“Tusitiri is the most majestic private dhow – or lateen-rigged ship – in the known world, as well as the most luxuriously appointed and the most professionally run”
A traditional ocean-going dhow with a long history of trade and travel along the East African coast and the Indian Ocean, Tusitiri has been carefully and lovingly restored by its Norwegian owners and is today a majestic and comfortable passenger vessel.
While remaining traditional in style, Tusitiri has been fully converted for live-aboard guests. It offers an unusual and enchanting combination of simplicity and indulgence, tailored for Western guests while remaining completely authentic in design and spirit.
Life aboard is relaxing and laid-back and centred on Tusitiri’s wide and comfortable deck – furnished with Zanzibar chests, Persian rugs and brass lanterns. Sumptuous cushioned seating areas line the deck and the dining table is built around the solid wooden mast. Nights are spent on white linen under the stars and meals, accompanied by excellent house wines, are taken al fresco on the deck.
“This is one of the great romantic sea journeys of the world – the tranquillity of life on the dhow will make you shed layers of stress. Spending even one night on board is a magical experience and the chef is a genius, conjuring up extraordinary meals from a tiny alfresco galley on the poop deck.”
On overnight safaris guests sleep on comfortable bedding which is laid out on deck after dinner. Bathrobes and kickoy towels are supplied and below deck there are bathroom facilities and cabin space for luggage and dressing. There is an open air (hot) shower, a traditional dhow lavatory and a flushing lavatory below decks.
Tusitiri has ventured as far south as the Quirimbas islands in northern Mozambique, but is usually based in Lamu. The islands of the archipelago – Lamu, Manda, Pate and Kiwayu – and the seas around them offer so many opportunities for adventure and fun, and Tusitiri provides a unique and unusual base for exploring and enjoying the area.
All kinds of activities are available including snorkelling, water skiing, deep sea fishing, wake boarding, kayaking, creek fishing, guided walks and cultural visits. Tusitiri has three tenders for guests’ enjoyment and convenience – a Yamaha 31 footer rigged for deep sea fishing and diving and two Yamaha 23 footers for activities and exploring.
“Ply the relatively unexplored waters of East Africa in a traditional sailing dhow with a crew of 10 to look after just 10 guests. During the day, you can fish for tuna, snorkel and water ski; at night, after a sea-food feast, mattresses are laid on deck so everyone can fall asleep while watching meteors shoot across the Milky Way.”
John and Lulu Clark are Tusitiri’s on-board hosts. They are both second-generation Kenyans, as well as wildlife and ocean enthusiasts who have been involved with tourism in East Africa for many years. They can also advise and help with transport arrangements and will ensure that guests inbound and onward transfers are smooth and efficient.
The Tusitiri crew is made up of 8 experienced Bajuni sailors, whose sailing expertise has been learned and passed down over generations. There are two skilled chefs who prepare fresh and light Swahili-inspired meals in the open-air galley.
Specialities include mangrove crab and prawns freshly caught by local fishermen and, where possible, the catch from the days’ fishing trip. While the emphasis is on seafood, menus can be tailored to suit guests’ preferences and dietary requirements.
“Tusitiri trades in less-is-more elegance – guests sleep under the stars on beds rolled out on deck and bathroom facilities are alfresco. But with her Zanzibari antiques, Swahili textiles and freshly-caught and masterfully-prepared seafood, few on-board experiences can shimmer so close to the historical tradition of boat travel as this one.”
Tusitiri Dhow accommodates up to 10 guests, and all safaris are booked on an exclusive basis. Tusitiri is available for multi-day charters and expeditions, as well as one day or half day excursions from Lamu. Every booking and excursion is tailor-made to accommodate guests’ interests and requirements.