“The Jewel Of Kenya” is the name given to the Lamu archipelago. The island is a beautiful place of dunes and beaches of endless white sand, where small towns settle between coconut and mango plantations and the dhows sail through its waters.
Lamu is a place like no other, a quiet tropical island, where life is lived at its own relaxed pace and with a story as mysterious and fascinating as the streets of its ancient stone city. Located on the northern coast of Kenya, 341 kilometers from Mombasa and about 80 kilometers from Somalia, Lamu can be classified as one of the most authentic and charming places in the country.
A corner with charm!
To visit Lamu is to enter another world. It will be an exotic and hypnotic experience,, as life slows down, and long days are spent walking along the seashore, exploring the city or relaxing on the beaches.
This tropical island is constituted by the island of Manda, where the airport is, the islands of Pate and small uninhabited islets, being the old town of Lamu or “Lamu Town” the main town of the island, and considered one of the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlements in all of East Africa.
Upon arriving in Lamu you will realize that the majority of its population is Muslim, this due to the large amount of trade in tropical woods, ebony, ivory, animal skins and slaves between the Arabian peninsula and the entire East coast of Africa centuries ago, what led to the introduction of the Muslim religion in the Swahili culture.
A true refuge in a modern world.
Still untouched by mass tourism, Lamu is a place like no other. Life here revolves around long walks on the beach, dhow navigation and exploration of ancient Swahili settlements, with their coral stone houses. Visiting Lamu will surely give you the opportunity to live unforgettable experiences.
Dhow safaris can take you beyond Lamu, to the surrounding archipelago, where isolated villages, ancient ruins and a few luxurious and exclusive resorts are hidden among the islands of Manda, Siyu, Pate, and Kiwayu.
Walking along deserted beaches is another unique experience and the best places to do it are a couple of kilometers south of the city of Lamu, on the eastern tip of the island, where the canal opens out to the ocean, around the village of Shela, a place of great natural beauty with coral atolls, mangroves, remote archipelagos, and isolated lagoons. However, it is the white sand beaches what impresses you the most.
Exploring the narrow streets of the ancient city of Lamu will also give you an opportunity to get to know the Swahili city, dated in the 12th century, making it the oldest inhabited city in Kenya, comparable only, to the city of Zanzibar in Tanzania. With its old fortress, its carved wooden doors, the bustling markets, and the ubiquitous donkeys, the Swahili city is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
The village of Shela, is a labyrinth of narrow streets meandering between tall stone houses, small thatched huts, and a few ruined mosques. That will make you transport on time.
What to do on the island of Lamu?
In addition to walking and taking a bath in one of its endless white sand beaches and undulating dunes, you can visit the old Lamu Town and the Fort of Lamu, built by the Arabs in the 19th century, which will allow you access to the Museum of Lamu, where you can see all kinds of pieces from the Swahili culture.
The day trip on a sailboat along the coast of Lamu, apart from relaxing, will teach you the traditional fishing techniques the locals use, and then you can have a delicious fish barbecue. After a banquet, you can swim in the open sea, in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, and visit one of the beaches to take a dip and go for a walk.
You also have to go to the “Floating Bar” to drink a good Tusker beer. This is a floating bar in the middle of the channel that separates the island of Lamu from the island of Manda, the only place where they sell alcohol throughout the island, since the majority of the population is Muslim.
The island of Lamu is definitely a place to fall in love with at first sight, with its incomparable activities to do it has received travelers for over a thousand years. It is a magical place, rich in history and culture, endowed with a fascinating architecture that you can not stop admiring.
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