional beachboy or absorbed visitor and a collection of cats. The beach starts a five minute walk from the village - seven miles of golden sands that are never crowded. A sea ideal for swimming, bodysurfing, diving, windsurfing, skiing, fishing or boating.

Beach House : for 10 people (max. 14)
A large house with four double and one triple, ensuite bedrooms. On the first floor, raised above beach level, there is an edgeless, fresh water swimming pool. It has a bar area and low comfortable baraza seats. Up the first flight of stairs is a large dining and living room, leading out onto an alfresco terrace. Another door leads onto the wooden deck over the pool and to two double bedrooms with their own private terraces. The third floor comprises three bedrooms and an open terrace. From the rooftop you can enjoy panoramic views of the whole Lamu channel.

Shela House : for 9 people (max. 14)
The house is built on three floors around an open courtyard, the house well and an ancient gardenia. The entrance hall leads into the courtyard, edged by a baraza sitting and eating area. Two staircases lead to the upper rooms. There are five ensuite bedrooms - three double bedrooms, another with two large four-poster single beds and a smaller single bedroom. There is also a nursery room. A second floor dayroom and terrace provide additional lounging areas. Most time is spent relaxing on the two rooftops.

Palm House : for 8 people (max. 9)
Palm House is designed around an open courtyard. The living and dining areas look onto the courtyard and another small side garden. It is spacious, yet compact - two doubles and one twin bedroom on the first floor, all ensuite with private balconies. The second floor has an open terrace, which leads off to a small covered baraza area in front of the fourth bedroom. This master bedroom has a Lamu four-poster bed and balconies on two sides. There is a panoramic view from the covered rooftop, with a bar, sun beds and baraza lounging area.

Garden House : for 4 people (max. 6)
The Garden House is situated on the edge of Shela Village, alongside the dunes that fringe the long stretch of Shela Beach. It stands on the corner of a small walled garden and is screened by large neam trees full of birds. The house has a ground floor dinning and seating area, plus a shaded rooftop baraza with an open terrace and sunbeds.

The house staff are there to ensure you have everything you need, when you need it. All houses have a minimum of three staff. The resident manager will help to ensure you have everything you need, assist you with menus and also help organise local excursions.

Activities
-Dhow trip to the Takwa ruins, former home to the people of Shela village
-Snorkel on the coral reefs off Manda Toto island
-Catch fresh fish from a dhow, which your crew will grill for you on the beach
-Windsurf, bodysurf, sail and waterski
-Walk along deserted beaches with extraordinary driftwood and sightings of dolphins offshore
-Visit Lamuís outdoor cinema
-Watch a local football game
-Explore the narrow streets of Lamu town with its ancient fort, its wood carvers, juice bars and donkeys
-Visit Kipungani Bay resort at the far end of Shela beach for lunch
-Discover the islandís history at the Lamu museum

Full Board
The house cook will do all your catering. He will bake bread, suggest menus and cook excellent international cuisine and Swahili fish dishes. Basic foodstuffs, fresh seasonal vegetables and fruit are available in the local Lamu market, while other supplies are flown down from Nairobi. Fish, lobster, crab and fresh oysters will be sold by our local fishermen at your door or can be ordered. Wine and spirits are not included in the full board price. Wedding receptions and large parties can be catered for on request.

Self Catering
The house cook can do all your shopping and cooking and keep a running account of expenditure. Please bring luxury food items with you. Coffee, cheese, olive oil and butter are difficult to find in Lamu. We have a small supply of these goods for sale in our store. The kitchens are well equipped with an electric cooker, fridge, deep freeze, bottle cooler, ice maker, ice cream machine, liquidiser and espresso machine.
Sodas and beer can be bought locally, it is recommend that you bring your own wine and spirits.

Water
There is a good supply of fresh water from the house well for showers. There is water purifying plant which supplies clean water to all the kitchens and carafes are supplied in the bathrooms. Commercial bottled water is also available.

Malaria
You are advised to seek professional advice. No anti-malaria drugs are 100% effective and all travellers are advised that protection from being bitten by mosquitoes is their first line of defence against malaria. Houses provide treated nets on all beds.

Telephone
There is a telephone in all houses for incoming calls. Telephone lines can be opened by arrangement with the manager and cell phones can be hired from the office. The central office has fax and email facilities.

Linen and Laundry
Bed linen, mosquito nets and house towels are supplied. A full laundry service is provided but there are no dry-cleaning services available.

Check-in and Check-out
Saturday to Saturday. Check-in time is 3:30 p.m. and check-out time is 11:00 a.m., unless otherwise agreed with management.
 


Shela Village





Palm House


Garden House

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