People opt for beach destinations such as Zanzibar or Mombasa that the less known Lamu Island is overlooked. Lamu Island is on the Kenyan coast. It has a special charm and presents the Swahili architecture that it has earned the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Lamu Island is an enchanting island that is rich in history. Lamu is a small fishing village island not receiving many tourists that it has secured spots and is untouched.
Places of attraction
Explore Lamu Old City
Walk through the narrow streets and you will see most houses and buildings date to the 17th century and gives a feel of stepping into the history of hundreds of years. The authentic grittiness is retained and there are the ancient traditions preserved. Visit the Lamu Fort and learn about the history of this island. This fort was a slave gateway and is now a prison.
Lamu vacation and relaxation permeates that there is no other way than getting deep into the sensational sunsets on a dhow, sipping a sundowner. A Dhow is a traditional sailboat. Enjoy seeing the Indian Ocean without any interruption. The dhows are available readily, but the best is to negotiate the price with the captain.
Visit Manda Island and Shela Village
Manda Island is an extended stretch of palms-lined and sand backdrop that it cannot be a bad photograph taken from any angle. There is enough of kayaking and waterboarding available at Manda Bay.
Shela village is less crowded and takes 15 minutes by boat. The beaches are pristine and offer a sand-in-feet experience. Get a birds-eye view and walk up the dunes.
Indulge in Swahili dishes
Lamu offers an eclectic mix of cultures (Indian, Portuguese, and Arab). It has the local Swahili food as genuine taste indulging in fresh seafood featuring coconut rice with local spices or the local nan is available. Breakfast is on having mahamari (spiced doughnuts) served with peas cooked using coconut milk.
Visit during festivals
Lamu has numerous festivals and there is a jamboree of activities such as a donkey race, traditional dancing, and a dhow competition.
Things to do
- Do Nothing. Sit on a terrace with a great book, passion fruit drink or an amazing coffee in the morning. In noon go on a dhow with a sundowner or just ease.
- Explore Lamu Town. Visit the town for a real treat, you will love the Swahili designs. Stop for the wood workshops and grab a bite from the local food street vendors.
- Visit neighboring Islands. There are never large crowds and enjoy the endless white sand beaches for miles and carry your drinks and food. Go snorkeling and relax on the beach.
How to access
Lamu is a remote place, catch any of the flights and reach Jomo Kenyatta Airport or Wilson Airport. Flights leaving from Mombasa reach Lamu in 45 minutes.
Going by bus from Malindi or Mombasa is possible. As it does not receive many visitors, the roads are not smooth.
Best time to visit
Lamu Island can be visited any time to enjoy the unsurpassed vacation on the Indian Ocean. Yet,
- The best time to visit is during dry seasons from July to October.
- January to February is also considered the dry season.
- A conservative island with predominantly Muslims, so ladies respect their culture and dress properly.
- Donkey is the main mode of transport.