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Lamu Island, Kenya

Lamu Island, Kenya

Lamu-IslandLamu Island is a stunning small droplet that lies off the coast of Kenya, with a rich heritage and past it is also A UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Lamu Town itself is Kenya’s oldest continually inhabited town, dating back to the 14th Century, and was one of Kenya’s original Swahili settlements. It is a stunning homage to Swahili architecture, melding in influences from Portugal and Oman from previous invasions.

It’s a unique and understated destination that is a must on a trip to Kenya.

Sandy Bornman’s
Lamu for The Eco Gypsy

Giving us a local’s insight in Lamu is long term resident Sandy Bornman, Designer and Proprietor of the exquisite Aman Lamu shop and label based in Lamu Town.

Dresses

Sandy-Bornman

Slumber

Lying a few miles away from Lamu Town, Peponi Hotel is an established elegant property on Shela Beach. It has 29 rooms and has been here since 1969 and is still run by the founding Korschen family giving it a personal and homely feel.

Enjoy the refined and relaxed atmosphere from the comfort of your suite, with the sea breezes rolling in. Dining is an enjoyable affair and a chance to indulge in their succulent world heralded prawns.

Carol Korschen also established the Lamu Marine Conservation Trust (LMCThttp://lamcot.org/) in 1992 by first trans locating one nest to their property. It has continued growing successfully and now educates schoolchildren about turtle conservation, organizes beach clean ups and has even introduced a bee project.

http://www.peponi-lamu.com/

Peponi-HotelBaitil-Lamu

Savour

Bailtil Aman Guest House is an oasis of understated opulence in a carefully restored residence of a royal family. Built for a bride in a story of romance, it was taken over in 1999 and after seven years was reincarnated as ‘the House of Peace’ or Bailtil Aman.

It is however the incredible Swahili cuisine that sets this guesthouse apart and dining on the rooftop, savouring under the stars is an idyllic dinner date not to miss. Dinner is served in a traditional way on mats feeling the whispers of the wind and world below wash over you. Traditional Swahili dishes are prepared daily using the freshest produce. This is an experience to delight all the senses and journey back to another era on Lamu Island.

http://www.baitilaman.com/

 

Shop

AmanLamu bags

AmanLamu bags

Aman Lamu is Sandy Borman’s boutique located in Lamu town that sells her collection inspired by the culture, sights and smells of Lamu. Locally produced the collection draws on all aspects of life, from the Masaai to the local architecture and Islamic influences. Bags made of Dhow sails are a cool and unique upcycled product in amongst luxurious floaty linens and kurtas, intricately beaded dresses and bold funky Khanga dresses.

A serene shop hidden amongst the passages of the town it is a place for wanderlust women to pick up perfect items for your global travels. If you can’t get to Lamu soon then AmanLamu will be coming to The Eco Gypsy soon.

Facebook Page: AmanLamu

 

Spirit

For the ultimate unwinding hideaway, head off by a dhow to the serene fishing village of Shella.  Here is Fatuma’s Tower is named after Fatuma Abu Bakar, a Swahili noblewoman who resided in this her sanctuary attended by her five female slaves. After her death and the abolition of slavery it fell into ruin until it was reborn into another sanctuary for wellness, yoga and total relaxation in its sprawling accommodations.

Yoga practice is at 5pm daily with Gillies and Morris in a beautifully tranquil authentic Swahili space. Yoga retreats are run regularly throughout the year, as well as guest instructors visiting. There is a wonderful treatment room where you can indulge in massage after the classes. A healing and holistic space a stones throw from the beach that is the ideal spiritual escape in Lamu

http://www.fatumastower.com/

Yoga at Fatuma's Tower

Yoga at Fatuma’s Tower

 

Sun & Sea

Sandy’s favourite getaway is Mike’s Camp at Kiwayuis an eco lodge on island north of Lamu. She describes it as ‘so remote and so unbelievably beautiful’, a perfect place to escape with family and friends. She usually takes a dhow at midnight and slowly sails across to watch the sun rise over the island on arrival at 6am.

Days are made up of snorkeling off the endless beach or exploring the mangroves.  Coral gardens bursting with colour and life lie just under the surface, pods of dolphins frolic freely and rolling hills frame the camp. This is an island utopia lying in the Indian Ocean.

There are only nine rooms meaning you have the whole idyllic island to explore or relax within a low impact intimate setting. The camp runs on solar and wind power and donkeys meander through the hills to bring the water for bucket showers. This is a paradise with its own pace of life in a pristine and personal setting.

http://mikescampkiwayu.com/

Mike’s Camp at Kiwayuis

Mike’s Camp at Kiwayuis

 

Credit: Photos Courtesy of Sandy Lamu, Aman Lamu, Peponi’s Hotel, Baitil Aman Guest House, Fatuma’s Tower and Mike’s Camp.
 
 
© 2014 The Eco Gypsy - Ethical Exploration.
   


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