Yoga Retreat Holiday at Fatuma’s Tower, Lamu Island, Kenya, Central Africa 2013

Scaravelli inspired yoga holiday with Catherine Annis Fatuma's Tower Lamu Island Kenya Central Africa

Fatuma’s Tower, Lamu Island, Kenya, Central Africa

FATUMA’S TOWER is a magical place standing below Shela’s towering sand dunes. Within its walls are a profusion of flowering shrubs, an enormous baobab, spreading shade trees and the delightful sound of water splashing into the welcome plunge pool an oasis in the heat. From the ruins of a 19th century sanctuary for a Swahili noblewoman, Fatuma, Gillies Turle has created an enchanting setting for his ‘house for guests.

Scaravelli inspired yoga holiday with Catherine Annis Fatuma's Tower Lamu Island Kenya Central Africa ExteriorCarefully restored and modified in 1998 the historic tower house has five double bedrooms and a large yoga hall. Included behind the same compound wall is the Sand Castle with it’s ground floor family apartment of three double rooms. In the surrounding gardens, the Garden Cottage has two double rooms both with bathrooms.

These ten double rooms are all furnished with local antiques and fabrics in a simple yet elegant style to recreate the atmosphere of a fine Swahili house. No two rooms are the same and the cool, airy spaces retain an informal feel while several shaded balconies provide comfortable areas for avoiding too much sun and generally enjoying the peace and fresh air.

The peaceful gardens have been recently “ enlivened” by the refreshing sound of a fountain splashing over coral rocks into a plunge pool.

“Fatuma’s Tower is an enchanting retreat in a secluded position in Shela village”
The Guardian newspaper

There are miles of virtually empty, sandy beach from which to swim in the warm, clear waters. You will find windsurfing and sailboats up the beach from Peponi’s or you can go fishing on a local boat. The staff can arrange a sunset dhow cruise for you or a full-day boat trip to Manda Toto. Take a boat or walk into Lamu Town, soak up the ambience, visit a couple of the museums and watch the rhythms of Swahili life in the narrow streets and on the docks. Have a drink at the animated bar at Peponi’s, overlooking the channel. Gillies is the perfect, old-school English gentleman, and a great host, happy to share his considerable knowledge of the locality.

Scaravelli inspired yoga holiday with Catherine Annis Fatuma's Tower Lamu Island Kenya Central Africa boats

Accommodation

ACCOMMODATION

Scaravelli inspired yoga holiday with Catherine Annis Fatuma's Tower Lamu Island Kenya Central Africa Sand Castle Living areaThe restored tower house has five airy double rooms, each furnished with local fabrics and antiques to recreate the ambience of a grand Swahili townhouse – Gillies was an antique dealer in Nairobi for many years. Each has solar powered hot water, mosquito nets and a fan. The spacious rooftop room has direct access to the rooftop terrace perfect for sunbathing or star-gazing. On the second floor, the top apartment has two double rooms, each with its own bathroom, and a terrace with cushioned seats and views over the gardens and Shela village.

Balcony Room The Balcony Room is located across from the library on the first floor at Fatuma’s Tower. Furnished with Swahili antiques, it is a large and airy double room which accomodates a third bed. The bathroom features the delicate traditional plasterwork patterns common in Swahili houses. This room is named for its balcony terrace with a large, comfortable cushioned barazza overlooking the garden.

Scaravelli inspired yoga holiday with Catherine Annis Fatuma's Tower Lamu Island Kenya Central Africa Garden Cottage BedroomTower Suite On the top floor of Fatuma’s Tower, with views out over the village to the sea, is the Tower Suite. Reflecting Swahili style throughout, the suite has two spacious double bedrooms and a shaded living and dining front terrace. Each bedroom has its own large bathroom combining elements of modern and Arabic architecture and comfortable, cushions. With its own kitchen, small dining room and separate staircase, the Tower Suite is self contained if required. Above the suite, the spacious traditional roof-top terrace can be used for sunbathing, evening sun-downers and star-gazing. The Tower Suite can be booked as a whole or as two separate units.

Garden Room Situated on the ground floor of Fatuma’s Tower the Garden Room is a beautiful double room with its own bathroom. Furnished with local antiques, this room has plenty of living space and French doors open out onto the garden where guests can relax in the afternoon shade. Adjacent to the Garden room are the Peacock and French Rooms, two single rooms with a shared bath in the hall.

Scaravelli inspired yoga holiday with Catherine Annis Fatuma's Tower Lamu Island Kenya Central Africa Sand Castle TurtlesSand Castle Named after its pale ochre walls and informal atmosphere, the Sand Castle is a spacious ground floor apartment with cool living and dining areas. Three bedrooms are arranged around a central living room which in turn leads on to an open plan dining room and small courtyard and in the front a garden pergola. Local fabrics and unusual antiques give each comfortable room an individual and unique feel. The Sand Castle has one twin and two doubles (all ensuite) and is available as a whole or as separate units.

Garden Cottage Tucked away in the shade of the gardens, the Garden Cottage combines simple living areas with quirky and imaginative architecture. The Cottage sleeps four in two double bedrooms with a shared downstairs bathroom. On the ground floor the bedroom is decorated in an eclectic style with Swahili antiques complementing imaginative details in the room’s architecture. The ground floor has its own kitchen, dining and living areas. External wooden steps lead to a banda style thatched bedroom set within a rooftop terrace and features a private sunbathing area and covered pergola. The rooftop catches the cool evening breezes, has an excellent view out over the village and is an ideal place to relax or take your meals.

Scaravelli inspired yoga holiday with Catherine Annis Fatuma's Tower Lamu Island Kenya Central Africa Balcony BedAcacia Room Third floor. “It’s high but it’s heaven” (and rapidly becoming something of a honeymooner’s haven….) A glorious spacious airy room with distant views of the sea down to Lamu and direct access to the rooftop sundeck.

Library Adjacent to the Balcony Room, the Library at Fatuma’s Tower is a lovely room in which to relax, read or hold group meetings. There are many novels and books on the area which are available for our guests. High ceilings and an open design make it cool and airy during the day and the wooden balcony looks out over the remains of some original ruins.

Dining For all meals, great care is taken by our cooks to prepare the freshest local ingredients, combining the best of Swahili and Italian cucina. Fresh from the ocean, fish and seafood are our speciality. You can take your meals in the shady courtyard dining area or in the privacy of your terrace or roof-top. At night lanterns are lit throughout the sandy garden for dinner served under the stars.

“This little known Kenyan island is a natural paradise, ten miles long and five miles wide, with white sandy beaches, coral reefs teeming with marine life, lush vegetation and rainforests rich in flora and fauna with pure fresh running waterfalls.”

Scaravelli inspired yoga holiday with Catherine Annis Fatuma's Tower Lamu Island Kenya Central Africa bedroom

 

Food

FOOD

Scaravelli inspired yoga holiday with Catherine Annis Fatuma's Tower Lamu Island Kenya Central Africa seafoodBreakfast – an abundance of fruit, English breakfast and pancakes – can be taken in the shady gardens or on your terrace. At night, the garden courtyard is lit by lanterns and you can enjoy an excellent three-course dinner under the stars. The cuisine combines the Swahili and Italian traditions, with an emphasis on local fresh fish and seafood. Vegetarians will also enjoy dining at Fatuma’s. Beer and a white wine are available.

 

 

 

Programme

PROGRAMME

Scaravelli inspired yoga holiday with Catherine Annis Fatuma's Tower Lamu Island Kenya Central Africa plunge poolWe arrive on Tuesday, and start our Scaravelli inspired yoga sessions on Tuesday afternoon. There are two, two hour long yoga classes each day, one in the morning, the other in the late afternoon.

But of course, besides yoga, relaxation, rest, reading, walking and swimming, we can help you with arranging excursions.

 

 

Travel

GETTING THERE

You need a flight to Nairobi or Mombassa and an onward flight to Lamu Island.

If you cannot get an overnight flight to Nairobi to link up with midday flight to Lamu then a pleasant medium range hotel for an overnight stay in Nairobi is Mayfair Hotel.

Fatuma’s Tower
PO Box 323
Lamu
KE-80500
Kenya

Nairobi to Lamu Flights:

The advice of the owner’s at Fatuma’s Tower is to get an overnight flight if coming from Europe, which will link you up with a midday flight to Lamu. It is better to book the tickets with one airline all the way through. Fly540 connects best with all flights from Europe on-going to Lamu. From London, Kenya Airways who are partners with KLM, fly direct and are from experience reliable. Virgin also fly there too. Air Kenya and Safarilink, who both operate from Wilson Airport, don’t leave until 3.15pm in the afternoon which is too long to hang around after an all night flight. So best To use Fly540 from Narobi to Lamu.

Nairobi to Lamu Flights: there are two daily flights from Nairobi International Airport to Lamu.

Kenya Airways: www.kenya-airways.com

Fly 540: www.fly540.com

The owners will arrange for you to be met at the Lamu Island airstrip, (or, if you are arriving by bus/ferry, at the port) and transferred to Fatumas Tower. Be certain Free spirit Travel has your flight details so they can arrange this for you.

 

VISAS:

At the time of writing this, European passport holders may purchase their visas on arrival at Nairobi or in advance from the Kenyan Embassy. Visa requirements do change frequently so please check their website for up to date information before travelling: www.kenyahighcommission.net (click on visas and then on FAQs which will then tell you if you can pay and receive your visa on entry)

Embassy address in the UK:
Kenya High Commission London,
45 Portland Place,
London,
W1N 4AS

 

Useful Info

OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION

Scaravelli inspired yoga holiday with Catherine Annis Fatuma's Tower Lamu Island Kenya Central Africa buildingMoney – nobody on Lamu Island takes credit cards except the bar at the Peponi Hotel. You can also draw cash against a card at the local bank. We suggest that you change money into Kenyan shillings whilst changing planes at Nairobi airport. There is one cash point machine in Sheela town – however be warned it rarely works!

 

 

 
 

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