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Private Houses and Villas are often overlooked by visitors to Kenya- yet they offer an extremely comfortable and affordable option in a wide range of locations –beach, bush, mountains and lakes, ranging from luxurious private villas to basic self catering cottages- and there are some exciting new properties now available.

When planning a trip to Kenya and looking at the great range of safari lodges, camps, beach resorts and city hotels available, not many travellers consider renting a private house, villa or cottage- or can imagine how this could be organized within a safari or beach trip.

It’s a lot easier than you think.

In Kenya, the term self-catering is different to many otherdestinations. Most houses or cottages available for tourists come with house staff and cooks to take care of all the chores- and local transport can be easily organized.

An agency such as Kenya Safari Homes has hundreds of houses on their books, from simple cottages to grand colonial mansions- and is also a travel agency, which means that they can organize your transport and help you put together a complete package.

One of the most popular regions for houses and villas is the Kenyan Coast. From its southern most point of Shimoni to the exotic island of Lamu in the North the Coast is dotted with beautiful beach houses.

Your own beach house frees you from the routines and constraints of a hotel or resort- so you can plan your own day, your own activities and your own menu.

In most beach houses, local fisherman stop by each day to show off and sell their catch of the day –sea fresh crabs, prawns, lobsters and snapper. You can even order ahead and specify exactly what you want, and decide with the house cook and decide how and when you want your meals prepared.

Coastal houses are ideal for honeymoons or a romantic getaway- Imagine waking up to a beautiful sunrise over the Indian Ocean with a perfect palm fringed view from your own bedroom window- then wander down to the beach and enjoy a lazy swim in the sea or your own private pool.

You can decide to do as little or much as you want, when you want. A holiday in a private house is perfect for either couples, or for families or a group of friends.

A new property on the books at Kenya Safari Homes is Kamili House, beautifully situated on a clifftop overlooking both the open ocean and the calm waters of Kilifi Creek.

Kilifi is a popular anchorage with private yachts, and there is a marina on the wide creek, which is bridged by the main road North to Malindi from Mombasa.

The house has a large open plan living and dining area fronted by a long verandah lined with 4 bedrooms. The house is designed to take advantage of the continuous refreshing sea breezes, with fine flowing curtains in each doorway that drift gently on the breeze throughout the night and day.

The house is surrounded by a huge landscaped garden, with owns private swimming pool with an ocean view. A gateway provides access down a winding path to the beach and a series of tidal rockpools that are ideal for exploring throughout the day.

At Kamili it is possible to walk along the shore of the creek, or along quiet back country lanes to the sleepy town of Kilifi, and the Mnarani ruins of a traditional Swahili lighthouse.

This is an ideal place for anyone looking for a peaceful retreat, and to relax in completely idyllic, quiet surrounds.

The house is fully staffed, there is plenty of fresh seafood and produce available locally and there is even a friendly resident dog called Snap to keep you company.

Further North, just off the main road to Malindi, the little coastal town of Watamu is one of Kenya’s best hidden treasures. Consistently ranked as one of the world’s best beaches, Watamu is an earthly paradise.

The majority of the beach lies within the Watamu Marine Reserve, a protected zone that has kept the beach undeveloped, pristine and unspoilt.

The wide white beach is lined with private houses, with access to the beautiful reef fringed beach, known for its nesting sites of rare sea turtles.

The beach is bordered by the Arabuko Sokoke Forest, one of the East Africa’s last indigenous coastal forests, home to remarkable range of rare and endemic wildlife, including herds of forest elephants, the Sokoke Forest Cat, and the Sokoke Scops owl, one of the planet’s rarest birds.

The latest house available in Watamu is Lamu Heights, a fantastically designed multi-story home that combines traditional Swahili architecture with modern design.

The 3 bedroom beachfront house makes the most of its prime position, with large open decks, rooftop terraces and bedrooms open to the sea. The house has a central infinity pool that seems to merge with the waters of the Indian Ocean that stretch to the horizon.

The pool feeds a waterfall that cascades down the façade of the house over a coral and rock wall between the bedrooms, creating a perfect blend of natural sights and sounds.

One of the coast’s most stunning beach houses is Alfajiri located at Diani on the South Coast.

Alfajiri consists of three separate luxurius villas, each one luxuriously appointed with breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean, and direct beach access.

The turret suite of the main cliff villa was described by Harper’s Bazaar as “one of the world’s most romantic bedrooms”, with amazing 270 degree ocean views through floor to ceiling picture windows.

With an incredible range of local activities including sailing, scuba diving, windsurfing and game safaris in nearby reserves, and world class service and cuisine, it’s little wonder that Alfajiri’s guest book includes many famous names including Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Not all of Kenya’s best houses and villas are on the coast.

Just an hour outside Nairobi is Raha Mstarehe, (Kiswahili for "tranquility"), a large open plan house overlooking the Rift Valley escarpment.

The 4 bedroom house, with another two bedroom cottage and a squash court on the grounds, is set on 45 acres, with views across the Rift Valley to the Gol Mountains in the Serengeti, the Ngorongoro Highlands, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Kenya and Mt. Meru.

The landscaped gardens are rich with birdlife, and each day spent at the house comes complete with a stunning sunset. For bookings contact Kenya Safari Homes.

Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) also have a selection of cottages, wardens homes and private lodges available in National Parks and Reserves across the country. These are ideal for budget travelers or a group traveling with their own vehicle.

These include private cottages by beautiful flamingo fringed Lake Nakuru, a fishing lodge by the clear montane streams of the Aberdares, a former Warden’s cottage on the slopes of Mt Kenya, hikers bandas in the Kakamega Rainforest and many more.

For full details-click here

From Beach to bush, basic to luxury- staying in a Kenyan homestay, villa or cottage offers a new persepctive on the country, and your own personal piece of paradise.
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