29 independent reviews for Kenya beach resort on Manda Island

Reviews for Kenya beach resort on Manda Island

SHOW
13
14
2
0
0

review 21 Oct 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Being in a very special part of Africa, with an amazing host.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

I would highly recommend the resort. It is very eco friendly with solar panels, bio soap and Rachel even collects rain water. The food is so fresh and an excellent standard of cuisine. It is very difficult to describe the sense of calm the place has, with one's own Banda ( coconut leaves cabin) with garden area with chairs and table and a double swinging chill out swing bed, allowing gentle amounts of the sun through. The whole place has a beautiful ambience and is quietly very efficient. I travelled alone and felt extremely comfortable and it was very safe and secure. It is beautifully situated in an unspoilt environment and there are a number of water based activities on offer too- paddle boarding, kite surfing, sunset dhow rides etc. The bar/ eating area allows amazing views of the beautiful sunsets through the acacia trees. One can also take a short boat ride and visit the lovely village of Shela and also take a tour of the interesting small town of Lamu. On the day I left there was a yoga class at 5, followed by the showing of a French movie... I was sad to leave and will certainly return. The staff were very kind as were all of the other locals I met. Highly recommended.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes the owner of the resort is very eco friendly and encourages everyone to support this initiative. She employs many local people and some have worked for her for more than 12 years.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Absolutely brilliant Rachel was a perfect host and I will return.

review 18 Sep 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

So many to choose from! The resort is honestly paradise- especially for honeymooners. I have to say that every single day brought its own excitements and pleasures. We stayed in the treehouse which was out of this world and waking up every morning to the sound of exotic birds singing outside was magical. The food was so incredible there- breakfast, lunch and dinner every day was exceptional. We loved being able to go for long walks along the beach every day and go swimming accompanied by Obama and Bob - the two resident dogs! Saleem made the best cocktails I have ever had and all the staff there really added to the wonderful overall experience - the most lovely people you could ever meet. It really was a home from home there. We also got to go out on excursions and experience sailing in a real dhow on the Indian Ocean at sunset- unforgettable.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Just be prepared to honestly enjoy the place. As hard as it is to actually leave the resort - do take a short trip to see Lamu and Shela which are incredible places. Pack light! - take light comfortable clothes- like linen shorts/ trousers and light t-shirts. The lights are all switched off at 10pm and although you are provided with a paraffin lamp and torch it might be a good idea to bring along an extra reading torch. However- I am not naturally a good sleeper but I have never slept so well as I did there- I was fast asleep by 10:30 when all the lights went out - as soon as my head hit the pillow. Also- bring plenty of insect repellent spray- I think Deet is the best one. Rachael has got lots of books in the library for people - I took great advantage of this!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Without a doubt- it was clear that the local people who worked there also felt like it was their 'home' and took real pride in the place. We were even given our own basket to take into Lamu for any shopping so we didn't bring back plastic bags - I though this was a fab idea.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was just incredible - I honestly, honestly mean that and I can be very hard to please! I will never forget it and have come home feeling more rested and content than I have ever been before. It was the best start to married life for us we could have possibly had. 'Thank you' feels inadequate ... If you are thinking about going here I would safely say- please do not hesitate - you won't regret it and will have some of the best experiences and memories of your life.

review 30 Oct 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

It was all memorable. We pretty much had the whole island to ourselves, total tranquility and relaxation. Rachael and the staff made the whole holiday unforgettable.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Don't take too many clothes, you really don't need them. For all girls out there, be prepared not to dry your hair with a hairdryer or wear any make up, au-naturele is all that is required. Also take plenty of mosquito spray and sun cream, we went at the end of October and it was boiling.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Absolutely! Rachael has done a great job in ensuring that the accommodation fits completely into the natural environment and has limited environmental impact.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

10 out of 10. We have come back feeling completely relaxed. The food was excellent and there was a good choice of drinks. The addition of a pizza oven is inspired.

review 10 Jan 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Our trip to mandatoto - a full day out on a dhow with six other guests and three sailors - a great day full of humour, with fantastic snorkelling and brilliant food (they caught a barracuda, marinated it and cooked it over charcoal on the boat) memorable! The staff were universally fantastic, food excellent.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

It takes a long time to get to Manda from the UK, so be prepared, but remember it is worth it. Ask for a banda away from the generator - it is only on from 6-10/11, but being close to the noise means you don't want to go back to your room in the evening. Pack very light - you just don't need stuff in this environment. Nights are as hot as the days - or so it seems at times, so asking for your bed to be put outside under the stars and the mosquito net, is the best way to get a good night's sleep. But ear plugs will be required to protect you from the cocks, donkeys and the dawn chorus.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Definitely! The local community clearly valued the owners and their contribution enormously. As a result the welcome and help offered by every one of the staff was fantastic. a very close and apparently content community. Certainly minimized impacts on the environment - limited electricity and water use (so don't expect luxury), very local produce (brought up by fishermen from the beach each day).

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was great, very relaxing, good food and good company.

review 17 Oct 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Rachael's ecovillage is an amazing place to stay. It is beautiful, restful. The accommodation was exceptional. We (a family of 5) stayed in the Baobab treehouse. Absolutely unique. Rachael made us feel welcome from the moment we stepped off the boat that had collected us from the airstrip at Manda. We could have cocktails overlooking the Indian Ocean. The restaurant at the beach served an impressive menu using local foods. The staff were lovely. There was a personal touch everywhere.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

If you want a restful break, away from the hustle and bustle of the cities, you can't go wrong by coming here.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Absolutely! The resort wasn't on a National Grid. They had their own generator. Water came from the local desalination plant on the island. Staff were local. Rachael makes sure to run her resort making as little impact on the planet as possible.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

No hesitation whatsoever in recommending this little unknown pearl in the Indian Ocean. For a stress free break, you won't find anything better. If it's the night life you want, you'd do better going to Lamu town, but that's only a boat-ride away.

review 24 Aug 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

This beach resort provided a wonderful haven of tranquillity at the end of our holiday. After 3 weeks travelling around, it could not have been a more perfect destination. We stayed one week, but wished it had been for longer. Amazing location, great accommodation, superb service & divine food. Rachel does an incredible job there.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Visit this beach resort, stay a long time, relax, enjoy the food, drink a cocktail.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

10 out of 10.

review 29 Mar 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

We thoroughly enjoyed this holiday and it would be difficult to single out one part of it. The setting is amazing Ė white sand, warm sea, local fishermen Ė and an idyllic slow pace of life. The resort added to this with really comfortable bandas, superb local food and such friendly and helpful staff which all resulted in a holiday well beyond expectations. There were plenty of opportunities to relax on the beach (no beach hassle at all), cross to Lamu to explore the culture this friendly old town or to take dhow trips around the islands.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Like other reviewers, suggest you travel light Ė beach clothes and sun cream.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, the locally recruited staffs were fantastic and worked together like one large family. Conserving resources is clearly important for Rachel and Helen who run the beach resort and this is done without inconvenience or detriment to a great holiday experience.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

If you want to escape from the tensions and pace of modern life then this is the holiday for you. Top marks! We would not hesitate to recommend the resort.

review 20 Mar 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Swimming at night in warm phosphorescent sea looking up at the stars. Or maybe it was the home made pitta breads!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Go and enjoy.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

You don't have to be at the resort for long to begin to realise they are part of the community. They are a success because they are supported by the rest of the community and in turn many local people benefit out of their success. The development if you can call it that is so sensitive to the island that most of the construction materials are local, sand, palm, mud, twigs, shells, coral and drift wood. The place is truly amazing.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

This unique holiday had everything we wanted. Simple easygoing down to earth charm. Iím sure there are many 5 star holiday destinations that struggle to recreate the authentic atmosphere that the resort has naturally. The fantastic team works hard to make your stay a friendly, comfortable and idyllic experience. The facilities are basic, but all you need. What you would expect from a low impact development. The attention to detail by the staff makes your stay feel a luxurious experience. Afternoon tea on the top floor of the tree house is highly recommended. We have to give a special mention to the Chef and the great meals we had. Every one a winner! Now we have found this place we intend to return for longer next time. In our opinion African Tourism at its best.

review 29 Jan 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Our week was so relaxing and visually stunning that its hard to pick out a single element for praise... imagine a white sand beach with a clear warm sea just yards from your 'banda', beautifully prepared meals - often fish that you have seen being brought out of the 'dhow' and up the beach by the fisherman; seats in the shade, some of them 'swings' - to catch up on reading or chat to your fellow guests; a bottle of 'Tusker' or a glass of wine while watching a gorgeous sunset while the campfire is lit at dusk ... and of course you can get away for an hour or two on a 'sunset sail' on a dhow, zip across to Lamu town (the oldest on East Africa coast), or sail further a field... all arranged by Rachael and her team.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Don't pack too much! You really only need swimsuit, shorts, cotton tops/shirts and cool trousers for evening - though you should be able to cover shoulders and legs if visiting Lamu. There's an excellent 'library' so don't weigh yourself down too much with books bought at the airport, as I did - although Rachael does appreciate new additions to the collection!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes! The staff are recruited locally and treated with respect by their employer, which is, in turn, reciprocated. The accommodation is traditional 'bandas', built and kept up by local staff. The desalinated water is from a local plant, the electric generator is switched on for a few hours in the evening and I believe solar power is being contemplated. Visitors are encouraged to keep waste to a minimum and what can be is burnt. The food is locally sourced, with fish coming from the sea immediately in front of the site.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

This was probably the best 'beach holiday' we have had and certainly one of the most relaxing and rejuvenating - thank you again, Rachael and 'the team'.

review 8 Sep 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Living in a treehouse! Seeing the resort get ready for the new season (we were the only guests staying at the start of the season). The always smiling team who always were happy to do what they could to make your holiday more enjoyable. Long chats with Rachael about the world, tucked under the palm or around the campfire with our chilled white wine or G and T's. The fantastic dhow trip we made where the guys sang and entertained us - people on other dhows were jealous of our fantastic singing crew!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be prepared for the strong "kusi" winds in July which rattle around the tree some nights at the start of the season (we went early July 2009)! and the changeable weather at this time of year. You can have bright sunshine then torrential rain so you can get sand blasted on the beach - quite painful!! There are sand flies that give quite painful bites so cover up and use repellent at dusk. You may even need a light jumper or fleece at this time of year although it is still wonderful. This is not barefoot luxury. It is barefoot and chilled.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Definitely benefits local people. This is a low-impact resort with bandas made from local material, the fantastic treehouse and a team of locals who obviously love working here. It is clear that the management style here is a key feature of the success of the resort. Rachael treats all the staff with respect and the love and respect that she gets in return is pretty amazing. Rachael would text in her food orders to the market before she took the boat over to Lamu - so all produce sourced locally we know for sure and ready for her collection!!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

This is a fantastic place, very chilled, very low-key and low-impact. The food is just wonderful and I think well priced actually. Rachael is the kind of host you dream about - very friendly very chilled and with a great team that cares about the resort and making the customers happy. Rachael, I hope the season is going well - just one suggestion...could you put some locally made small mats by the sides of the beds in the treehouse?

Read the operator's response here:

Thanks Dee, mats are in the treehouse by the bed for your return!

review 18 Aug 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Early morning walks along the beach watching the dogs playing. Relaxing on the swing chairs in the library. The staff were wonderful and very helpful. Spent the days relaxing, reading and swimming.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

You don't need much. Bring a torch. Power from 6pm to 10pm. There is a library. But if you do bring your own consider leaving them to increase the library stock.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Locals work there. The huts are made of local materials, food sourced locally. Use of shower water to water plants.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

The holiday was very relaxing.

review 23 Mar 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Manda Bay. The feeling of solitude will stay with me, and gave me and my partner a great chance to spend some quality time together without harassment or the feeling we had to do a million things. It was a fantastic resort made thorough persona by the wonderful management and staff. Too many memories to list, luminescence, dolphins at sunset, dhow tripping, awesome food and PEACE and quiet!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Beware the sandflies! Make the most of the luminescence!!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, undoubtedly.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Great! We genuinely had a wonderful and hugely memorable time. There are a couple of points that I would pass onto the management 1. Raise your costs by £5p/d day and `include' a daily trip to Lamu / Shela....charging on a trip by trip basis doesn't feel good, especially when many others are travelling on the same boat for free. Also, paying for transfers from the airport wasn't something we appreciated given that we had little option and no warning. 2. The bed was shockingly uncomfortable, and probably shouldn't be in service at all. We are used to a little discomfort so made do, but can imagine others may object when paying these prices 3. Offer a smaller snack menu at lunchtime...in the heat we rarely wanted a full hot meal and would have preferred a `lite bite' I'm nit picking in all fairness, but constructive criticism goes a long way sometimes. Thanks once again to Rachel and Helen for a wonder time.

review 8 Dec 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Swimming in sea on our first night - it was as warm as a bath and the phosphorescence (I think that's how you spell it!) was amazing. We also went on one excursion - a fishing and reef trip on a wooden sailing boat. We were really well looked after and the fish lunch made on the boat as we explored a deserted island was the best meal of the whole trip!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

It's more luxurious than we were expecting, but do go prepared to accept that there is limited hot water, no air con and sometimes the they run out of ice for your drinks. Small prices to pay for a perfect location and ethical accommodation.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes. The huts are built in the local design out of local materials, they use rain water harvesting, recycled water for toilets, local food, the power shuts off when it's not needed... the list goes on. I really think they've thought this through and done what they can.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Perfection! We had the most wonderful time. It was a proper Robinson Crusoe experience with a deserted, perfect beach, beautiful and simple accommodation, super friendly and helpful staff, a real community feeling (but we were left alone when we wanted to be) and fantastic food (especially if you like seafood). The attention to detail was great with flowers left on our bed daily and fresh flowers in our little foot pool by the door. We can't recommend this place highly enough and we want to go back soon. All we would say is that you have to go with the understanding that this is an eco resort. Don't expect air conditioning, power showers and access to a hotel gym! What you will find is perfect relaxation, good company, great food and an experience like no other we've known.

review 28 Oct 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The whole holiday was very memorable. We were in the treehouse and this was the most amazing experience - having the tree trunks coming through the window! The staff and surroundings were fantastic, daily sunsets were unforgettable!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

A week is the perfect amount of time on Lamu, it gives you enough time to relax and chill out!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes - you could tell by the way the resort was constructed it was good for the environment. The staff and food were all local and this was great - it meant you got a real feel for the culture.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

10/10! Thank you Rachel - we had the most memorable honeymoon!

review 15 Oct 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The most wonderful location & staff in Lamu area. Isolated & quiet. White sand beach & great cook.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Do not stay the night in Lamu city. It is dirty & no beach. Itís nice for a day walk

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

The resort is eco friendly. Looks after the animals & the local staff.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was just what I was looking for. Relaxing, friendly, not very expensive, not to many people but also not boring.

review 23 Sep 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Everything was memorable about our stay. Staying in the treehouse for 5 nights, our family felt like Swiss Family Robinson. Seeing phosphorescence sparkling in the moonlight when the tide came up to the entrance of the village was magical. Eating beautiful dinners under clear star-filled skies was very relaxing. Visiting Lamu and stapping back through several centuries was an education.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

It's a super way to relax if you've already been on safari. However, if you go first, there is a danger that you will be too relaxed to actually leave! You should be aware that thre are no credit card facilities there, so you need to plan on either bringing enough cash to settle the bill or coordinate a boat-trip to Lamu and hope the electricity supply to the ATM is OK.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Absolutely. All local staff, either from Manda or Lamu. The carbon footprint must be minimal, since all building materials are local; the electricity generator is only run for a few hours daily; and yet it is far more relaxing than our western, convenience-driven lifestyle. It would be an interesting exercise to calculate the carbon footprint of guests while staying there. It must be very low. I wonder how many days must you stay for it to offset the flight from Nairobi?

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

The whole family (2 adults, 3 kids ages 15, 13, 11) agreed this was our best holiday ever. We really enjoyed the 5 nights at this property. It was very relaxing and made all the moreso by the friendly and hospital nature of all the staff, including Rachael. The property is not only supremely relaxing, but also treads very lightly upon the earth. I honestly felt great that my holiday was not causing the destruction of a previously unspoilt location. The buildings were all constructed from local materials in a vernacular style, energy consumption was extremely low and most food seemed to be of local origin. Stepping out the front gate one night into the seawater and seeing the phosphorescence was magical.

review 31 Oct 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Difficult to isolate - a joy throughout. The dhow trip to Manda Toto was probably the best break from routine (if you can call swimming, lying in a hammock reading, walking on the beach, enjoying great food and the excellent bar "routine") but this is not an activity holiday venue; the highlight is just being there and chilling out.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take fewer, cooler clothes (linen ideal); don't forget mosquito repellent and antihistamines (sand flies seemed undeterred by repellent). There is an excellent if small library; bring books you would leave behind for others. Snorkelling in the immediate vicinity is limited and the water not hugely clear (the silt in the channel between Manda and Lamu is incredibly fine) so if this is your thing, budget for a trip to Manda Toto or Kiwaiyu. This is one holiday where you won't look like a chav by wearing replica football kit - it's almost compulsory local garb.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Indubitably. Unfortunately Manda and Shela are proving attractive to Euro-celebs, minor Euro royalty etc. all recreating their own vision of the Costa del Sol (let's hope the credit crunch slows this down). By contrast, Rachael's property is an honest, sustainable project built with local materials and techniques, and her staff feels like one big happy family.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

10/ 10. The people are incredibly friendly, the setting is beautiful, the facilities basic, natural and comfortable, the view from the bar superb. Thanks to Rachael for a great holiday!

review 10 Jan 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Swimming and snorkelling with the children from the beach, and the really friendly Lamu people.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Dont forget sunscreen, and longs for the evening.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, it is a fairly low impact place.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very good, well organised, considering that they are on a desert island with no natural fresh water and every single thing has to be shipped in.

review 15 Aug 2007

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

This is the ultimate' away from it all ' rustic luxury very very friendly welcoming people, just one big family. Rachael Fieler is definitely a lady to be admired. It is a testimony to hard work and dedication. The best part for me will be going back to see my new friends very soon.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Do expect to get your feet wet. Donít expect polished brass handles and miserable waiters (legend has it the staff smile whilst they are sleeping) be prepared for gourmet meals made entirely from local fish and produce. Donít try to upset the locals, youíll be wasting your time. Manda in Swahili (local lingo) means happy people. Just remember to cover up in the evening else youíll get bit by the flies (they normally prefer abubaka but when he is not around they have to eat somewhere) deet is good as well.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

We used aircraft to travel as we didnít have time to drive from England, so we left quite a mess up in the sky (thatís bad for the environment) this accommodation is totally locally orientated (thatís good for the locals) apart from the wageni (visitors) (who help the local economy) . We took along colouring pencils and some extra 1st aid kits to leave behind (every little helps)

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Yes I definitely rate my holiday over all!

review 22 Aug 2007

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

We spent 8 nights at this accommodation which is located on Manda Island. We spent some of this time just swimming in the Indian Ocean which is just a few metres from the place; taking walks on the long beach; picking shells; and enjoying a cold Tusker overlooking the ocean in the evenings before dinner. We also took day trips into Lamu, Shella and to see the nearby Swahili ruins. These are all memorable parts of our holiday. One that stands out especially is sailing on the dhow to see the Swahili ruins. The lunches and dinners served by the chef were also delicious, especially the chef's exotic fruit crumble! Everyone at the place was super welcoming.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

If you are looking for a quiet, relaxing holiday, this accommodation on Manda is a good choice for accommodation. Shella and Lamu are bustling towns and lack the sense of remoteness/quiet of Manda. Plus, if you crave excitement, it is very easy to just hop on a boat and visit both Shella and Lamu for the day. Definitely take a dhow trip! Ask for Ali and Answar and Hassan to sail it (Ask Rachel at this accommodation). On one of your day trips, stop at the Peponi for rich lime ice cream which is fabulous. Don't hesitate to ask Rachel for advice on day trips and information about Manda, Shella, Lamu. She is very helpful and her staff and other locals with whom she works are knowledgeable, kind and fun.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

The housing and infrastructure of this accommodation is environmentally friendly. The huts are made of natural materials, electricity runs only at night, etc. The place is very simple, but clean and comfortable. From talking to locals, we sensed that this accommodation is well viewed locally. There is a garden where some veggies and fruits are grown, and other produce is purchased from local nearby farms. Crab, shrimps and other fish is bought fresh.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

We had a wonderful time!

review 6 Apr 2007

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

All of it. From the first swim of the day in the lovely warm waters of the Indian Ocean, to sitting on a swing seat reading or dozing through the hottest part of the day, to strolling along Shela beach at sunset, to the first caipirinha of the day! What's memorable is the relaxing pace of life at this accommodation and the sense of absolute relaxation it imparts. Yet the place is a feast for the senses. Watching the finches diving down to the clamshell birdbaths from an acacia tree is quite mesmerising, and drifting in a boat among the silent mangroves is so creepily atmospheric. A sunset dhow trip is a great aperitif for the culinary treats on offer at dinner. The chef is a genius with sauces and no two meals were ever the same, but always delicious. I'm staggered he hasn't been poached yet! There are so many tiny details I could mention, all of which added up to a truly magical experience. This accommodation is quite simply a beautiful place, and one of the best holidays I have ever had.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be prepared for some serious relaxation and pampering! Don't take too many books, since there is a small but excellent library at this accommodation. Watch out for those pesky little sand flies during the day - they love the taste of human flesh and leave very itchy bites, so protect yourself during the day, when they are awake. Lamu is cheap by UK standards, but expensive by Kenyan standards, so take a little more money than you think you might need. The ATM in Lamu only takes Visa cards, not Mastercard or Maestro/Cirrus. The bar has a connector for MP3 players on their stereo, so you should be able to play your favourite tunes over drinks or dinner, if you ask nicely.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

I'm no expert, but I would say that every effort was made to benefit local people. The staff at this accommodation were all local and employed in a variety of roles from maintaining the rooms, to building, preparing meals and transporting us around. They all seemed very happy and motivated. All food and building materials etc were locally sourced. In fact the only non-local people there were us guests and the proprietor Rachael! Water conservation is an issue throughout the region, so we were encouraged to conserve water, which was recycled in the garden, and the toilets used sea water. We never ran out though, and the water was clean enough to brush our teeth with, and we were assured even to drink (though we drank bottled water to be on the safe side - there's a tiny shop a little way down the beach, in front of the mosque). A generator supplied electricity from 6pm until around bedtime, when we were given paraffin lamps. I don't think this accommodation leaves much of a carbon footprint!

review 4 Jan 2007

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

This is a great place to sit back, relax and enjoy the beach and the sun. The staff there are extremely friendly and always willing to help out. The location is beautiful, and being able to eat at the restaurant overlooking the Indian Ocean was definitely a great advantage. The outdoor shaded 'library' with its comfortable chairs is perfect for a mid-afternoon break from the sun.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

If you are looking for a relaxing and soothing holiday where you will be able to enjoy some great food and nice accommodation while at the same time supporting the local economy, this is a great holiday destination. During the day, there is plenty to do, from snorkeling to open-water fishing to sun-set boat rides, and the staff will be happy to help you arrange any of these. In the evenings, there is a bar open on week-ends and you can cross-over to Shela or Lamu Town any day of the week.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes. The owners have done a really nice job of using local products to build the place, and the 'Village' and restaurant seemed to be providing work to many people. Power is turned off during the day to conserve energy and guests are advised not to carelessly waste water.

review 9 Nov 2007

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The remote location and tranquil surroundings were incredible. The setting is truly idyllic and highly recommended. People are friendly and the environment safe.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Definitely check all the possible costs involved before you book. Diamond Beach is a great location and the facilities are comfortable and clean. We were a bit disappointed at the end of the holiday when we were presented with a rather substantial bill. The menu is very tasty buy usually only has two dishes to choose from and the prices charged are comparable to the UK. You will also be charged for all the ferry trips you take, we were under the impression that these were part of the daily price due to the location of the resort. There is no way to get to Diamond except via ferry. Petrol is check in Kenya, relatively speaking. However the ferry trips are expensive, about £8 for a return trip of about 5km, so once again UK prices.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

The environmental impact of the resort is very low. It has been made entirely from local resources except for the obvious plumbing and lighting. Water is primarily derived from a desalination plant and there is adequate for all your needs without being extravagant. Locals are employed and fresh food is bought. The resort supports upward of 10 families on the island which s great as employment is much needed in Kenya.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Most enjoyable, Rachel and Helen are most accommodating and friendly. The Locals are very nice people. The only overall advice I would give is to anticipate the costs of living in a remote location and keep this in mind. All the resorts charge UK prices for everything.

Read the operator's response here:

Sorry to hear you were upset with the prices and the lack of choice on the menu, as everything is freshly caught and we don't have power supply (generator at night) to freeze food there is a limited choice per day. 'Catch of the day' is how we operate, also sometimes you cannot source all seafood everyday so to have a menu and then be told you can't have it is much worse! A 3 course dinner is £8.50, cocktail £2 , beer £1.40 , glass of wine £1.50 , a main course is £5. To give an idea to others thinking of staying people tend to spend £15-£20 per day on lunch, a 3 course dinner and a few drinks. Thanks for your feedback, itís good for others to have an idea of costs. I hope the paintings have found a good place on the wall!

review 6 Oct 2006

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Snorkelling off a small desert island called Manda Toto, sailing in the dhows and the beautiful beach on Manda Island. The sheer peace and quiet of the village and waking up in the morning in my banda seeing blue sky outside. Sitting on the seafront of Lamu and watching the moonlight on the sea. Incredible!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Not to take as many clothes as I did - you don't need them. Wear lots of suncream - especially when sailing in the dhows because you don't notice you're burning. Go for it - it's perfect for relaxing and immersing yourself in the culture and appreciating the coastal beauty of Kenya. I went on my own and as a female I felt perfectly safe all the time. The people there really looked after me and anything I was uncertain about I could ask advice from Rachael or other members of staff. If you travel to Mombassa by bus take water, book your ticket at least the day before and try and get a window seat to have access to fresh air. Support Arsenal - the whole of Lamu seems to!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Very much so, everything was made from local materials all the staff were local and the whole site was very much designed to blend in with nature. A far cry from the usual hotels you get along the coasts. Absolutely amazing. I'm just saving up to go back now.

review 4 Jan 2006

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Memorable or exciting part - the people. No doubt. They will be in our hearts always.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Tips, do not carry too much luggage, to get to Lamu / Manda you need a small domestic internal flight, and a boat if you take normal international flight luggage like 20K or more you WILL be charged excess luggage. BE FIRM if you do not want to spend any money, if you do not want to buy anything or do not want people to carry your luggage just say NO there are plenty of tourists to go round. Once connected to your transfer (this is essential to pre- book for Manda) the guys Asan, Julius and co. will carry your bags and do everything for you and its in the price.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Absolutely NO doubt about it. Good quality employment was provided for several family men and a lady. Behind the 'village' is a farm owned by the amazing 'Aboo' and his brother who provide directly for the village. He is a boat owner and if providing you with a boat for the day (and a captain) your 'cash' goes directly to the captain your given; and a price is SET not bartered. Food is fresh from local markets and local people. You can by arts and craft from street vendors who MAKE the stuff they sell (some of it is Very good). ALL the materials used to construct the bandas and the bar etc etc are from LOCAL trees and material with less just zero impact, because the 'village' provides water for a MASS of birds, all water is re-used (not for drinking) and re-cycled, their system is an Eco one. 100% or more.

4. Any other comments?

Yes GO there and you will directly benefit a lot of people and the environment and families, while having a great and relaxing time. If you do; ask Julius to introduce you to 'Tsunami' for some great gifts - he is very good at what he does. Bye your 'kigoes' and sarongs in Lamu for as little as £2.50 and benefit local tailors directly. Try and take cash with you, but you can get travellers cheques changed in the bank, at a better rate than any hotel. but you need to get a boat to get there. There is an ATM cash machine on Lamu too, but do not use it if your alone - the people there are VERY poor and you will be followed to and from the cash point. Yes Manda was amazing, It was a last minute thing but oh were we grateful we ended up there for so many reasons, the organiser Rachel was amazing and could not do enough for us from time of booking to time of leaving. The people working at the resort were all local people (most if not all had families) were just gorgeous, and so genuine, they did not act like they knew they could get something from you they just treated you as equals and as friends, once friends and you shared a laugh and joke you were their 'sister' or 'brother' and we made friends for what could be for life. The quiet and tranquillity were second to none, you could go and explore for hours or sail to Lamu and wander the vast Muslim donkey streets or simple do nothing and I mean NOTHING. Tea can be brought to you and food and drinks are served ALL day. We would give it 6 stars if possible. But I guess I will have to settle with 5* ! THANK you all for your assistance, we are already planning our trip to go back next year!!

review 2 Dec 2006

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Sitting at a table, by the beach, watching the dhow sail past as the sun was setting. I would return to this Village because it was so relaxing and quiet, but close enough to Lamu Town and Shela if I want to have some shopping and other dining experiences. I will also remember the relaxing sail to the Tekwa Ruins on the Ronaldo!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

There are two options for meals: 1) have meals at the Village, which are prepared by the chef; or, 2) have breakfast at the Village (which is included in the cost of the accommodation, and eat lunch or dinner in Lamu Town or Shela (you would have to take a Dhow to and from Manda Beach). Go into to Lamu Town for a morning to experience this wonderful town and all of the bustle of a sea port. It is incredible to see this UNESCO site! Remember, museums and other sites (such as the Takwa Ruins) will have an admission fee, which averaged 500 Shillings. Book a trip or two on the Ronaldo, a dhow that is owned by friends of the manager of the Village. It is owned by two wonderful men who take pride in their home and want you to enjoy it, too.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

The very construction of the Village makes you feel part of the natural world because it is constructed in the traditional manner and they use grass and wood construction. The concept of this Village is to operate an eco-lodge with minimum impact upon the environment. Therefore, they run the generator only a few hours each night and they encourage guests to not flush the toilet for every use and to conserve water while brushing your teeth. In addition, the staff are well paid and the owner of the Village helps their families with the costs of schooling their children.

review 2 Dec 2005

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

We very much enjoyed our holiday to Kenya and the week on Lamu. This accommodation is situated in an excellent location and made a very nice contrast with staying in Lamu Town. One point I would like to make is in response to one comment on the site regarding the food at the accommodation. While it may have been the only place to eat and the menu was limited, this was not a problem as the food was always excellent and of a very high quality. In contrast the food in Lamu Town, and I can only comment on where we ate, was generally either slightly cheaper and poor quality or more expensive and the same quality.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Stay in Lamu Town for a few days and at this resort and experience the contrast in lifestyles.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Manda seems to be being gradually bought out by very wealthy Westerners, the lodge employs 10 Kenyans and certainly seems to benefit the Kenyans more than other establishments in the area.

4. Any other comments?

Overall, an excellent holiday.

Read the operator's response here:

Food in Lamu town can be varied, like anywhere you go, generally it's of good quality, especially the seafood. Great to know that you enjoyed the food at this accommodation.

review 5 Jan 2005

We are back from what was a splendid honeymoon in Kenya. We had fun in Nairobi and did some trips to Nakuru National Park and the Elephant Orphanage while we were there. It was a bit surreal seeing cows and zebras grazing together just outside Nairobi city and also encountering wild boar and baboons just wandering along at the side of the road. After some time there unwinding from London we then flew to Lamu where we were met by Rachel and taken to our boat at the end of the pier. After about 30 minutes sailing we arrived the accommodation where we spent the remainder of our honeymoon. Our Banda was very well laid out with plenty of room for both of us. Someone came in each day and made our bed and got our mosquito net ready for us each evening. We shared our Banda with a gecko lizard and were visited now and again by other various forms of wildlife which we found fascinating. The pathways were lit with lamps each evening so that we could easily find out way round once the generator was switched off. We ate excellent fish and seafood which arrived almost daily from the fishermen's dhows. This was washed down by plenty of cold Kenyan lager (which is very good) and some stuff called Kenya Cane (similar to vodka). The staff are very flexible in terms of preparing meals and we were not at all restricted in terms of what time we ate - we pretty much suited ourselves. Not once during our time on the island did we wear our watches so we completely lost track of the days, hours and minutes - it was bliss. We rang in the New Year on the beach with the locals and watched the fireworks at midnight which were on the next island. The oldest guy on Manda Island even came and had a soda! The guys who worked at our place then put on some very special tribal dancing and singing for us and even managed to get us dancing too. This was easily the most memorable New Year we have ever had. The last few nights the water was very calm and there was lots of phosphorescence which created a magical glow when we were in the water. It was like sparkly stars whenever you moved - amazing. The Kenyan people were the friendliest we've met anywhere, the daytime temperatures varied from 30-33 degrees, night time we think was about 20 degrees, food was excellent, prices were very cheap and the whole experience was completely relaxing - we will definitely go back there again. Helen, Rachel and Aaron have certainly been extremely thoughtful and imaginative in the way they have built the accommodation. They only use local produce and materials and are very careful to recycle where they can. While we were there some additional furniture arrived by boat which was made especially for them on the next island. They are certainly putting as much back into the local community as they possibly can. The bird baths that they have erected around the site attract the most colourful birds you can imagine and they have planted plenty of flowers and shrubs to encourage the local wildlife. The members of their staff we got to know were extremely helpful and friendly and there is one guy in particular that myself and my husband will keep in touch with. I had great fun trying to learn Swahili from him! The only part of the trip that left us feeling glum would have been our trip to Shela on Lamu Island. The seafront is dominated by a hotel which is surrounded on each side by some rather large houses. It was very obvious that this was where the rich and famous spent their time. Once you walk back past the seafront you see what life is really like for the locals... people live a very simple life alongside such wealth. The contrast between rich and poor (although the Shela people are not poor in spirit) was dramatic. We found the Shela seafront far too pretentious and only spent a short time there.

review 11 Feb 2005

After our weeks sailing we decided to relax on a beach somewhere so picked this resort as it was at the end of sailing voyage. We arrived here very late the first evening but received a wonderful welcome from Aaron one of the owners and the Kenyan staff who had waited up for us. The Banda's which we stayed in are great. Really simple but very clean, all built out of local material. It's a perfect place to get away from it all. The Kenyan staff were so friendly, they went out of their way to make our stay enjoyable. We went jogging with them and played volleyball with the locals. We even got invited to stay at one of their family's houses. Manda island is beautiful and with Lamu so close by boat there is enough to keep you occupied for days. We really enjoyed our time here but we did find that it was extremely expensive and we were a little uncertain as to where the money goes to. There was a strange system with the food, there was no menu so you didn't get any choice as to what you ate, and there was no indication as to how much it would cost until you got the bill the next day. You didn't have to eat if you didn't want to but as there was absolutely nowhere else to have a meal on the island there was little choice. There was no consistency with the prices sometimes we would be charged 400 shillings for fish and rice then it would be 800 shillings the next time? Apart from being overpriced the portions were often very small and we often felt hungry afterwards. The food was always tasty, but the price/ portion issue was very disappointing. Comparing the food prices to that on Lamu at some of the expensive hotels it was sometimes twice more expensive at the resort! Us and other people staying there all said it made us feel unhappy and a little bit bitter knowing we were being very overcharged. We spent a lot more money on our stay here than we had budgeted for. We did enjoy the beach resort but would feel worried about recommending it until they rectify these food issues.

Read the operator's response here:

That is very interesting for me to read, and I know we do have to think about our menu options more next season. The reason for not having an extensive menu is that we cannot guarantee getting a range of seafood on a daily basis, so I don't want to have to tell guests they can't have this or that today. Also we only have one gas fridge so keeping food is not so easy in bulk. What we have decided to do next season is have 2 main option's on a blackboard priced up for the evening meal; 1 catch of the day and 1 vegetarian dish with an option of having the starter and dessert. However simple things like salad, pasta, sandwiches, pancakes etc are always available. The local restaurants in Lamu are in comparison cheaper, however we do have the added transport and the quality of the food is of a much higher standard. We had many guests this season say our food was the best they have had in Kenya but I do agree very much that we need to have a clear price on the foods and of course we can make the portions bigger if people don't find it enough. On average guests spend £10 per day per person including alcohol. I really appreciate all the feedback possible as this was our first season and there is always so much that can be done to improve.

Accommodation Reviews

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays. In addition, we don't run these holidays ourselves - our only interest is giving you the best independent advice.

Read our review policy

Convert currencies