Lamu, North Kenya Coast
Kijani House is a small garden hotel with four double and three triple rooms spread amongst three charming original Swahili houses. The houses have traditional coral walls with high Makuti-thatched roofs and are surrounded by large tropical gardens. The grounds extend down to a jetty, where fishermen secure their boats. One can walk 3 km into Lamu Town or 300metres up the beach to the Peponi Hotel. The bedrooms are spacious with high ceilings, Lamu-style wooden furnishings and four-poster beds. Ceiling fans, ensuite bathrooms and private terraces. There is an open dining area, bar and lounge, all shaded by a thatch roof. Within the gardens, are two freshwater swimming pools.
Location and seasons Kenya's Lamu Island, 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, Diani and many other popular Kenya safari resort hotels. Lamu is famed for its excellent deep sea fishing opportunities.
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.
Lamu 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.
Lamu town 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 is 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.
Accommodation The house has 10 rooms, all en-suite (safe, ceiling fans). Each room has a private balcony facing the garden or the sea and is surrounded by gardens.
Dining and bars The kitchen offers all types of fish, lobsters, crabs and prawns fresh from the sea, along with meat and fresh vegetables, together with African and Italian specialties. We bake our own bread, produce marmalade and yoghurt with the fresh product from our small farm on the island, which also provides eggs and honey.
What to see and do 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 north-easterly Kaskazi , which blows from November to March; and the south-easterly Kusi which blows from April to October.
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