An island far for reality and as private as you would like, but still with great activities Barbara Kingstone October 20, 2020 Africa, Destinations, Islands, Kenya, South Pacific While we await a vaccine for this dreaded and dreadful virus, we should follow the dictates by wearing a mask, keeping the two meters distance and continue to dream about future and exotic destinations. In this e newsletter, I’ve written about a truly exotic Islands, to continue our series on island destinations. And I’ll give you enough thought to make the dream become a reality. That’s what dreams are made of. LAMU ISLAND, KENYA. Shhh. Don’t tell anyone about Lamu Island. It’s so beautiful, and although luxury hotels can be expensive, just think about waking up, stepping out onto a beach from your room. Lamu Island is part of an archipelago in the Indian Ocean off the Northwest coast of Kenya. It is also a UNESÇO World Heritage Site and is believed to be Kenya’s oldest and one of the first Swahili settlements. The island’s history is as astonishing as its beaches and built on coral with 26,000 easy-going population. Only since the 1970s have tourists discovered this 14th century island. It remains almost untouched by mass tourism…and when I was there, there was only one car and it belonged to the mayor. Donkeys are the referred means of transportation and this Islamic town’s picturesque narrow streets is add-on to its character. If you’re expecting a fast paced, hectic variety, this island is not for you. Tranquility is part of the charm. It’s this old world ambiance that appeals to most of the visitors. Seafront Local men wear full-length khabzus and Sofia caps while women are completely covered. The dress code is not for expats — and not expected for tourists. However wearing appropriate clothing is encouraged and that means covering the knees and shoulders. It is quietly acknowledged that Princess Caroline of Monaco and her friends have purchased homes on the sandy beaches of Shela Village…about three metres (1.8 miles) from Lamu Town, the main ‘busy’ centre. WHERE TO STAY If you seek luxury, there are lovely hotels. If privacy, safety, slow-paced and casual lifestyle suit you. Lamu Island is paradise found. Peponi Hotel is one hotel often mentioned with few 24 individual, chic, Swalhilli-decorated rooms, all with a view of the Indian Ocean. Each room is a perfect escape from the rest of the world. You just may want to sit in the public area and perhaps meet some interested, like-minded people or discuss the must-have drink and gossip while sipping the famed house cocktail, OLD PAL. Other rather chic hotels include Kizingo and Manda Hotels. I assuming much has changed since I was on Lamu Island so please check the Swahili available accommodations. PLAY 1.Snorkelling and scuba diving are expected activities so don’t bother packing the necessary gear. 2.The 14th century Pwani Mosque in Lamu Town is an example of the former prosperity of the area.3. Not to be missed is the excellent musuem filled with Swahili artifacts. 4.And do take a day trip to Manda Island and see the Takwa ruins, the remains of an ancient Swahili town. Take a water trip on a dhow to check out this archipelago’s main attractions and also get to see posh private island estates. And add another major exclusive, private small island to know about…..