herald

Tuesday 21 August 2018

I'm just back from Kenya coast

IT'S the ultimate in paradise -- golden sands upon which the warm waters of the Indian Ocean lap up. I just recently returned from the area.

Realistically only accessible by small, and expensive, planes from the Kenyan capital Nairobi, the Lamu archipelago of islands is a rich traveller's playground.



grim

I stayed just a mile or two from the scene of the latest incident where grim reality has intruded on the brochure dreams of holidaymakers and honeymooners.

Visiting Lamu just a few months ago, it was hard to believe this majestic area was just a short distance from the basket case that is Somalia.

Like the tragic couple's resort, ours was five star, where the only issue was whether to lie in the hammock or head off for a swim in the pristine waters.

Prince William and Kate Middleton considered honeymooning in the area. A-list celebs have been drawn to the area around Lamu town, a sleepy Medieval settlement that was part of the hippy trail of the 1960s.



donkey

The likes of Prince Albert have a sprawling residence in upmarket Shela, and it's an area that's not in the main tourist brochures.

Today, there's only one car in the main town -- and the donkey reigns supreme as the mode of transport in this heavily Muslim town.

We travelled around the islands by the traditional dhow -- ancient vessels reflecting the area's trading links with the Arabian peninsula.

And fear was never an issue.



comical

The one boat we saw with a comical pirate flag was used by holidaymakers and their children for sightseeing trips around the myriad islands that make up this remote, but beautiful area.

Now, as with other honeymoon hot spots like Mauritius and the Caribbean, that dream has become a nightmare for one tragic couple.

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