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Come to Mkoko House for slow living coastal style... enjoy the beaches, the warm coastal hospitality, the delicious cuisine, and the peaceful and quiet surroundings of the House. Fully indulge in everything the archipelago has to offer and you will be sure to fall in love with this little gem!
Mkoko House is situated on Manda Island, part of the Lamu Archipelago, off the North Coast of Kenya. It is directly opposite Lamu Island and faces Shela village (on Lamu Island) which is just across the channel.
Mkoko House is situated on the edge of the mangroves in a quiet and peaceful setting on Manda Island. The house built on nearly one acre of land set 5 minutes walk from Manda beach was built in a characteristic Lamu coastal style that allow for breezes to travel freely around the house uninterrupted by windows or doors.
Although the house is open in style, each bedroom has a door with a lock and shutters which can be closed to ensure the safety of your personal belongings. There are three en-suite double bedrooms with mosquito nets draped over the beds and fixed ontothe shutters to keep the mosquitoes and other annoyances at bay.
As you walk towards the house you are greeted by an outside baraza (seating area) on your right which is shaded by a ceiling of crawling plants. The entrance of the house is a simple but large arch which carries you into the ground floor dining area. To the right is the first en-suite double bedroom (Nyota -Stars- room) and to the left is a living area with a baraza covered in cushions and pillows to relax on. Off this living area, you will find the second en-suite double bedroom (Mbuyu- Baobab- room) with a terrace looking onto the back garden. The kitchen, also on the ground floor, is fully equipped and opens onto an outside cooking area which can also be used for preparing meals.
The stairs take you up onto a large open floor (walls built only to one's hip) with views of the mangroves and the garden. The entire floor is covered by a large Makuti roof (the single most common characteristic of coastal architecture). This open floor is the main living area of the house. There are hammocks, seating corners, a Lamu bed to nap on, and another dining table to enjoy your meals with the splendid views. There is also a separate bathroom off this room for anyone who wishes to sleep in this room.
Situated on this floor is the third and largest en-suite bedroom (Mkoko- Mangrove- room) which one enters through a carved wooden antique Lamu door. Outside the room, one finds another baraza with cushions. This particular area is roofless and so is a perfect place to sit and enjoy the incredible Manda night skies filled with stars.
A second flight of stairs will take you up into the Makuti roof to the final floor - another open floor with hammocks, mattresses, and cushions organised exclusively for relaxation. This floor offers the best views in the house and allows one to look across the island's extensive mangrove ecosystem, the sea, and the plains of acacia and baobab trees.
Eco-Friendly Water and Electricity - As there is no fresh water and electricity on the island, the house has a large tank to collect rainwater during the rainy season that is then used in the house for all purposes allowing one to take showers as normal. Electricity is provided by 2 solar panels installed on the Makuti roof.
There are two main beaches in the vicinity of the house. Manda beach is a 7 minute walk from the house. It is a long, quiet beach with calm waters ideal for chilled out swimming sessions, and lazy afternoons basking in the sun. Shela Beach starts at the edge of Shela village and stretches for 14 kilometres with plenty of isolated spots of if you're looking to escape from the world. (Shela beach and Shela village are a5 minute boat ride across the channel). With their white sands and blue waters, both Shela and Manda beach are ideal paradise spots. (See pictures in our photo gallery).
A dhow trip is a must during your stay on Manda and Lamu. Trips either exploring the archipelago, or down through the mangroves on Manda, or even trips with an over-night camping stop on one of the smaller islands are all possible. Trips and subsequently their price vary depending on their length and where you fancy going. There are plenty of boat captains in both Shela village and Lamu town waiting for you to say the word, but remember to shop around to ensure you get the best price.
Takwa (located on Manda Island) was a flourishing town in the 16th and 17th century but was abandoned by its inhabitants. Many say that once water on the island ran out, the villagers left and built Shela village on Lamu Island. Today Shela residents believe they are the descendents of those who lived in Takwa. The ruins of the town are impressive as you can see remnants of houses, the mosque, the city wall, and a pillar tomb. The Jamaa mosque is the largest surviving structure in the town. You can easily reach Takwa by taking a dhow from Manda beach where you will sail through the mangroves, followed by a short walk further inland to the ruins.
Flights to Lamu are available from both Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Wilson Airport (both in Nairobi). Flight prices vary depending on the season. It is therefore advised to book in advance to ensure low costs and availability. There are about 3 daily flights to Lamu/Manda from Nairobi - most with a short stop in Malindi. The companies flying there include Air Kenya, Safarilink and Fly 540.
Alternatively if seeking a bit of rough and adventurous travelling, many bus operators travel daily between Lamu and Mombasa stopping in towns such as Malindi along the way. This option is very cheap, but one would be advised to check the security of the road at the time of travel.
There are no cars on either Lamu or Manda Island leaving donkeys and boats as the main form of transportation by locals and tourists alike. From Manda Beach it takes 5 minutes or less to travel across the channel to Shela village and beach, 15 minutes to Lamu Old Town and 20 minutes to Lamu Airport which is located on the other end of Manda Island and is also reached by boat. You can hire a boat with a captain for the duration of your stay or use a boat for individual trips when you need to. Boat trips (and Dhow trips) can easily be arranged from Mkoko House on request.
Mkoko House(Rates are per unit per night)
|Single Occupancy:||€40 per night|
|Double Occupancy:||€70 per night|
(Sleeps 8 Max)
|€200 per night|
|(Rates doesn't include breakfast)|
Rates during the peak season (15 December-15 January) are available on request.
This includes a housekeeper who cleans the house on a daily basis, changes sheets and towels, and attends to the garden. A cook is also available so you can enjoy an array of meals cooked to your personal taste. A variety of seafood is available (fish, crabs, prawns, lobster, octopus, etc) depending on the season. Airport pick-up and drop-off can be arranged on request and cost usually less than 10 euro/boat.
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