There’s something unanimously attractive about stories. An article by Wired shares that it’s because storytelling is so central to human existence. From the Maasai to the Romans to the Aboriginals, stories have always existed- as both an educative and bonding tool for people all over the world.
Photo by A Little Drift
As such, even when it comes to items and places, we are always seeking stories, to be part of, observe or to simply learn from. So whether you want to get your creative juices flowing or simply have a piece of the past in the present, here are two beach and bush destinations we recommend visiting!
The history of Lamu is well preserved, both through text and in the essence of the town itself. Elements of the past are visible in the architecture, the food and even the languages. Kinooni House is part of the island’s glittering history as a trade hub.
The name ‘Kinooni’ translates to ‘the place of the sharpening stone’. Once the home of the Governor of Lamu, who was then the emissary to the Sultan of Zanzibar in the end of the 18th century, it has now been carefully restored with traditional Swahili design and craftsmanship to bring back the elegance, simplicity and grandeur of the original mansion.
While the rough exterior of Kinooni may not catch the eye immediately, the property opens up into numerous verandahs and terraces. Michel Reilhac, successful film maker and owner of Kinooni speculates that the palace had to be vastly spacious as the governor would have required different quarters for his male and female entourage. Even today, living in the house a luxurious pleasure. The rooms each have their own bathroom and are quite independent from one another. They also each have a double beds meaning the house can host a total of 8 guests.
Moving up from the Coast into the grasslands of Laikipia is Olepangi Farm, another Nomad favourite. Initially intended to be a family weekend escape, Elizabeth Loker and her late husband Clinton Lucy, dreamed of turning the area of dry, un-fertile land into a sustainable farm. Using only organic practices, Olepangi opened in 2014 with what is now an ever- changing garden, highly productive 1.5-acre vegetable patch and a small but efficient dairy herd. Food makes a house a home and every meal at Olepangi is ‘farm to fork’.
Adding to the farm’s eco-friendly charm is the unique biophilic design of Olepangi’s spaces. A testament to the couple’s love for the earth. Take the ‘Party House’ for instance, the layout of the room is done with a number of pre-historic elements in mind. Humans evolved as a species living in caves with a wall to our backs, often elevated in high spaces with views down the valley to be on watch for predators or invaders and with the sound of water in the distance. The Party House is designed with all these characteristics in mind. It is an extremely cosseting, comforting space where guests have often told the hosts they immediately feel at home.
The makuti-thatched building also houses the hosts’ personal collection of antique furniture, tribal textiles, oriental rugs and all kinds of interesting objets d’art collected from their travels around the world. Among these is a near 700-year old bowl Elizabeth got in South Asia.
Guests find a quiet escape in the sitting room with a book from the eclectic library or to enjoy afternoon tea or even join afternoon yoga on the deck. In the evening, the fire is lit and guests gather to enjoy drinks before dinner in the dining room.
Borne from the couple’s appreciation for nature, art and beauty, it is designed to create a space where people and communities come together to share and learn; and for the artist, to create an exceptional experience for those seeking the time and mental space to investigate new ideas and deepen artistic inquiry.
The program is open to all thinkers and creatives and will consider anyone with deep interest and already well-developed skill in visual arts, writing, culinary arts, composers, musicians, scholars, filmmakers, architects and more.