Home >> Blog >> Lamu Island Kenya – The Sandy Haven
Lamu Island Kenya

Lamu Island Kenya – The Sandy Haven

Lamu Island in Kenya is an incredible tourist destination and is a peaceful tropical island where you expect to have a blissful and relaxed moment.

While here, you can tour Lamu Museum, which has a two-centuries-old Lamu Fort.

In addition, you can also visit the re-established Swahili House Museum and the famous Shela Beach that is a 30-minutes walk north of the town.

Tourists at Lamu Island in Kenya establish fond memories of walking in the beautiful beaches and rolling dunes.

There are small villages situated amongst the coconut and mango plantations and lateen sailed dhows ply the oceans.

The island’s ancient streets, the market, and regions around the fort have not been changed.

Did you know that the island has no vehicles? Well, donkeys and the dhows are the dominant means of transportation.

In addition, the locals are believers in their culture and traditions.

Visiting Lamu is like traveling to another world – it offers you a relaxed environment and you will love to spend the long days either:

  • Strolling along the beachfront
  • Touring the town, or
  • Relaxing on the seashores among other activities

In essence, Lamu is very interesting to explore, a hypnotically exciting place to tour, and more incredible with the friendly locals.

Lamu Island History

Lamu has an incredible and mysterious history of the fascinating and winding streets of its feudal stone town.

The main city on the island has the same name – Lamu…

Situated on Kenya’s northeastern coast, this serene Island was established in the 14th century.

It is the country’s oldest living town and is known as the best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa.

How to get to Lamu Island

Lamu is easily accessible by air. There are scheduled trips every day from Nairobi, Mombasa, Diani Beach, and Malindi.

The Island has an airstrip on the neighboring Manda Island and the airfield can also be accessed by private tourists.

Kindly Contact us for inquiries and bookings to this amazing island.

Things to do at Lamu Island

Lamu has a unique coastal culture, which is an outcome of a long and rich history.

Portuguese and Arab forts, feudal towns, and deserted remnants of Swahili outposts are evidence of the centuries of trade between Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

The Island of Lamu embodies this legacy and is an exceptional place to tour.

Life here rotates around long beach strolls, dhow sailing, and the study of the old Swahili settlements and culture that incorporates their distinctive coral-stone townhouses.

Below we share with you the various activities you can undertake while here…

Walking along deserted beaches and streets

You will certainly enjoy walking on the deserted beaches with amazing driftwood while watching dolphins offshore.

The best areas for a beach stroll are some kilometers south of Lamu Town, on the eastern side of the island where the channel merges into the ocean, nearby the famous Shela village.

Additionally, this village offers you an attractive beachfront and junk of slender sandy pathways.

Shela village is not far from sand mounds and the isolated beach.

You can also explore the incredible streets as well as an ancient fort, built with beautifully carved doors.

Visiting the busy markets is a great experience and enjoying a donkey ride in the town is breathtaking.

The town’s vast wildlife, beautiful scenery, and rich culture have made it to be recognized as a World Heritage Site.

Sail the traditional dhow

There are no vehicles on Lamu Island thus dhows and donkeys remain the dominant modes of transport around the island.

The only cars available on the island are two; one which belongs to the governor and is preserved for official occasions, and the other is an ambulance.

Acquisition of a dhow for a luxurious cruise around the archipelago is an incredible experience that you should not miss when touring the island.

Renting a Gorgeous Swahili Townhouse

Shela village is famous for western expatriates and celebrities, who tour the area during their vacations.

Most of the townhouses are owned by them and at times they opt to live here while on a visit.

Well, these townhouses are beautifully refurbished and transformed into amazing guesthouses.

Full of character and realism, these townhouses make Lamu unique; especially the stunning Jaha house.

Exploring the Shela Village

While touring Shela, you cannot afford to miss navigating the sand-lined maze of pathways of this small settlement.

It has so many donkey-wide backstreets, winding amongst the tall stone townhouses.

Additionally, the village has small-sized thatched huts, a few mosques, ruins, and an expansive square ringed with some market stands.

Sunset gaze on Manda Island

The uninhabited Manda Island situated just across the channel from Shela offers the best spots for observing the magnificent African sun setting behind Lamu.

You can also have a glance at the village, the Fort of Shela, the palm-fringed deserted beaches.

You can also possibly enjoy a sundowner, for instance, the beautiful Majlis.

Touring the Ruined City of Takwa

The Manda Island was once known as the Kenya coast’s largest settlement, but the settlers of the area abandoned the town in the 17th century.

The cause of immigrants leaving the city is argued, but the most likely reason was the exhaustion of freshwater on the island.

Currently, the coral stone remnants are a popular destination for tourists from Lamu or Shela.

Feast on the Swahili Food

The intercontinental trade with Oman, India, Zanzibar, and other continents introduced new goods, brought new styles, and transformed the cuisine of Lamu.

It brought a unique and classy mixture of Eastern and African, more advanced than the ancient diet of the locals.

The common foodstuffs to be introduced are curries and pasta, well-prepared coconut rice with mango chutney.

The highlight of it all is the sweet seafood; which is productive of a palette of flavors improved by cinnamon and fresh coconut milk.

Visiting the Vegetable Market for a Culture Study

Lamu Island’s beautiful narrow streets have not been changed for decades.

Lamu’s Muslim locals act similar to their forefathers but with a significant distinction.

Currently, the Island’s economy rotates around tourism.

However, the antique markets still remain the main source of income for the residents.

Book a Lamu Island Safari

Lamu is the best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa. Way back from the 14th century, the safari destination island boasts of an enchanting culture mix of Indians, Arabs, and Africans.

Lamu old town has a wealth of beautiful historical buildings, marking it as a coastal zone for the best safaris in Kenya.

Visit the Lamu Museum and learn about the island’s rich architecture and history.

You will learn about the famous Lamu Fort, which was built between 1810 and 1823 by the Pate’s Sultan.

And yes, you will enjoy the dhow boat ride from Shela beach making your exploration a memorable one.

The winding streets of the town are perfect for donkey or foot exploration as you shop for batik and woodcarvings.

Lamu is a delightful and authentic place to be in.

We welcome you to talk to our tour experts and get to this island. We promise that you will never forget it.

You may also like to read more about:

We love your feedback. Kindly share with us your comments and thoughts via the comment form below…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.