- Private Houses
- Fantastic Location
- Swahili architecture
- Shela Village
The Full Moon Houses are a collection of privately owned homes primarily set in a fantastic location in the heart of Shela Village. Each house is unique and elegantly decorated in a very evocative Swahili style.
Several (but not all of the properties) have private or shared pools and likewise for sea views. For families, Kiwandini House and Full Moon are lovely three bedroom houses set either end of an elegant shared pool. Mama Daktari (2 br + sea views from bedroom), whilst Betty’s Suite (1br + private pool + sea front) is perfect for couples.
Each house comes with a cook and a room steward / waiter. As with most private house rentals in Lamu, guests can select their meals from a guideline menu. Your cook will do all food errands (buying fresh ingredients locally each day) and will prepare all meals to your choice. Meals are usually served in a private dining area or on a terrace. Food ingredients and drinks are charged at cost and recorded in a book of accounts payable locally.
Lamu is a beautiful sleepy idyllic archipelago on the Northern Kenyan Coast with pristine beaches, strong Swahili aesthetic and cultural identity. Lamu Town itself is a bustling UNESCO World Heritage town and well worth a visit, but Shela Village, Manda Island or remote beach locations are the best places to stay. Shela Village boasts the iconic Peponi Hotel and restaurant, several guesthouses and a number of stunning private staffed houses available to rent. It is a small village with no cars and frontage to a small (relatively) busy channel beach. Most choose not to swim off the beach in Shela itself due to the frequent coming and going of dhows and small craft, but you only need to walk 5-10 minutes along the beach to find a pristine spot. There is also a lovely beach just across the channel on Manda Island. Day trips to Lamu Town, Dhow sailing, snorkelling and visits to old ruins in the area can all be easily arranged through most accommodation options. One advantage of Lamu over the Southern Kenya Coast around Diani Beach etc. is that there are far fewer beach boys, meaning you can relax on a beach with very little hassle.
For families, renting a private house with staff is a compelling option on the Coast and offers good value compared to hotel options. Whilst those looking for resort style amenities would be better served in the Diani Beach area, we feel Lamu is far better suited to those who like a bit of character and culture in addition to idyllic beaches.
The holiday was amazing! Everything we wanted it to be! The safari was so we'll organized and our guide was very good. All the accommodation was superb. At the Masaai village we stayed in a mud hut which was different to the tent described in the itinerary, but so much better.
Pinewoods resort was lovely especially the staff who couldn't have looked after us any better. The food was exceptional.
pauline hasted reviewing Maasai Family Adventure on 21 October 2015
Accommodation and food at Karen Rock House were good. It was very quiet there as we were the only guests. Our transport, guide (Elijah) and driver (Oliver) were excellent. Elijah was very informative and patiently answered our questions about everything we saw. Our first day was very full, a long drive to Hell’s Gate, bike ride and gorge walk. Elijah suggested that we postpone the boat trip on Lake Navaisha to the morning we left Nakuru rather doing it on the way and this worked well. On the bike ride, our youngest struggled with an adult sized bike with bald tyres. Fine for us and our eldest though. The gorge walk was great as was the boat trip on Lake Navaisha.
Lake Nakuru Lodge accommodation, food and setting was excellent - as were the game drives with Oliver and Elijah. We saw a lot more here and close up than we did in Ol Kinyei and the Masai Mara.
Maji Moto Camp was an interesting experience. Again, we were the only visitors and the facilities & food were good. We visited the school before travelling to the Mara Adventure Camp but could have spent longer as there was a lot to see and our children enjoyed playing football etc with the school children.
The Adventure Camp was brilliant. We had a packed schedule of game drives (up at 5.30 every morning) and George and Wilson (guide and driver) were a lot of fun. They played football with us and were very entertaining on bush walks and game drives. We felt all the staff at the Adventure Camp worked really hard to make the experience an enjoyable one - from preparing the food, supplying endless hot water and tea and making sure we got to see what we wanted. The Ol Kinyei conservancy is beautiful (although we saw more at Lake Nakuru).
Our itinerary was good - it was busy and varied which suited us very well. We felt a bit rushed on Day 1 - in hindsight, it really was too much for one day. The day we travelled to the Masai Adventure Camp was also time pressured and we had a to cut short our visit to the school.
Overall, 5/5 - an unforgettable experience.
Tim Sheppard reviewing Maasai Family Adventure on 11 November 2014
If you’re looking for a more personal experience of Kenya, something a little different from the standard safari and beach package holidays, then you should definitely speak to Tourdust!
We decided to have a family holiday with our two teenage boys in Kenya in 2014, a decision that turned out to be far from straight-forward as the FCO extended their no-essential travel guidance area by area in the months leading up to our holiday. After researching the travel companies specialising in Kenya , we chose Tourdust to organise our holiday, partly based on their highly informative website but mainly based on a conversation with Ben, who within a matter of minutes clearly understood what we were looking for.
Ben’s recommendation of the Laikipia Wilderness Camp, followed by the Sosian Ranch and then the Msambweni Beach House was absolutely perfect for us. Everywhere we went the experience was personalised, the service was outstanding and the quality of facilities was second to none. Yes, we did safari drives to see the fantastic range of wildlife in the area, but we also swam in the rivers, rode camels, went on game walks and ate delicious meals cooked on an open camp fire before sleeping out under the endless African skies listening to the lions roaring! Then a flight down to the coast and we relaxed in the luxury of the a villa overlooking the Indian Ocean, with massages on the beach, personal staff on hand and nothing too much trouble.
We knew that we didn’t want a standard package safari and beach holiday but what we got was beyond all our expectations – a truly personal, family experience of Kenya that we will remember forever!
Joanna Heard reviewing Best of Kenya Family Safari on 07 October 2014