Lamu, Kenya—Reported by Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine

Since Lamu’s inscription as a World Heritage Site in 2001, the annual Lamu Cultural Festival has been a celebration of the unique Swahili heritage of Kenya’s Lamu Archipelago. Organized by the Lamu Cultural Promotion Group, this exclusive four-day festival showcases dances, local musical performances, craft making and unique competitions on water and land. Attendees will also be treated to Swahili poetry, donkey races, how races, henna painting, as well as being the audience in a Swahili bridal ceremony.

The Lamu Cultural festival is a wonderful opportunity to experience the island’s unspoiled beaches, medieval ambience, architecturally magnificent Old Town that has been a Swahili settlement for over 700 years, gracious population, and traditions of an enchanted island where history continues to live.

The luxury stay options are equally majestic, with The Majlis Hotel, a privately owned boutique hotel, facing Ras Kitau Bay and the soft murmur of the Indian Ocean waves. With 25 luxuriously appointed rooms and elegant architecture, The Majlis is an idyllic getaway for romantics seeking to explore another side of Kenya’s rich and diverse culture. The Majlis Hotel has the convenience of being close to Shela Village and Lamu Town.

The rustic Red Pepper House, by comparison, was initially built as a family home, this five-room hotel north of Lamu Town is set among neem and acacia trees. It is truly beautiful, with crystal chandeliers hung from an undulating makuti roof (designed by Mombasa-based architect Urko Sánchez) and tribal masks and colonial antiques dotted among traditional Swahili furniture, including pili pili beds decorated with peacocks (a symbol of passion). Meals can be taken overlooking the pale-aqua swimming pool or in your vast private boma, and the food is very tasty indeed (chef Mohamed Yakat Ali loves oriental flavors and techniques). There are sunset cruises to Shela Town on the hotel’s handsome new dhow, and day trips to Manda Toto to snorkel with octopus, lobster and lionfish.

Celebrate true African culture without giving up luxury amenities with Lamu Cultural Festival, Majlis Hotel and the Red Pepper House.