Dhow Days

Picking up a dhow cruise is straightforward enough, as you can make arrangements through your hotel (usually a very good idea, given the amount of bargaining that you'll otherwise be subjected to by the myriad fishermen offering this service). Alternatively, there's the totally upmarket and exclusive Tusitiri Dhow (tel. 073/364-9833; www.enasoit.com), which offers a unique opportunity to sail around the Lamu archipelago aboard a traditional Swahili ship with an 11-man crew and evocative decor. The boat is available for sundowner cruises (10-20 adults at $70 per person, with 3 hr. of music, drinks, and canap├ęs) or dinner (8-12 people for 6 hr. at $140 per head for a three-course meal with soft drinks, wine, and beer), but the ultimate is a 3-night safari where you stay on board. There are below-deck bathrooms, and your hosts provide linen, bathrobes, and towels, ensuring that this is a truly hassle-free experience. You sleep on deck under the stars on comfortable roll-up beds that are unfurled after dinner; there's space on board for up to 10 guests. By day, besides the incessant wining and dining (mostly fresh seafood, huge mangrove crabs, lobster, prawns, and the catch of the day), there's a range of activities (snorkeling, fishing, waterskiing, windsurfing, and other watersports) for when you tire of the languid exploration of the inland waters, deserted beaches, and island hideaways. Although there's a motor, when conditions allow, Tusitiri raises her sails and the wind powers you around in time-honored tradition. The cost is $3,000 per night for the hire of the boat, plus $80 per person full board, which includes accommodation, wine, beer, soft drinks, certain spirits, boat transfer, deep-sea and creek fishing, watersports, sundowners, and travel between the islands.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.