Swiss owner Pierre
Oberson created Kijani House to revive the tradition of stone Swahili
houses and create an authentic retreat for visitors looking to
experience Lamu’s past.
It took Pierre more than ten years to rebuild
the hotel from the ruins of three old houses, and he used only
traditional methods and materials in the restoration.
Kijani house rooms and
gardens are filled with antiques or handmade replicas of the furniture,
lanterns, ornaments, and utensils that graced the stately houses of
Copies of Old Portuguese lanterns hang from white archways.
An arrangement of ceramic water pots stand – used to carry oil and water
aboard ships centuries ago – stand under the shade of a palm tree.
Members of the village even borrow Kijani’s ceremonial chair, crafted
from hardwood and wickerwork on the nearby island of Siyu, for weddings
and special occasions.
True to the atmosphere
of a Swahili house, Kijani’s rooms and central areas emphasize the
aesthetics of privacy and space. Each room has a private veranda shaded
from sight by arabesque archways and trees.
The 10 rooms are vast and
cool, shards of sunlight and ample breeze welcomed through tall
shutters. A canopied Swahili bed stands beside antique cupboards and
tables coloured with hand-painted Indian tiles and painted glass. In the
bathroom, intricately carved mirrors set off the sensuous effect of the
walls, ceiling, and floor in warm ochre, its heady oriental effect
heightened by shafts of light filtering through shutters from the world
Kijani House offers a retreat from the bright bustle of Lamu’s
waterfront – a lush oasis of green gardens, pools, and cool rooms in all
their Swahili splendour.
Kijani house restaurant
offer an exotic selection of seafood, Swahili dishes and a touch of
Italian cuisine. Fruit and vegetable are coming from the Kijani small
farm in the middle of Lamu Island.
Available from the
cellar, a good selection of Italian, South African and Chilean wines.
Kijani is closed for of
season during May and June.