Have Bikini. Will Travel: Mike's Camp, Kiwayu Island

August 03, 2019

Have Bikini. Will Travel: Mike's Camp, Kiwayu Island

One of the things I like best about travelling is the journey itself. The harder it is to get there, the more I like it. Getting to Mike's Camp is not easy, but the journey alone is enough to make you fall in love with this island and never leave.

The camp is tucked away on the small remote island of Kiwayu, part of the Lamu Archipelago, and only forty kilometres south of Somalia. Arriving there is like discovering Robinson Crusoe's island. No cars, no people, just a sliver of acacia-covered sand dunes, a few thatched huts, and a 10km stretch of white sandy beach.

To get there, you fly from Nairobi to Lamu. Then you take a speedboat (2 hours) or a dhow (6 hours). The journey itself is exhilarating, gliding through the mangroves of the archipelago without a care in the world. At one point we were stopped by the Kenyan navy. They take security seriously here.

We arrived for a late lunch. Dawas (the signature cocktail in Kenya), and fresh grilled fish. We ate. We drank. Afterwards I did some yoga, and lay in my hammock watching the sun soften into the horizon.

Mike's Camp jetty Lunch at Mike's Camp 
The view from Milimani The Hammock, Milimani

Later we swam in the sea, watched the sun go down with cocktails in hand, and feasted on giant crabs cooked with garlic butter. 


The next day Mike took us fishing in the Kiunga Marine Reserve. We trawled (successfully) for giant rock cod and snapper. We stopped to admire fish eagles, and sipped on a Stoney while basking in the sunshine.


Later that day I took over the kitchen and made fresh pasta with a chilli squid sauce. I watched as my commis chef dissected giant fresh-caught yellow fin tuna, which we ate that evening sashimi-style with champagne.

Mike has a soft spot for hot chilli sauce, which he buys from around the world and keeps in the safe. We had a chilli tasting competition at every meal. There was The Hellboy, Trinidad Scorpion, Culley's Brutality, and Akabanga. Needless to say, there is no chilli sauce in the world too hot for me (my dad made me eat whole chillis as a kid). I won.


We left on Sunday morning after taking a tour of the camp. It wasn't long enough. In season (Sep-Mar) the water is crystal clear. Activities are endless. There is snorkelling, kite-surfing, motorbike riding along the beach, visits to ancient ruins, and deep sea fishing. It is paradise found. Of all the places I've been to in the world, this place is one of the most charming and magical. Go now.

Best season: September - March, when the water is crystal clear and perfect for snorkelling. But even in off-season (I went in July/August), the weather was sunny and the water warm enough for swimming.

Visit www.mikescampkiwayu.com

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