I kinda eased off on the stories of the Tembea Kenya coastal circuit trip… before I start on the Western circuit, here’s the last of the coastal stories.
Lamu is steeped in rich history, and for me it was the destination that I had longed for in the duration of this trip. After the amazing time I had snorkeling at Wasini Island and Kisite Marine Park, I didn’t expect to have any more out-of-this world experiences at the coast.
Flying down from Diani, via Malindi, we landed at Manda airstrip in the late afternoon. The airport has now undergone an upgrade, making it modern and more efficient. Getting through was a breeze. Our luggage was fast retrieved and placed into a boat, while we followed in another, crossing over from Manda to Lamu island.
As you approach the island, you feel the heritage and ancient history steeped in as you watch the row of houses on the waterfront. The coastal feel is captured in the architecture especially in the older buildings, while the newer buildings are striving to keep the same theme throughout. The pier at the waterfront was a bustle of activities, with day one of the Lamu Cultural Festival in full swing. Music was playing in the background, and hundreds milled at the front.
Speeding by in our boat, we were soon deposited on to the shore, with the gracious hostess of (Shela) Beach House, Angelika, welcoming us warmly. Word was that the Beach House is owned by the Prince of Monaco…but not confirmed. The Beach House is a beautiful five-bedroomed mansion that sits on the waterfront facing the east, towards Manda. Spacious, inviting and private at the same time, the house allows up to 14 guests at a time, with a full-on staff attending to your every whim. I remember us quickly offloading our laundry to be done since they offered to!
Soon enough, we were unpacked and lounging by the beautiful infinity pool, with @TimNjiru and @AhendaA showing off with their diving stunts while we watched (and recorded and photographed).
Day two in Lamu had us visiting the island. We started off at a meeting hosted by the then Minister of Tourism, Najib Balala. Graciously, he and the other meeting attendees listened to our points on marketing Kenya online, but soon enough it was time to head out to the jetty to enjoy the donkey race. Youths jostled each other as they sat on their asses, ready to win the coveted prizes. Donkeys were looking pumped up and ready to go at the crack of the shot, and soon enough, a number of races were complete. Even Mr. Balala took a turn sitting on an ass (no, I could not resist the pun). The donkey races start and end at the front of the Lamu Museum.
I took time to wander around the Lamu Museum, as this was right at the same spot the races were ongoing. Lamu Museum has gems of coastal culture hidden within its walls. From ancient to modern history, featuring tribes such as the Boni, who I had never heard of, I had a great time learning about more of Kenyan tribes and their heritage. Artefacts from eons ago and books written centuries ago were showcased. I even made it up the roof to take a glance at Lamu from that perspective, and I could see over some of the rooftops on the island and out towards Manda on the other side.
Back to our abode, we again indulged in that infinity pool, and some sumptuous snacks. But the adventure seems to perpetually have us hungry, and we couldn’t have enough of the food.