Rating: Mid-range Price from: Â£195 - Â£295 pp full board
You reach Kipungani Explorer by a flight to Manda Island and then a boat transfer to the lodge which is on the southwest of Lamu Island. Kipungani Explorer is set on the edge of a bay and at the end of a 12 kilometre long beach. Not only does this lodge offer a lovely 600 metre long beach and great swimming and snorkelling facilities, it also has a great link with the local community.
Kipungani Explorer has 13 simple but comfortable wood and thatch chalets, or bandas. The bathrooms are en-suite, with showers and flush loos. Each of the chalets has a king-size bed draped with mosquito netting and the furniture is locally made from materials such as mangrove wood and palm. Each banda has an ocean-facing veranda with cosy chairs from where you can sit and enjoy the beautiful views at different times of day.
There is a lounge and terrace with hanging moon-beds and driftwood furniture. The dining room looks out to a small garden and across to the ocean. The meals served here are usually based on freshly caught seafood. There is also a library and small shop. The electricity is from a generator, and there is marine radio connection to phones in Lamu Town. Kipungani Explorer has a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere.
While here you can enjoy a range of water-based activities payable locally such as snorkelling, windsurfing, sailing and dhow cruises, as well as excursions to places of interest on Lamu Island and nearby Manda Island with its 14th century fort.
Open: This property closes during April, May and June for the long rains
Location: Kipungani Explorer is in the south-west of Lamu island. To get here you take a 90 minute flight from Nairobi, and then a boat transfer to the lodge which enjoys an idyllic location on the edge of a 12km mostly deserted beach
Rooms: There are 13 rustic bandas here, a mix of singles and twins/doubles. All are en-suite with a freshwater shower and flush toilet and a separate dressing area with a hand basin, and have a sea-facing veranda with a sofa and chairs. Bandas are made from local natural materials including thatched roofs woven by villagers in Kipungani village. Each banda occupies 36sqm.
Activities: There is a choioce of activities, on land and in the water. Snorkelling, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, dhow and sunset cruises, fishing, bird watching, and historical tours of Lamu and Manda islands.
Facilities: There is a freshwater swimming pool and all-day bar service. The lodge has a restaurant, lounge with swing seats, and terrace with hammocks. There is a gift shop. A safe can be arranged for you should you need to use one. A laundry is also available. Power is provided by a generator, and cameras and phones can be charged in your banda.
Dining: Meals are served at indivual tables.
Children: Children of all ages are welcome
Health: This is a malarial area. Mosquito nets are provided but please make sure you take advice on prophylactics
Communication: There is generally good mobile reception here and there is also VSAT internet
"I loved Kipungani! The staff made this place stand out from other places I visitied on Lamu. They were genuinely friendly and service was superb. We did a walk to the village with one of the staff workers and spent hours talking to the locals, seeing inside peoples houses, watching the fishermen mend nets ... it was obvious that the villagers feel the difference having got support from Kipungani for the school and medical facilities and openly acknowledge that tourism is good for Lamu as the men of the families now stay on the island and work for lodges instead of going away for months on end to the Kenyan mainland to find work. At the lodge, the food was really good and the rooms very comfy and breezy."