Kizingoni Beach, Lamu Island - North Kenya Coast
Jahazi House is one of a group of exclusive and secluded private homes set on Kizingoni Beach, on the beautiful island of Lamu off the Kenyan coast. Each house sleeps at least eight guests and is fully catered. All the houses are characterised by exquisite taste and an outstanding setting, a perfect retreat for total privacy and relaxation for families of groups of friends.
Jahazi House, named after the historical large trading dhows that brought Lamu its trading wealth, stands right on the edge of the Indian Ocean on two acres of garden. From the first floor makuti-covered veranda you can watch the dhows come and go, collecting sand and delivering coral blocks and fish. The house is built of coral block plastered in the local neru finish, tinted a soft ochre yellow. The house has been designed along traditional lines around an inner courtyard, which holds a very private swimming pool, cooling the public rooms and bedrooms.
On the ground floor there is a reception and dining area leading out to a wrap-around front veranda, sitting right on the beach. The boat moorings are immediately in front. The four bedrooms are all accessed from the inner courtyard and are simply furnished with ensuite shower rooms and their own private verandas. The verandas have a work desk, occasional table and chairs and a traditional Lamu day bed. There is a guest/pool changing room and a covered baraza area behind the pool that can also be used for sleeping.
The roof is one huge terrace, partially covered with makuti to provide a shaded bar, eating and sitting area. There is a separate small covered massage room with trellised walls at the back of the building. A private boat and captain allow you to explore the area's marine life with ease. A private chef completes the holiday experience.
Location and seasons
The house is on Kizingoni Beach at the southern tip of Lamu Island.
Kenya's north coast, one of her most popular beach holiday destinations, offers clear blue sea, marine parks, excellent water sports, coral reefs, monsoon winds, numerous hotels and beach resorts, family vacations, sun n sand, cultural and beach travel and more. Close to Mombasa, it is also within easy reach of Malindi, Lamu, Diani and many other popular Kenya safari resort hotels.
Beach vacation facts
Hottest time is between November and March, rainy season is May and June (hotel closed 01 May to 15 June); sea weed on beach and strong winds May /August. September to November is cool and pleasant.
The Lamu archipelago is a cluster of hot low-lying desert islands, which runs for some 60 km parallel to the coastline of northern Kenya. The last survivor of a one thousand year-old civilization, Lamu was founded by the Arabs in the seventh century and traded for centuries thereafter in ivory, rhino horn and slaves. Today it offers a unique showcase for the traditional Swahili culture, a bustling historic town and some of the most pristine beaches in Africa.
The most famous in the archipelago, measuring about 16 km by 7km, Lamu resembles a smaller version of Zanzibar. Here, however, transport is by foot, donkey or dhow - there are no cars on the island. A magnificent Swahili settlement and a World Heritage Site, Lamu Town is a maze of winding streets and intricately carved doorways, which lies to the north-east of the island. The fishing village of Shela lies to the south (with a 12 km beach), while Kipungani is the local centre for dhow-building and palm-mat weaving. Transfers to Lamu take around 10 minutes by boat from Manda Island.
The oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa, Lamu is a centre for the study of Swahili culture. Although founded in the 13th century, the majority of buildings date from the 18th century. Today the town is a living monument to its past. The old houses, built with coral walls two-feet thick are built with a series of alcoves rather than rooms, whose size is decided by the length of the ten-foot mangrove poles that are used for both floors and ceiling.
Many are three-storeys high and feature winding staircases, vast carved doors, intricate fret-work screens, balconies and flat roofs. In the winding streets, the majority of women are black-veiled, while the men wear traditional Swahili dress. The majority of the population are Muslims; and the town echoes to the call of the muezzin calling the faithful to prayer at the 23 mosques of the town. Lamu also hosts the important Maulidi Muslim Festival.
The four bedrooms are all accessed from the inner courtyard and are simply furnished with ensuite shower rooms and their own private verandas. The verandas have a work desk, occasional table and chairs and a traditional Lamu day bed.
Dining and bars
The house offers a number of dining spaces including the roof top terrace, around the pool and in the gardens. The services of an accomplished chef are included in the cost. Drinks can be taken around the pool, on the roof-top or in the garden. There are also plenty of restaurants and bars in Lamu Town.
The house is exceptionally child-friendly and baby-sitting is available.
What to see and do
Facilities: Swimming pool, private boat
Free activities: Swimming, water-skiing, swimming with dolphins, fishing trips, wake boarding, trips to Lamu Town, picnic lunches on deserted beaches, sunset cruises on dhows. Fuel for the boat is charged additionally
Paid activities: Deep-sea fishing, spa treatments, massage, boat fuel
Turtles lay their eggs on the beach where long walks are a joy. An idyllic climate cooled by the monsoon, the Swahili coast offers a daily average of 8 hours of sunshine, and the hot steamy climate is tempered by the monsoon winds: the south-easterly Kusi, which blows from April to October; and the north-easterly Kaskazi which blows from November to March.
Jahazi House - Lamu Island | Kenya Coast Beach Hotels & Resorts
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