Lamu is a place like no other, a peaceful tropical island, with a magic of its own. Made up of a collection of idyllic islands at the northern end of Kenya’s coastline, the Lamu Archipelago is living history. Made up of a wealth of beautiful, historic buildings, a visit to Lamu promises nothing but an original, authentic coastal experience. There are four main islands: Lamu, Manda, Pate and Kiwayu. The Old Town’s narrow alleys, Arabic architecture, fort and mosques speak of age old culture, while the surrounding beaches and reefs sparkle in the sunshine.
Lamu Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001. It is the oldest and best preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa. Lamu has been inhabited continuously for over 700 years and it has preserved its culture and traditions. There are no vehicles on the islands. Residents and visitors walk, ride donkeys or take boats. The people of Lamu are predominantly Muslim. Activities include dhow cruises, water sports, fishing and birdwatching. The main festivals include the Lamu Cultural Festival and the Islamic Festival of Maulidi.
- Lamu is best accessed by air
- There are scheduled flights from Nairobi, Mombasa, Diani Beach and Malindi
- The island is serviced by an airstrip on neighbouring Manda Island
- The airstrip can also be used by private charters
- Dhows ferry arriving visitors to either Lamu town or Shela
- There are no vehicles in Lamu, the winding streets are best explored on foot
- Shela village and the beaches are also accessible on foot
- Dhows regularly ferry passengers between Lamu Town and Shela
- Organized dhow safaris can be used to travel to the surrounding islands Manda, Pate and Siyu
- Donkeys are available for hire to ride around the island