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June 15, 2009

Lamu: Kenya's Enchanted Island

http://concierge.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341c5a2653ef0115702010a6970c-pi
The main tower of the Lamu Fort.
Photo: Aluka Digital Library on Flickr
using Creative Commons

by Ondine Cohane

I just got an e-mail from Rizzoli about a new coffee table book that the publishing house will release this October, Lamu: Kenya's Enchanted Island. It got me thinking about my honeymoon, which I spent on the island, one of seven in an archipelago off the coast of Kenya. 

A beautiful beach destination in a country much more famous for its safaris, Lamu feels like a secret hideaway. The island has a stone town dating back to the fourteenth century, wide pristine stretches of sand, and gorgeous diving conditions (parrot fish, trumpet fish, and red and yellow snapper among the sightings). The only way you can get around the place is by donkey or dhow; cars are prohibited. It is one of those places where you can truly tune out the rest of the world while immersing yourself in a rich culture and history.

On my honeymoon, I was impressed by the quality and breadth of hotel choices on Lamu. In Shela, there's the legendary Peponi and the lovely Fatuma's Tower, and farther afield on the island of Kiwayu, the hippie-chic Munira Island Camp and the luxe Kiwayu Safari Village. I wonder how things have changed since then. Turns out Sophy Roberts, a friend and fellow journalist, recently wrote a piece about Lamu for the Financial Times' weekend section. I have to confess that I'm jealous she was there so recently.

I would go back to Lamu in a heartbeat.

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