Mike’s Camp Kiwayu may well be one of Lamu Archipelago’s best kept secrets. As is customary with the Island, I arrived at Manda Airport and proceeded to walk the three-minute distance to the jetty where the camp had a speedboat waiting for me. I hopped onto the brightly coloured blue boat and for the next hour or so, we sped off North to a remote little Island where I was to get lost away in for the next couple of weeks. The very definition of paradise! The island is also easily accessible by small private planes.
The camp has about eight private sea-facing bandas suitable for honeymooners, families, friends or individuals. Given the large open windows all around the bandas, imagine relaxing in your room while watching different birds flutter by, staying up late to watch the stars light up the night sky or rolling over in the morning to catch the first hint of sunrise over the Indian ocean- right from the comfort of your bed. If you like you can curl up with a good book (from the camp’s little library) on a hammock while feeling the ocean’s breeze gently caress your skin, or have a glass of wine from your front porch while watching monkeys swing from tree to tree. No, they are not the cheeky types that will rummage through your items while you are out! Each banda is eco-friendly, all weaved and thatched from palm trees. The camp is powered by wind and solar energy and water is brought to the rooms daily from a well by donkeys. The shower for instance is simply a bucket with a shower head plugged at the bottom. This is hoisted up by rope and can be pulled down at any time for a refill. Heating is thereby only done by the sun!
Chef Daniel’s menu is vibrant and filled with a fresh array of fish and vegetables. You will savour tuna, crab, kingfish, wahoo and more, sometimes caught by the guests only a few hours before, and often prepared in a myriad of ways. All guests get to eat together which makes for the most interesting of conversations. Mike himself will regale you with tales of everything from the planet to flying and his past adventure-filled life. A romantic candle-lit dinner under the stars can also be arranged in your banda upon request. Drinks from the Sunset Bar while listening to music (either your own or from Mike’s eclectic collection of almost 2000 songs!) and enjoying panoramic views of the ocean as the boats sail by is a great way to end the day. The signature house dawa cocktail is highly recommended.
The island is certainly not short of activities to take up. On one side are dense mangrove forests which I got to wade through on the hunt for crabs. I actually caught two which ended up on our plates at lunch time later that day! Every other morning I would go snorkelling over the coral reefs or kayaking, but one of my favourite things to do was to go far out into the water on a boat and then jump out and swim back to shore. On the other side of the island lies seven miles of pristine white sand offset by the bluest of clear waters, and you can take strolls along this without ever bumping into a single soul. If the winds are good, explore it by blokart (sand yart). There were two guests on the camp who were really into deep sea fishing and their enthusiasm somewhat rubbed off on me hence I got to join in on one occasion. There was also a commercial diver who came to explore what our waters had to offer. We even had a fishing competition going on hence a full house and that was quite fun!
Simply put, you can enjoy a variety of watersports from the island seeing as its natural beauty has been preserved by the Kenya Wildlife Service who declared the surrounding 250 square miles a national marine reserve in 1979 hence it protects sea turtles, dolphins, whales, dugog and other fish. Since it is nestled among trees on top of sand dunes, it serves as a fantastic haven for other activities like bird watching. If you are keen on cultural visits, you will find two small villages on either side of the island. Either way, whether you’re keen on an action packed holiday or a relaxing getaway, Mike’s Camp is certainly a place worth checking out.
For reservations and general enquiries, email me on email@example.com. I look forward to hearing from you and hope you will enjoy the camp when you eventually get there!