Luma IslandArticle by Veronica Marciniak (27), London based Interior Designer

Lamu Island – the Ultimate Hideaway

If you are looking to escape the crowds this summer and indulge in the simple life, look no further than the alluring island of Lamu.

Nestled against the unspoilt Indian Ocean coast of northern Kenya, Lamu is exotic and secluded, a place to unwind and disconnect. Little has changed in centuries; donkeys are the mode of transport, there is no package tourism or resort development. Approximately a one hour and forty minute flight from Nairobi – and what feels likes the rest of civilisation, brings you to Manda Airport, where a bopping speedboat awaits at the edge of the coast to carry you over to Kizingoni Beach.

KIZINGONI BEACH

Avoiding coastlines littered with bathers is easy here; Kizingoni is a far stretch of deserted paradise. It is little wonder that for this reason it has become a home away from home for some A-list celebrities wishing to avoid intrusion. Both Sienna Miller and Kate Moss have stayed at one of the six distinctive villas, “built to allow both absolute privacy in the darkened cool of its bedrooms, and lavish hospitality in the white light of its public spaces.” The houses come fully staffed including a chef, a private boat captain and guide. All of whom come to greet you, waving, as your boat drifts upon the shore for the very first time.

Kazkazi house, the largest of the villas, is a traditional Swahili styled mansion with four towers encasing a central infinity pool, which faces the ocean. Daybeds softly swing in the light breeze and as night approaches, lit lanterns are laid out through the colonnaded walkways.

THINGS TO DO

  • Deep-sea fishing to catch your evening’s dinner
  • Swimming with dolphins, whale and turtle watching
  • Watersports in the calm mangroves
  • Evening cruise with local cuisine on board
  • Traditional massage, yoga and cooking classes in the villa
  • Riding camels through the sand dunes where it is rumoured an immeasurably ancient Swahili city lies buried
  • Lamu Town. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lamu town is the oldest living town south of the Sahara and the best-preserved coastal settlement in East Africa. Your captain will drop you off as you make your way around the winding narrow streets filled with little markets and local people.
  • Shela Town. Shela, a village situated on the eastern coast, is a more majestic place. This is where Peponi hotel<http://www.peponi-lamu.com> is located, a luxurious family run hotel and a social hub of the island. Enjoy lunch or a drink at the well known bar here.

 

FOOD

Your chef will take care of it – after all you are on holiday. From the freshest seafood caught the day of your dinner, to the most amazing fruits and cakes, you will most definitely be satisfied by high standards.

  • Sunset starter. Taking a donkey ride to the hill top overlooking Kizingoni beach, staff arrange a picnic basket with crab claw starters and cool beverages while maasai warriors perform the jumping dance to the backdrop of the setting sun.
  • Dinner on the beach. With a trail of flickering lanterns, a path to the beach can be seen from your front door. A barbeque styled dinner is served around your beautifully laid and lit table. Look up and see the clearest of skies – I have never seen the stars so vivid than in Lamu!
  • Drinks at Kizingo Lodge. Situated next door to Kizingoni Beach, the bar is a great place to go for a pre dinner drink.

 

HOW TO GET HERE

Fly to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. (Approx. 9hrs from London) – Connection flight to Manda Airport, Lamu. (Approx. 1hr 40mins) – Speedboat pickup to Kizingoni Beach (20mins)

If you have some hours to spare before your connecting flight to Lamu, visit Nairobi National Park.It is the only wildlife park in the world that is situated so close to the city. We had the pleasure of playing with a few baby cheetahs, meeting Pumba and shaking a couple of excited monkey’s hands before setting off back to the airport.

(Seven nights at Kinzingoni Beach, from about £2,315 per adult and £1,755 per child full board including drinks, flights and transfers, with Scott Dunn)

Luma Island

Luma Island

Luma Beach

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Luma Island

Sunset on Kizingoni Beach

(Picture source – Veronica Marciniak)