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You are here: Home Kenya Lamu Island,Kenya Madakani House, Lamu

Madakani House, Lamu, Kenya

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As soon as you pass through the traditional daka or entrance porch into the kiwanda (courtyard) of Madakani House you feel the centuries of history. Every surface has interacted with the elements born on the sea and salted with time to create rich textures and colours.

Creepers spread tendrils through cracks in the coral plaster and the light filters through the translucent leaves of the lush garden plants. Everywhere you look something interesting and a little quirky grabs your attention with a hint of the same twinkle that you cant help but catch in Carla Serantoni's eye as she welcomes you into her home.

This Retreat probably represents the most traditional example of Swahili architecture in the portfolio. The ground floor of the house boasts sitting areas and the main dining room, plus a sleeping alcove or ngao which may be used as a day-bed or childrens' accommodation. The kitchen is off the courtyard as is the charming and secluded garden. There is a downstairs loo and shower and Arabic bath which have been restored to the traditional style (with plumbing added!).

At the top of a narrow staircase from the courtyard is the Coral Room, a single en suite bedroom traditionally thatched with coconut palm. A second door leads from this bedroom out onto the first floor verandah and the main sitting area of the house with another dining area suitable for breakfasts. Behind the living room is a dressing room and study off which lie the master bedroom and a large bathroom.

Another set of stairs takes you up to the family apartment, an enormous room containing two three quarter beds and a single four poster, quite large enough for two adults and a handful of children. There are verandah on two sides of this room and the louvred windows allow the breeze in from the sea. It is a charming room with its own bathroom on the landing.

A final stairway leads to the enormous roof terrace, with a view across the rooftops of Shela to the channel one way and the dunes the other. A wonderful space for long, lazy afternoons, informal Swahili dinner parties, and overflow bed space the roof terrace adds an extra dimension to this lovely house.

The chef will shop and cook for guests and you can have as much or as little to do with menu planning as you wish. Either take a break from thinking about groceries and meals or be inspired by the simple, subtle and delicious Swahili cuisine which mixes such tropical delights as coconut and tamarind with Asian infusions of coriander, lime and ginger.

Mix in seafood brought to the door straight from the dhow and you have some world class food at affordable prices.

A few minutes walk from Carla's door will lead you through the village, down to Peponi Hotel. Try if you can to not get sidetracked into the bar, or you may never make it to the beach! For those with a weak will it may be safer to avoid temptation altogether and head for the dunes behind Carla's house and once you have scaled these, drop down to the beach beyond the hotel.

The house offers room rates but is small enough and so economically priced that even a couple would easily afford to take the whole house and enjoy all its features. For a foursome or family it represents a perfect option, and because of the courtyard and garden also suits small kids.

As a honeymoon hideaway Madakani House has lots to offer whilst still being big enough to ensure privacy in the event that you have to bring the in-laws with you!

Madakani House Photos

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Feedback From Clients

Jim and Mary Miller


Dear Davies We have finally recovered completely from our wonderful trip! Ranger did a fabulous job, as you already know. Our guide was Bashir, and he was wonderful. Very professional, polite, well spoken and extremely knowledgeable! We did not understand that we were going to have an entire campsite to ourselves the first two days. It was a wonderful park and an wonderful experience. We were not crazy about Lake Manyara, but we loved the crater and the plains! The tented safari is the only way to go. It is wonderful to have animals walking in your camp, like they are members of the party We were able to see every animal, except the illusive Leopard, but we were not disappointed in the least. We had not come with a check list, but were t...

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