Lamu Writing Retreat

Mon Sep 13, 18:00 - Sat Sep 18, 18:00
Peponi Hotel

What to do when everything has changed but our need to connect, gather and create, is stronger than ever? The Littlegig 24 Hour Festival team has been pondering this. And we have big plans brewing. But now is still the time for the small and intimate (but no less wondrous), so we are excited to present our first Littlegig Retreat, designed for these times. 

The Lamu Writing Retreat will take place in Lamu, Kenya from 13-17 September 2021 at the famed Peponi Hotel, in the tiny village of Shela, on Lamu Island.

Since the 1960’s, Lamu has attracted artists and nomads, writers and seekers. They have been enchanted by its hundreds of years of invaders and influences, its vast empty beaches, those white sails against that blue sea. Stand on their shoulders, as you embark on your own creative journey. 

While Sarah Bullen of The Writing Room, as your writing coach and facilitator, will make sure that you take your writing to the next level, Georgia Black, founder of Littlegig, has developed a programme of extraordinary events so that you experience the full magic of Lamu, from world-class yoga to moonlight dhow trips. 

Join Sarah, Georgia, and a group of 10 other writers and creatives on this secret archipelago off the East African coast of Kenya. This is the place to discover your story, to connect, to rest and dream.


The legendary seafront hotel, which has been in the same family for over 50 years, is the epicentre of Shela. It has lovely, airy rooms in whitewashed buildings, and plenty of shady nooks and hammocks, perfect for reading and writing.

Its bougainvillea-shaded terrace overlooking the Lamu Channel is Shela’s famed sundowner spot. And the hotel restaurant has some of the best food in East Africa. From the restaurant, down the few steps to the beach, you can keep walking for miles along a deserted beach with palm-covered dunes. 


You, if you need an adventure, mixed with the gift of time and space to get going on your project, in an extraordinary island setting. You will join an international mix of travellers, memoir writers, novelists, bloggers, Masters students, poets and playwrights. And you don’t need to have a grand project in progress. Some of you may be halfway through a novel, some may come simply to write a special letter, and others may choose to spend the days just dreaming and reflecting before you get started on your writing. 


This Retreat is charged in ZAR, as Littlegig and The Writing Room operate out of South Africa. The dollar price for the retreat is 2,000USD. Quicket accepts all major credit cards as well as instant transfers. You will not incur any additional bank costs if you are paying from a bank account located outside South Africa.

For more information about Sarah Bullen and The Writing Room visit, email [email protected], or call her on +27 82 373 6129

For more information about Georgia Black and Littlegig visit, email [email protected], or call her on +27 82 389 5151

For more information about The Peponi visit

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What's Included


This is our suggested structure, though you are invited to do what you and your retreat most need. 


* Morning yoga at the renowned Banana House studio.

* Daily group or individual writing time.

* One individual session with Sarah during your stay, which will focus on planning your project, or receiving writing feedback.

* Optional evening feedback session.

* A massage, a snorkelling trip, or a barbeque on a deserted beach. 

* Drinks and dinner together each evening in various restaurants and locations around Lamu and Manda Islands



* 5 nights’ accommodation (including delicious breakfasts) at the Peponi Hotel

* Transport to and from Lamu Airport by boat to the Peponi (20 minutes).

* A structured writing journey for your full retreat. 

* Daily group writing sessions, for those who wish.

* An individual session with Sarah.

* A group lunch. For the rest, we encourage you to explore the island or the hotel grounds.

* An evening dhow cruise around the archipelago.

* Group sunset hour followed by dinners each night, either at the Peponi’s famous restaurant, a hotel on Manda beach, or in one of Lamu’s villas where a private chef will treat you with island-style deliciousness!

* Daily, onsite support by the Peponi’s wonderful team


* Flights, which you will need to book yourself. Please note that flights from Nairobi or Mombasa to Lamu are limited and on small aircraft, so don’t leave this leg of your booking too late. Please let us know if you would like us to refer you to our travel agent who has considerable experience with Lamu bookings. 

* Nairobi hotel and airport transfers, if your international flights require a stopover.  

* COVID test if you need one to return to your country. The hotel can arrange for a doctor to come to the Peponi to test you timeously.  

* Daily 9am yoga at Banana House’s renowned yoga studio.

* Alcohol, additional lunches and room service.

* Optional activities, which can be found at


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The Peponi Hotel has two different room categories - Standard and Superior. Included in your ticket price is a Standard room with its own bathroom and patio leading onto the beautiful Palm Garden. Should you wish to upgrade to a Superior room, please let us know. This will be subject to availability, allocated on a first-come first-served basis, and at an additional cost of 300USD. If you are planning on sharing a room with another guest on the retreat, please let us know, and we will send you revised accommodation rates. 

For more information visit

We know that it’s a brave time to plan a trip, so we will refund you 90% of your ticket price if you cancel before 13 August (1 month before the event) and 70% if you cancel up until 5 days before the event. Unfortunately no refunds in the 5 days before the event. If there is a COVID-related lockdown in Kenya which makes travel to Lamu impossible over the time of the retreat, you will get a full refund, minus a 5% administration fee.


It is your responsibility to make sure that your COVID testing admin is done correctly.

Below are the regulations, at the time of writing, if you are travelling between South Africa and Kenya. These could easily change, so please check your country’s regulations and make sure that you comply. 


A Negative Covid-10 PCR test must have been taken within 72 hours before leaving South Africa. Please note that this is not the rapid COVID test. 

Passengers must hold a QR code showing they have completed a screening questionnaire online less than 48 hours before leaving South Africa. This is completed online here:


A Negative Covid-10 PCR test must have been taken within 96 hours before departure from the first embarkation point.

Passengers must hold a QR code showing they have completed a Travelers Health Surveillance Form online prior to departure. This is completed online here:

Passengers are required to fill in a Passenger Locator Form during their flight to Kenya, due to the outbreak of Covid-19.


Passengers departing Kenya must hold a Trusted Travel Code code generated by verifying they have a valid negative Covid-19 test result. This is obtained online here:

For those returning home within 72 hours of the retreat’s end, we will arrange for a doctor to come to the Peponi to test you on Fri 17 September. This will be for your own account, and is 150USD. 


Passengers travelling to South Africa will be refused entry if they do not hold a printed medical certificate of a negative Covid-19 PCR test result obtained within 72 hours prior to departure, from the date of examination. 

Passengers travelling to South Africa must hold a QR code showing they have filled out the travel health questionnaire online at not more than 48 hours days before travel.

Passengers travelling to South Africa are encouraged to install the contact tracing app COVID Alert SA at, due to the outbreak of Covid-19.


Travel insurance is your responsibility. Please note that there are no visa requirements for South African passport holders travelling to Kenya. Remember to check that your passport is valid and has enough pages.


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