Like Goa, Lamu was among the heartlands of the hippies in the sixties, representing their dreams of freedom and of a modest and uncomplicated life.
The fishing village of Shela with its 1200 inhabitants, located at four kilometres southeast of Lamu Town, within a walking distance of 45 min and can be reached by boat in 15 min. During the first decades of the 20th century, there where only a couple of stone houses in Lamu, apart from the clay huts of the fishermen and the old mosque, which dates from the 17th century.
In 1930, the English governor had built a colonnaded villa, which faced the beachfront and thus changed Shela’s skyline. In 1967 the house became the legendary Peponi Hotel, Shela’s unchallenged landmark and society hub until today. A unique crowd of locals, expats and visitors meet at the Peponi terrace every day for their sundowners. Here it is nearly impossible not to make friends and become part of the bright Shela community.
Explore Shela along its placid alleyways with their houses surrounded by palm trees and bougainvillea and forget the world beyond. In the morning, the fishermen will bring their night’s catch to your door: crab, prawn, red snapper. Don’t miss to relax under your shady makuti roof. This is the perfect place for daydreaming. At dawn, life comes back to the main alley with its modest restaurants, shops and guesthouses. The spicy smell of the charcoal grill, where the women of Shela roast the fish, mingles with the scent of the jasmine flowers.
Cruise on the beachside past old mansions and tropical gardens until you reach the dune landscape just outside Shela. Enjoy the unparalleled luxury to walk past gently shelving white sands or swim with dolphins and turtles in the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. Easy beach life is a daily need, together with water skiing or even surfing. If you wish our staff will deliver your picnic to the beach.
At Peponi Beach, the gathering of Mozambique dhows with their low superstructure and their elegance will inevitably catch your attention. Drifting through the mangroves in these wonderful dhows is an amazing way to experience the surroundings of the Lamu archipelago. The coral reefs are perfect for snorkelling and diving. The captains are skilled sailors, full of the typical disarming Swahili heartiness.
Make it a perfect day by cruising Manda beach at sunset – candle light dinner included, watching the moon rise. Or meander around the narrow waterways full of mangroves on your way to the magnificent Twaka remains on Manda Island. Make sure you have the time for a daytrip to Kipungani, an unostentatious town that harbours two ecological resorts and has a gorgeous beach. There is great fishing from well equipped flying bridge boats. You’ll find black, blue and striped marlin, sailfish, barracuda, yellow fin, broadbill and many more.
Whatever you decide to make of your holiday - here in this magical place you’ll definitely get the spirit of Lamu!