Skip to content

The quaint Peponi on Kenya’s historic island

October 3, 2009

By Dian Hasan | October 3, 2009

Peponi Hotel-Lamu Island-KENYA-2Peponi Hotel, a small family-run hotel on the unspoiled Swahili island of Lamu just off Kenya’s coast.

Sitting at the entrance of the Shela channel that runs between Manda and Lamu Islands, to the south of the hotel lies a 12km stretch of beach open to the full force of the Indian Ocean. Traditional Arab Dhow sail boats still ply the waters, as they have for hundreds of years. The sight of these boats leaving the harbor at dusk, with their sails’ silhouette against the sunset is simply magnificent. To the north is Lamu town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that sits in a time warp, where the streets are just wide enough for a fully laden donkey to pass, the perfect place to explore Swahili culture and the town’s rich history as a spice trade hub.

Peponi is simple, fresh, friendly and cheerful, distinguished with a reputation for delicious cuisine. Accommodation is in 24 rooms, a mix of standard and superior rooms all with a sea view. Optional activities include windsurfing, water-skiing, scuba diving & snorkelling, dhow trips & deep sea fishing.

Peponi is not only proud of its heritage as a long-standing quality lodging, but also for its pioneering efforts in conservation, long before it was fashionable.  The hotel started Lamu Marine Conservation Trust (LAMCOT) in 1992. The project began with the translocation of a turtle nest to the hotel grounds for protection. Since then the project has been growing every year and has now become an established trust. It has been managed by Carol Korschen of Peponi Hotel from the start. See the their LAMCOT Website and LAMCOT Blog.

Peponi Hotel-Lamu Island-KENYA-17Peponi Hotel-Lamu Island-KENYA-13Peponi Hotel-Lamu Island-KENYA-14Peponi Hotel-Lamu Island-KENYA-15Peponi Hotel-Lamu Island-KENYA-8Peponi Hotel-Lamu Island-KENYA-18Peponi Hotel-Lamu Island-KENYA-16

Lamu Island has a relaxed and sleepy atmosphere, making it a wonderful place to relax and make the most of the stunning scenery, sweeping beaches, rolling sand dunes and warm Indian Ocean. The ocean continues to play a vital role in the life and livelihood of Lamu, and traditional sailing dhows abound. A trip on one of these wooden boats offers a highly relaxing way to explore the area, travelling to neighbouring islands and fishing villages.

Snorkeling is excellent in the waters off Lamu and the surrounding archipelago, which teem with vibrant marine life. Diving is becoming increasingly popular here, and many superb sites remain relatively unexplored.

Peponi Hotel-Lamu Island-KENYA-5Peponi Hotel-Lamu Island-KENYA-1Peponi Hotel-Lamu Island-KENYA-4Peponi Hotel-Lamu Island-KENYA-2Peponi Hotel-Lamu Island-KENYA-3Peponi Hotel-Lamu Island-KENYA-6Peponi Hotel-Lamu Island-KENYA-7

Over a thousand years of East African, Omani, Yemeni, Indian, Portuguese and Victorian British influences have all left their mark on Lamu Island, in the architecture, the language and the very essence of the place. In bustling Lamu, winding alleys lead past the intricate carved doorways of white stone houses –some of which are truly majestic and still home to the very wealthy. And, because the alleys are too narrow to be negotiated by cars, the modern world has had little visible impact on this historic town.

Peponi Hotel-Lamu Island-KENYA-9Peponi Hotel-Lamu Island-KENYA-10Peponi Hotel-Lamu Island-KENYA-24Peponi Hotel-Lamu Island-KENYA-11Peponi Hotel-Lamu Island-KENYA-12

Life appears little changed since Lamu was a busy port town in the 14th century, donkeys remain the preferred local mode of transport, and the streets are lit by lanterns after nightfall. Spices and the smell of grilled food scent the air around the markets, mosques, museums, fort and ancient houses, and exploring Lamu on foot –or donkey –is a treat for all the sense Sitting at an open-air restaurant by the water and watching the world go by is an irresistible past-time. Fishermen haul their catches ashore, locals walk or ride by, donkeys carry their cargo. Shopping for local woodcarvings and batik is another ‘must’

Peponi Hotel-Lamu Island-KENYA-20Peponi Hotel-Lamu Island-KENYA-21Peponi Hotel-Lamu Island-KENYA-22Peponi Hotel-Lamu Island-KENYA-Turtle Conservation ProgrPeponi Hotel-Lamu Island-KENYA-23

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: