After my first visit to Shella on Lamu Island a long time ago, I knew that this island would forever have a special place in my heart. Lamu is a dream destination, MY dream destination! Every time I go there I am submerged in pure relaxation, happiness, excitement, pride in my country, awe, love, serenity, hope and enthusiasm.
As soon as we landed we met up with Aswif Omar AKA ‘Captain I'll be back’, he was our taxi service taking us from the airport to Forodhani House in his delightful dhow. The Captain took us on a 20 minute cruise on the Indian ocean, coasting past the beautiful town of Lamu as our first introduction to the island. He was our captain for the rest of the trip always making sure we were having a great time, on and off the sea. I remember us all enjoying a round of laughter at his 'Uber' sign that had been carved into his dhow; Katarina commenting that this was ”the best Uber she had ever been in!". I was also quite amused by his boat names: ‘i'll be back’, ‘i'll be back too’ and lastly ‘i'll be back soon’!
I feel so extremely fortunate to have been able to stay at Forodhani House for the second time, because let me tell you, this house is absolutely magical. Not only did I get to spend time in my dream holiday destination but I also got to spend time in my dream home! Forodhani House is absolutely stunning, with 3 floors of rooms that sleeps up to 13 people and an incredible rooftop balcony, all with stunning views of the ocean, palm trees, the beaches, surrounding houses and Manda Island too! Days spent at Forodhani House never fail to be relaxing and tranquil. There was nothing but positive vibes as we lay back with a refreshing cocktail playing some smooth island jams from their quality speakers, perhaps even going for dip in their crisp, clear blue pool. My favourite activity at Forodhani, however, would have to be when we would all gather and curl up in their open aired lounge at night to watch a scary movie projected onto a huge white wall.
Picture yourself sailing smoothly through the ocean, the guides taking you on a scenic journey through surrounding shrubbery and then into the endless open water. Perhaps you’re sipping a cool G&T on the edge of the dhow, your toes dipping in and out of the cool water, or in my case, indulging in a few freshly shucked oysters whilst enjoying the the warm breeze caressing my cheeks. All the while, the distant sun is taking its time to set, providing a spectacular array of reds and oranges … believe me, the sunset dhow cruises in Lamu are a definite must do!
We took a tour through Lamu town with Mr Ali. This is the second time Mr Ali has taken me on this tour, and both times have been wonderful. Patient, kind and always smiling, Mr Ali shines with pride for his home town, animatedly escorting us anywhere and everywhere we would like to go. He doesn’t fall an inch short on information. You could point at any small thing and be sure Mr Ali not only had the short answers but also a full story behind them. Lamu town was an absolute delight to visit again, beaming in its beauty, charm and community. A true gem.
A day in the life of a fisherman. We started off by making anchorage near to the neighbouring island of Manda. We lay our hats down, threw our lines out and I found myself mentally preparing for the mountains of fish I was inevitably going to catch. Well… that might not have been the case, and I may have only actually caught one fish myself. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the experience and the strange sense of peace that one gets when out on the vast ocean, propped over the boat’s edge gazing over the calm waters in a serene meditative state, patiently waiting for the prey to bite. We then hopped over onto the neighbouring island where we actually learnt to shuck oysters! A delicious treat that I thoroughly enjoyed. We prepared them first at Forodhani House where we baked them in the oven with a bit of lime, tabasco, tomato salsa and cheese, and then ate them again later during our lovely evening dhow ride. And lastly, what better way to end my day as a fisherman than at home as we gathered around the dining table, sharing our collective catches of the day with some roast potatoes and a refreshing salad. I should be a fisherman more often!
The food is DELICIOUS! Chef Amos at Forodhani House really knows what he's doing. The thing I love most about Chef Amos’ cooking is that, as direct and simple as the meals may be, it is always incredibly tasty and satisfying. Being the foodie that I am, I really appreciate a person who knows how to make simple food delicious. Oh! And I have to give a shout out to Chef Amos’ refreshing freshly squeezed juices. The thought of that freshly squeezed juice awaiting me downstairs at the breakfast table was always more than enough to get me out of bed. As incredible as Lamu is as a whole, I have to admit that the food & drinks are definitely one of my main reasons for wanting to go back!
All in all I have nothing but positive things to say about Lamu! It will always be my favourite place in Kenya. Friendly people, enchanting hidden passages and buildings, scenic adventures and nothing but tranquility and fun to surround me. I cannot wait to go back!
I would like to give a big shout out to my wonderful sister Katarina, for editing and THOROUGHLY improving my text! As well as being such an inspiration to shoot on this trip & in life! Please check her out on instagram @Katiwiki!
I would also like to thank family and friends, especially Muthoni & Wanja (Please click their names to revert to their pages), for your positive feedback & critique, as this is my first blog post you can imagine how nervous I was to put this out into the world! Much Love <3
For anyone interested in going to Lamu, here are some people I would advise you to get in contact with to help you out (can use me as a referance);
Accomodation: Forodhani house +33612548184 / +254718407480
Go to guy: Babu +254713576474
Go to guy & best boat services: Aswif Omar (captain i'll be back) +254724228172
Lamu Town Tour: Ali Sultan 0712574478
Water sports: Nawaf +254719130030 (better to reach through text)
Fresh oysters & Clams: Ahmad Sidik (no number but can be found by asking any of the contacts listed)
To Learn more about the history of Lamu please follow this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamu