The houses are a relatively new addition to the Lamu coastline but offer a great alternative to private houses of Lamu and Shela. Each of the houses has been built to a very high standard and, with the luxury of having staff to pick up groceries from Lamu and, if you are not in the mood for cooking, to cook, a stay in one of the houses is fantastic.The only drawback that we can mention is that the plot they have, while benefitting from being around the point, is not in as good a location as the nearby Kizingo.
Manda Bay is definitely up there with the best (but also the most expensive) of the luxury beach properties on the Kenya Coast. Set a mere 20 minute boat ride from Lamu Island, the lodge is set on the west side of Manda Island which gives it a protected outlook onto the inner waterways that run between the islands. This is both a blessing and a drawback in our book.
The blessing is that it does not suffer from the trade winds that can blow fairly heavily up and down the coast, and it gives the lodge access to one of the best water skiing areas I have seen! The drawback is that, where Kiwayu has idyllic white sand for the beach, Manda have more of a yellow sand beach…but this is not much of a drawback. The communal area is one of our favourites of any lodge.
This has rightly been the place to stay in Lamu for the last decade as it continues to provide great levels of service in beautiful surroundings. The town of Shela is less touristy and crowded than the main town of Lamu and is great to have a wander around of an afternoon. We would say that it is a great place to be based for a couple of nights while exploring nearby Lamu, while, for some, it can also double as a good beach break. This is truly a great hotel and will long remain a firm favourite with us!
With its conservation credentials such as using solar paneling to heat water, the lodge ticks quite a few boxes in our view. Mary Jo and Louis are charming hosts and regale many an interesting tale about their years spent in Africa and the areas they have seen. With rooms larger than plenty of London flats, the feel inside is of an airy and calm space and are perfect to relax and forget about the rest of the world. The main issue that they have is a lack of pool, but, with good swimming year round in either the sea or the nearby channel this is not a huge issue. At the price it is offered, this really is a bargain and, as such, will be difficult to get into. A perfect combination with a stay in the nearby Shela village.
Kizingoni Kabanas offer complete tranquility and seclusion, whose ethos is barefoot luxury. The kabanas are very accomodating and comfortable, but maybe lack the finnesse of some other possible luxury Indian Ocean retreats. Saying that though, it is still luxurious - not due to it's decor and flamboyant additions, but due to it's amazing beach and complete privacy.
If you have been looking on this web site for which of the beach lodges we think is the best….you may have just found it! With its relaxed feel and spacious rooms, Kiwayu is definitely up there with the best beach lodges in Africa. This region is such an untouched paradise that the World Wildlife Fund has a post here to study the turtle that are to be frequently found flapping their way up the beaches at night (best season being April to September and December to February).