Returning to Kanani House for a second time was even more of a relaxing experience than last time. We took my parents along and the set-up was ideal - we each had our banda but could get together by the pool or in the evening in the airy communal area.
What I love about Kanani is that it's so peaceful. You're surrounded by nature and it somehow forces you to relax and recharge. The shaded area up by the pool is perfect for reading, and watching the dhows sail by and the sea birds flock and move at various stages of tide. The pied kingfishers are still there, a family of three, often to be found in the coral rock cliffs to the left of the passageway down to the sea. We loved walking out to the islands at low tide, looking at the birds and all the life bubbling away in the shallows.
Because there's so little light pollution, the star gazing is wonderful. After supper we'd walk down to the end of the garden and sit on the stone seat overlooking the ocean to spot satellites and shooting stars.
We visited the Gede ruins, the remains of a Swahili settlement that reached its heyday in the 15th century. It was better preserved than I expected: a fascinating slice of East African history. It was definitely worth taking a guide around to explain the detail of each building. It's about a 15 minute ride from Kanani in a tuk-tuk so an easy journey from Kanani.
We also took dug-out canoes at sunset around Mida Creek to look at the birds and ate crab samosas in a little restaurant run by the local community group at the end of a board walk they've built through the mangroves. Sasha and Ollie put us in touch with the people who work with the community group who run this.
Elvis and the gang looked after us superbly with their gentle coastal charm - and a passion for English football (useful if anyone's interested in match updates). Elvis's cooking was great, using lots of ginger and local spices. Grilled fish and stir fried vegetables was our favourite.
If you want a five star tourist hotel with plasma TVs and air conditioning, Kanani House is clearly not the place, but if you want an idyllic natural getaway it's pretty magical.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Kanani House is set on six acres on a cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean. We have 3 double bedrooms, which can be rented individually, or the whole house can be rented on an exclusive basis. Kanani is fully staffed, with a great chef and two house stewards so our guests can relax completely.Kanani House was designed and built by an English couple with a passion for Kenya - we wanted to give guests a real taste of Africa at the coast. We have a strong environmental commitment, local and sustainable materials are used wherever possible and almost everything is handmade by local workers. We were inspired by the upcountry private safari lodges as well as the local architecture to build a house more like an African Village than a conventional western house. Each bedroom is a private cottage with en-suite bathroom set in the landscaped indigenous garden. The rooms are screened for privacy but open to the sea breezes. Kanani is a Robinson Crusoe experience - we have no landline, TV or computers, so you can get away from the stresses of modern life and unwind. Access to a small private beach is at low tide through our tunnel - hand carved through the fossilized coral rock, and securely gated, or you can walk or take a tuk tuk to the public beaches. If you're feeling less adventurous, you can just laze by our infinity pool overlooking the ocean. There are lots of great things to do in and near Watamu: snorkeling, diving, dolphin watching or sailing in the Watamu Marine Park; walks in the Arabuko Sokoke forest and the Gede Ruins, canoe trips, fishing, horse riding and windsurfing can all be arranged. We hope you can come and stay at Kanani House soon! ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Kanani House Hotel Watamu