New News !

Hello Everyone !

It’s been quite a while since the last newsletter! The reason for this has not been because of lack of news but rather because Kizingo and Lamu has not been as busy as it once was, but we are glad to report that this has now changed and we are a buzz again! 

We will not lie, the last 6 years have been tough here, on our wonderful island as a result of travel warnings that we have always said were unfair and unjust to place on a peaceful place such as Lamu. Thankfully these have all since been removed and slowly but surely Lamu is returning to normal. During these tough years the van Aardts and our team of staff have all had to be inventive in making a living and managing to keep our wonderful little lodge going. My parents moved to politically and economically troubled Zimbabwe to set up a new venture there, which has had its complications but they have enjoyed the adventure. They marched against Mugabe along with millions of others.

Myself and George set up a logistics company doing contract work for the American government here in Kenya, it was going so well but then Trump won the presidency and selfishly under America first policy shut down our life line and I had to get back to looking for a new job. In the end I was persuaded to join a friend and guest of Kizingo and start pig farming. It was a big change, swapping a life of dawas and endless sun downers at the Kizingo bar for pigs and bacon. The biggest challenge was learning how to inseminate sows something that no man should ever have to do especially a man such as myself. I do have to say though that when those piglets were born I was rather proud of myself!
In that time we have all been back and forth to Lamu and this Christmas and New Year was wonderfully fun. So many of you our old and loyal guests returned on mass. It was such a treat to see the Solomon’s again from Cape town and Joost from Holland and after a 7 year gap the wonderful French as well a huge array of new gussets too. We had carol singing on the beach and swinging from the rafters. All the plot owners from the Rays to the Williams Ellis’s were back and the place was abuzz with life and activity.

We were lucky enough to have a new and vibrant couple come in and shake some new life into Kizingo. Catlin and Rory have been holding the fort for us offering allot more energy than we ever did and expanding the activities list from just one or two, to many more. They have been doing runs on the mainland as well as a a pilates / yoga mix exercise, now called pogalates, swims and all sorts of exercises devised personally by Catelin to suit each individual….. mind  body and energy levels, this has been so popular. They have now headed back to Europe but will be coming back from time to time to offer fitness weeks and we will keep you informed as to when they are next due to visit!

Tom who also had to move away for a time and find a new way to make a living has returned back to the bar and his signature secret cocktail the naughty tom in back on the cocktail menu.

The dolphins and Louis are still doing their thing and this season we have been lucky enough to see whale shark on more than one occasion! We hope this will become a more regular occurrence. 

The big news is that Richard and Camilla are to get married in October. My brother has asked me to be the best man and I am already terrified at the prospect! We are all very excited about this big day.

Emilie and Florian are still running ocean sports and my nephew has just turned 7! Matilda is now 4.

For those many of you that have experienced issues with bookings and delays in getting replies to emails from myself and Mary jo will be pleased to know we have a solution to this! Chris will be managing our bookings and social media for us! 

The Kipungani Schools Trust is still going strong, building schools (19 of them now!), funding teachers and sponsoring children through secondary school.  

John Seagrim our chairman came to Lamu and Malindi with his wife Josephine for the first two weeks of December. Emilie and I together with John and Josephine visited all 19 KST schools, our Polytechnic (which needs more work) and our latest build Kipaganjeni Primary School near Malindi. The Kipaganjeni project has been funded by the pupils, staff and parents of Marlborough College at the instigation of Ned Seagrim (John’s Son) who as head boy, persuaded Marlborough to make the KST their charity of the year in 2107. Ned’s endeavours raised over £45,000 and he’s also now become a KST trustee! 
We had a wonderful opening ceremony at Kipaganjeni in December with singing and dancing and a tasty goat (to eat!)!  

We all feel very proud to be part of the KST and to have shared in its considerable achievements -  but none of it would have been possible without generous donations from many of our guests, especially Camilla & Edward Peake and Martin & Sally Woodcock as well as numerous other kind hearted travellers! 

Please keep helping the KST if you can - sure in the knowledge that 100% of the money you donate will be spent on the ground in Kenya, in 20 years the KST has never spent any of its donations on administration or fundraising!  


 

Week 3 At Kizingo For Rory & Caitlin

Jack reached his teenage stage this week! He has now decided to spend all his time with guests and staff, rather than his loving parents! So much so, he is embarrassed to attend morning brief with either one of us. 

This week Rory was diving with reef sharks and octopus whilst I got back into running post injury, as i prepare for London Marathon 2019. Rory's plans to go pro at triathlon have lessened since he started smoking cigars with guests & sipping whisky at the bar. (I'm sure there is a word for that?!)

Yet his Bear Grylls/Johnny English, alter-ego still makes regular appearances. This week he managed to rip his t-shirt out at sea...Our female guests enjoyed watching him James Bond it out the water with a ripped shirt in one hand, and knife in the other...  what they didn’t know is that he had caught his t-shirt on a rock whilst a reef shark stared him out....

Our staff this week have been super. Our room steward Manuel received great news that his wife had given birth to another baby called Betty! In true gentleman style, Manuel waited until we were quiet to tell us! We couldn't believe it and sent him straight off to see his child and look after his dear wife.

Our chefs are just about coping with my tea-time baking and kitchen dance moves. They have however told me, digestive biscuits are sold in Kenya and make a very easy alternative.

My peanut butter & chocolate cookies were well worth it for the 'Dreams into Memories' group from Poland. These guys joined us for our dolphin trip and kayak tours where a group of 30 dolphins were spotted.

Finally, thanks to the gal guests that attended my circuit class on the beach & congrats to our staff member Ally, who beat Rory this week at the beach 5k race! Go Ally! 

We look forward to the Lamu culture festival coming our way, which includes traditional dances and the famous Donkey Race. Jack.. Are you ready to be a donkey?!

We hope you are having a great week. Thanks for reading!

Caitlin

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Week 2 At Kizingo For Rory & Caitlin

Another week has gone by!

Jack ran through a wall AGAIN, Rory locked me in the Banda ‘unintentionally’, guests attempted the Kizingo bar challenge, monkeys were seen, dolphins were spotted and the staff swim club took off! A great week all round for our guests and guys.

We started the week with another mainland run whereby 2 guests participated, & several staff members. As the week progressed more guests arrived from Germany, Kenya & Canada. We even had 2 sailors turn up at the bar one evening, having sailed 11 hours to get here. Rory, having just completed a rather tough Ironman saw the look of tiredness on the elder sailor’s face and gave him a Banda for the night, in support of his 21 hour sail home!

Our lovely guest & grandmother of 12 took part in our swim to run challenge whereby she completed the whole course! We also enjoyed celebrating these guests 50th wedding anniversary with a Gin & Tonic cake made by me.

Jack simply outdid himself when he decided to walk home with new friends and bar regulars of Kizingo. We received a phonecall later that night saying…

Jack has come home with us, so don’t worry..we will bring him back in the morning.

Although Rory was going to let this lie, I was not! Rory set off on his 40 minute walk to collect him, where Alex & Sue had cocktails waiting! I was less impressed to see the pair (Jack & Rory) stumble in at hours later than expected!

Jack, having now ran through 2 walls, is getting used to Kenyan life and spends most his time harassing the staff quarters, guests or obsessing over coconut shells.

This week we will be hosting many more, running to Peponi’s hotel, dolphin tripping, kayaking to the mangroves and visiting the village. We will be adding a new collection to the shop, introducing our Mezze bar plates and announcing our Christmas/New Year events!

We hope you enjoyed your week!

Caitlin x

P.s To check our our Christmas activities, click here.

Jack bowman shaw, 2 walls later.

Jack bowman shaw, 2 walls later.

Week 1 at Kizingo for Rory & Caitlin

We are delighted to be here! Firstly we want to say a huge thank you to Mary Jo & Louis for hosting us and giving us the opportunity. It’s been a fantastic adventure so far and looking forward to what’s to come.

bandas at Kiingo Hotel. Built by Louis & the boys

bandas at Kiingo Hotel. Built by Louis & the boys

This week we have taken guests swimming with reef sharks, running on the mainland, swim to run race on the beach, sailing at sunset, mango shopping from a guy called Mohhamad Ali and catching octopus for dinner. Of course getting stuck into our new hotel life had it’s challenges but where’s the fun in simplicity… we have been making some exciting renovations to the bar and shop, taking bookings, hosting guests, learning the marketing side of the stuff, making activity signs on the walls, adding to the boutique, assisting the chef with new recipes, and repairing rooms…whereby JACK ran through one of the walls!!!!

Kizingo has gone above and beyond our expectations already. We still can’t believe Louis built the banda’s himself along with the boys that work here. Not to forget all the materials have been supplied locally or gathered from the beach itself. Mary Jo’s work with 16 local schools has clearly changed the lives of many, yet her modesty meant she hadn’t even told us! A remarkable place with equally remarkable staff and guests. Sammy, our manager & Tom our bar man/Kenyan karate champion have been super, and we continue to learn from them on a daily basis. Hamessi, one of our lads…who just recently had his appendix taken out, joined us for the swim to run, and the 12km mainland run where he suffered discomfort but finished. Not able to swim, he put a life jacket on and got on with the task at hand! OUR KIND OF LAD!

RUN ON MAINLAND

RUN ON MAINLAND

This week we will wrecckie new activities including the bushfire camp outs, bike routes on the mainland, 5km beach run, and kids of Kizingo. We have also been informed by our great friends and neighbours, that the kayaking round the mangroves must happen! So we have to do this right?! Staff training will develop with SWIM club happening every week. Any local, Kenyan residents are able to attend.

To see the activities we offer please visit our ‘EXPERIENCE KIZINGO’ page.

We hope you have a great week!

TRANSFERS WITH JACK

TRANSFERS WITH JACK

Thanks for reading,

Caitlin x



Kizingo is almost 14 Years Old!

Hello everyone,

It is hard to believe, but in July we start Kizingo’s 14th season! I for one can’t believe how fast the time has gone or how that the van Aardt family has managed to keep a business going for all these years and finally that we have not been tempted by our nomadic DNA to run off into the wilderness again.

For those of you that are becoming tired of all the extreme changes happening in the western world , I hope you all know that Lamu island still remains reassuringly the same. Sleepy Lamu island rejects the radical, does not have referendums and remains ever true to its gentle peaceful self. The island still only has 2 cars,  22 000 people and some 6000 donkeys. The major development of the last 100 years has been the connecting of Lamu town and Shela to the national electricity grid, but don’t get excited the power lines have not yet made their way to Kizingo and so we still use good old clean renewable solar Power to light our rooms and heat our water. 

We had a great start to the year with a fantastic new year’s party with over 100 people dancing away in and of course on the bar. Alex and Sammy managed to join in and keep the cocktails flowing all at the same time! 


Alex mixing up Killer cocktails at the bar (Pic Credit Michaela Fisher)

Alex mixing up Killer cocktails at the bar (Pic Credit Michaela Fisher)

On the turtle conservation front, there has been lots of good news with over 10 nesting’s so far, this year.

The trips out to swim with the dolphins has been fantastic, and for those of you that want to do this please remember the season starts in November though to April.


Emilie swiming with Dolphines, Lamu Islannd

Emilie swiming with Dolphines, Lamu Islannd


We have started hiring motorbikes or as they are called here piki piki’s to take us on a mainland ride to Lake Kenyatta. Don’t worry if you do not know how to ride as we just opt to sit on the back and be chauffeur driven around in style! The bike ride takes you through rural farmlands and a small town where we buy a lot of our fresh fruit and vegetables for the hotel. We then stop off at lake Kenyatta and watch the hippos and the incredible bird life before heading home for sunset.


Motor Bike Safari to Lake Kenyatta 

Motor Bike Safari to Lake Kenyatta 


The Kipungani Schools Trust is doing well and continues to support and to maintain the 16 primary schools it has built and is preparing to build a 17th! Which hopefully will be completed by Christmas! That would be 17 schools in 17 years! The KST continues to pay for 30 teachers and fund much needed full fees scholarships for students to go onto secondary school. Thank you to all of you that have made donations to the KST over this last year – and please don’t forget us this year!  


Kipungani School Trust kids 

Kipungani School Trust kids 

 

Kizingo is now closed for the rains which have thankfully arrived as they are very much needed here in Kenya. We will be opening again in early July. We really hope that lots of you who have been to stay with us will think about booking again and those of you that have yet to come and visit will decide to do so this year. 

Love from all of us at Kizingo!