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The East African : Mar 9th 2015
The EastAfrican X MAGAZINE MARCH 7-13,2015 cove≥ sto≥y Peponi Hotel and Restau≥ant To the south of Lamu Island, and a brisk 30 minute walk from Lamu town, lies the village of Shela. It is completely different in character from Kizingoni in the north and Lamu town. It marries the charm of an old Swahili town with a modern tourist resort. Within limits, of course. Here there are no jet skis and raucous gatherings. The underlying ethos here is class. Previously a backpackers’ haven, Shela is now the stomping ground of European royalty, established writers, movie stars, the occasional rock legend, international journalists and the discerning world traveller looking for a retreat from the rigours of today’s world. And Peponi Hotel and Restaurant is where everyone meets when the sun goes down. Run by the Korschen family since 1967, the hotel has 24 individually designed rooms, all with magnificent ocean views. Peponi is built at the edge of Shela village, right where the 13km beach starts. A variety of activities are offered including dhow trips, sailing, snorkeling and deep sea diving. Seafood is celebrated in all its glory at Peponi’s. This cosy hotel, full of character and redolent with the memories of all the colourful characters who have partaken of its hospitality is truly the heartbeat of Shela. Ga≥den House A little further into Shela village and flanked by giant dunes on one side, is a most unexpected gem: Garden House. One in a quartet of holiday homes run by Shela House Management, Garden House defies the conventional coastal holiday home. Stepping into the walled compound, the relative bustle (if it can be thus termed) fades away and one cannot help but tthink of the 1910 classic “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Sleeping six in two double rooms and a twin room, the house would be the preferred holiday home for a family wanting privacy and planning their own meals away from hotels. The house is rented on selfcatering basis and comes staffed with an experienced cook, waiter and room steward. An open terrace and sun-beds provide a tranquil space in which to relax after a swim in the ocean (a twominute walk) or an exploratory walk in the village. Screened by neem trees, and practically in a world of its own, Garden House is the veritable oasis of Shela. Above: Peponi Hotel and Restaurant in Lamu. Below: Tourists on a game drive at the Maasai Mara. Pictures: Kalume Kazungu and File Nge≥ede Island Lodge Ngerende Island Lodge, located in the Ol Choro Conservancy, borders the Maasai Mara National Reserve. The lodge has its own airstrip and is approximately only an hour’s flight from Nairobi. The airstrip also serves scheduled flights to Mombasa and Malindi. Seven luxury suites offer guests a choice of a lake or river view. The lodge also offers wedding and honeymoon packages. With a well-deserved reputation for fine dining, this lodge in the wild offers up all the ingredients of a memorable Easter weekend. Banana House As you read this, Lamu will just have completed its second yoga festival but yoga classes are ongoing throughout the year in Banana House and this Easter might be the time to get an introduction to this life-changing practice. Massages are also part of the wellness programme here. Banana House itself is a small hotel set in Shela village and close to the waterfront. It has 16 rooms divided over three houses. A classic bed and breakfast (B&B) furnished in traditional Swahili style, Banana House has a swimming pool set in a lush tropical garden. Lunch and dinner are prepared on request. For an Easter with a difference, challenge the norm of rest and relaxation and book yourself into Banana House. Mahali Mzu≥i The Maasai Mara occupies pride of place as Kenya’s biggest tourist attraction outside the coast. Certainly a sojourn in this world-famous game reserve is de rigeur in any traveller’s journal. Beyond the dictates of fashion, however, the Mara remains one of the most iconic places on the planet. Sir Richard Branson is best known as the somewhat unconventional founder of the Virgin Group, and recenly also became a player in the Kenyan tourism market with his Mahali Mzuri. This is a 12-tented luxury safari camp located within the Olare Motorogi Conservancy in the Maasai Mara, right in the path of the wildebeest migration. The camp boasts a 12-metre infinity pool with a sunbathing deck. There is a spa room which offers the bynow famous Africology treatments. Guided bush walks and twice daily game drives bring you up close with African wildlife. This is a top-notch safari camp, unmatched in luxury and comfort. Prepare yourself for an Easter like no other.
Mar 1st 2015
Mar 16th 2015