INSPIRATION

Sail Through History: Luxurious Adventures on the Tusitiri Dhow

Kenya Dhow Safari: Tusitiri Dhow - Lamu Adventure

Dhows have a long and fascinating history on the Kenyan coast, dating back centuries. These traditional sailing vessels started as humble dugout canoes with mat sails, called "dau la mtepe." Skilled craftspeople meticulously built them without nails, relying on coconut rope and wooden pegs to bind the teak planks, often sourced from outside East Africa. Around two centuries ago, a shift in design arrived from the Persian Gulf. These dhows, featuring masts and lateen sails, transformed Kenyan dhows.

These more advanced dhows became workhorses of the sea, carrying spices, carpets, dates, and other treasures from Arabia and India to Kenyan ports. Their return journeys brought back Kenyan goods like mangrove poles, cereals, and even gold. While commercial trade by dhows has declined, they remain a significant part of Kenya's cultural heritage. Today, these graceful vessels are popular for tourist dhow safaris, offering a unique way to experience the beauty of the Kenyan coast.

Enter the realm of Tusitiri Dhow, a testament to this rich heritage. Originally crafted in 1950 in Lamu, Tusitiri Dhow began her journey as a trading vessel, serving for 30 years as a commercial boat while navigating the bustling waters between India, Oman, Yemen, and Somalia until the 1980s. At the end of her trading adventures, Tusitiri was left to weather away on a beach in Lamu, until the Astrup family serendipitously discovered her at the tail end of the 1980s after which she was transformed into a haven for discerning travelers seeking a unique coastal adventure.

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Once aboard the Tusitiri, you'll be greeted by the warmth of hand-crafted wood and the charm of traditional design. While keeping her traditional shape and size, the experienced owners and local dhow makers from Matandoni Village have cleverly incorporated modern amenities, ensuring your voyage is equal parts stylish and comfortable. Spacious spaces offer a welcome respite after a day exploring secluded coves or snorkeling vibrant coral reefs.

 

 "The Tusitiri Dhow is in my top picks of storied accommodation - Built in 1950 in Lamu, this vessel has seen exotic coastline for the ages. Captain Mia and his crew hoist the sail while you travel to a moment that’s beyond what you thought possible. While you’re having an exquisite dinner, the deck is transformed into the most experiential Star Bed on the planet and you’ll drift off to a comfortable sleep under the stars in the calm waters of the archipelago. Modern amenities make the Tusitiri an easy overnight aboard, and the activity offering makes a day charter the highlight of any stay in Lamu."                                                                                     

~Shawn

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The true heart of the Tusitiri lies in its ability to connect you with the wonders of the Lamu archipelago, a treasure trove of Swahili culture. With Lamu as her home, Tusitiri offers an opportunity to explore the ancient town's labyrinthine streets and discover the captivating beauty of the Kenyan coast in a way that's both luxurious and respectfully connected to the region's deep heritage

Whether you choose a day trip or an extended sailing safari, the professional crew, some of whom have sailed Tusitiri for over two decades, will guide you to hidden gems. For the adventurous soul, the dhow comes equipped with all the necessary gear for fishing and water sports.

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Tusitiri dhow offers more than just a scenic voyage; it's a journey that blends history, luxury, and cultural immersion. Get ready for a truly unforgettable travel experience and discover the magic of the Lamu Archipelago aboard this remarkable dhow.

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