Lamu, Lamu and the coast, Kenya
based on 7 nights
per person for 7 nights based on 2 people sharing a thatched banda on a full board basis including transfers.
At a Glance
Kizingo is the ultimate 'no news, no shoes’ beach lodge
Simple but comfortable open fronted banda cottages
Explore the Lamu archipelago in a kayak
Between November and April take guided snorkeling trip and hopefully see the dolphins
Green turtles come up to the beach to lay their eggs between late October and June
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
The rainy season on the Kenyan Coast is generally May/June. So from July onward the weather is gradually getting hotter and dryer until March/April when it reaches the high 90's (over 40 degrees C). Christmas/New Year is generally considered the peak season and the weather is lovely then with constant sunshine and gentle off shore breezes. If you want clear seas for diving then make your trip after August/Sept.
Kizingo is a barefoot lodge full of style and character. The design is simple, the atmosphere informal and the hospitality unparalleled. Set on a remote tip of Lamu on the Northern coast of Kenya Kizingo offers uninterrupted ocean views.
Kizingo is a secluded and tranquil escape from the modern world. The lodge is situated at one end of a spectacular 12-kilometer beach stretching from Kizingo to the fashionable village of Shela. There are eight beautifully appointed thatched bandas (cottages), set well apart from each other, with unrivalled sea views.
Guests can be as private or as social as they wish, opting to enjoy fine dining on the balcony of their banda or join other guests in the bar and dining room with their magnificent views across the bay to mainland Kenya where giant baobab trees spread into the brilliant blue sky. Kizingo is owned and run by Mary Jo and Louis Van Aardt, both of whom were born in Kenya and couldn't be more welcoming hosts.
The swimming is excellent, both in the Indian Ocean and in the calm waters of the channel that separates Lamu from the mainland. For the more energetic there is a big choice of activities including a guided tour of historic Lamu Town, excellent snorkeling, deep sea fishing and cycle rides to the friendly African villages on the mainland. During the winter months there is often the chance to swim with dolphins. In fact Dolphining is rapidly becoming a recognised word in the English language, well certainly at Kizingo, where it is incorporated into daily life. Dolphining, otherwise known as swimming, entertaining and playing with wild groups of dolphins, quickly becomes an addictive pass-time.
From October to June green turtles come up to the beach to lay their eggs, sometimes quite near to Kizingo. The incubation period is 90 days and when the eggs hatch, the lodge staff take any interested guests to watch over the baby turtles as their find their way to the ocean, protecting them from crabs and birds.
Kizingo is strongly committed to conservation, ecologically sound practices and a symbiotic relationship with the local community. Kizingo was built using the knowledge and expertise of villagers to construct the bandas. Only locally produced materials were used such as mangrove poles, star palm leaves and coconut palms which all help the lodge blend into the landscape.
Hot water and most of the electricity used is provided by solar panels. Shower water and kitchen grey water is recycled to grow their plants and trees.
Kizingo has eight very spacious bandas with high-pitched thatched roofs and shaded balconies right on the beach. Each has a large double bed romantically draped with mosquito netting and comfortable chairs for lounging. Bamboo screens unfurl to give complete privacy. The en-suite bathroom is well appointed with a flushing toilet, hot water shower, wash basin and dressing area.
Large double bed in a private banda located right on the beach. Each room is en-suite with a shower and hot water.
The family bandas are very similar to the standard bandas but have a small additional room for children with twin beds.
Children of all ages are most welcome at Kizingo. However, there are no specific child care facilities but babysitting can easily be arranged. It is possible to tailor food requirements to children's tastes and arrange for earlier meat times if required. Lamu and the coast of Kenya is a wonderful place for a family vacation with calm safe waters, endless activities and plenty of cultural interaction.
The two expert chefs at Kizingo prepare delicious lunches and dinners in the restaurant overlooking the Indian Ocean using only the freshest local produce. Fish and seafood are the specialties, red snapper, crab and lobster, all served with locally-grown vegetables and salads. Ask the barman, Alex, to mix a Dawa using local fresh limes or a Lala Salama which guarantees a sound night’s sleep. There is no swimming pool at Kizingo - just the gloriously warm waters of the Indian Ocean.
If you don't want to just relax around camp there are a number of activities to keep you busy whilst staying at Kizingo including kayaking, snorkeling on coral reefs, swimming with dolphins, watching turtles and fishing - both in the mangrove channels for snapper and out on the ocean in a deep-sea fishing boat for tuna, sailfish or king fish. You can take a guided cycle ride or visit the fascinating historic town of Lamu. Of course not to be missed, is a gentle sunset dhow trip.
Camilla Smith (Staff)
Kizingo for me is heaven, but it is not for everyone. The bandas are simple thatched cottages beautifully positioned on a wonderfully remote stretch of beach. They are spacious and comfortable with little terrace areas perfect for sitting with a beer looking out to sea! It is completely unpretentious, wonderfully unspoiled and low key. Crabs may scuttle along the thatched floor of your room, but that is part of the whole Robinson Crusoe feel to it. The lodge is run by the fantastic hosts Mary Jo and Louis with their son Dion, they welcome you as part of the family and really do make the experience at Kizingo and will be sure to give you a good time.
If you are wanting somewhere to completely relax, not spend a fortune, eat delicious fresh seafood and get a real feel of Lamu and the laid back island, Kizingo is a great choice.
Waterskiing is brilliant in the area, particularly for the beginners it is a great place to learn in the quiet mangrove channels.
Location & directions
Lamu, Lamu and the coast, Kenya
Kizingo is situated two degrees south of the Equator on the island of Lamu off the coast of Kenya. The lodge is situated at one end of a spectacular 12-kilometer beach that stretches from Kizingo (which means 'the point’ in Swahili) to the fashionable village of Shela.
How to get there
8-hour 30-minute flight to Nairobi. There are three daily scheduled flights between Nairobi and Lamu. The flight takes between 1-hour 40-minutes and 2-hours, depending on the aircraft used. Ali will meet you at Manda Airport, help to collect and load your luggage on to the Kizingoni Beach trolley. You will trundle down towards the Manda jetty and your private speedboat. You will see Lamu town straight ahead of you, with Shela village off to the left. Kizingoni Beach is a 20-minute ride.