Why you should visit Lamu? The Lamu Archipelago, which consists of the stunning Indian Ocean islands Lamu, Manda, Pate, Kiwayu, and Manda Toto, is located just off the coast of northern Kenya. Especially in contrast to the more populated and developed central and southern areas of the coast, these islands—which are also of great natural beauty and cultural and historical significance—are definitely worth visiting for a more sedate and private Kenya beach safari vacation.
The Lamu Archipelago, which was mostly unexplored until recently, is now home to some opulently expensive lodging in breathtaking settings. Activities include historical walking tours, dhow sailing expeditions, sea kayaking, snorkelling and scuba diving (best between November and March when the water is clearest), and diving with dolphins. These are popular add-ons after a safari. The best method to get to the archipelago is by plane. The airport is on Manda Island, from which you will take a boat to your hotel or resort.
The most well-known and developed of the islands is Lamu, which has been a focus of Islamic and Swahili culture for more than 700 years and is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001. Its hotels have earned a well-earned reputation for providing excellent “barefoot luxury” experiences. When vacationing in Lamu, you may anticipate fantastic beaches, stunning coral reefs, an abundance of activities, delicious food, and discreet, kind service.
You should explore Lamu Old Town, either on your own or as part of a guided tour. There are many places to buy leather goods, silver jewellery, and traditional attire. Keep in mind that Islamic Lamu Island is a conservative place, therefore guests would be well to observe suggested dress codes and show consideration for the traditions of the community when not at the beaches.
Lower level of development Just across the slender canal from Lamu Island, Manda Island has a more intimate vibe. Almost completely deserted, the island is home to several significant archaeological monuments, including the abandoned villages of Takwa and Manda, in addition to the archipelago’s airport. When the sites were excavated, Chinese porcelain and Islamic ceramics were discovered, revealing the sites’ historical history.
How to get there
By plane is the most convenient way to go to Lamu. Nairobi’s Manda Airport is served by daily flights operated by Safarilink (with whom I flew), Jambojet, Skyward Express, Fly540, and Hahn Air to Manda Island. Direct flights are also available from Mombasa and Malindi.
To get to Lamu Island, take a quick boat journey from the airport. You can schedule transfers through your hotel or directly upon arrival, as there are typically drivers and boats ready to go.
It’s recommended not to drive owing to safety concerns in the area, but you could take a bus or drive to the coast and leave your car in Mokowe (you still need to take a boat over to Lamu). Additionally, leaving your car unattended is not a good idea.
In Lamu, there are some excellent places to stay. Our accommodations are in the sleepy village of Shela, which is situated near to the stunning 12-kilometer beach on the southeast part of the island of Lamu. On Manda Island, which is not on Lamu but is only a short boat trip away, or in Lamu Town proper, you can also choose to stay.
Why you should visit Lamu? Shela
At Shela Banana House, this is a fantastic place to stay . The surrounds are pleasant and cosy, the pool is gorgeous, our Swahili-style room was excellent, and there’s a yoga studio on site. In the centre of Shela, close to Banana House, is Jua House, a charming and elegant bed and breakfast in the Swahili style.
Peponi Hotel: Known for its stunning pool and well-liked restaurant, the Peponi Hotel is a Lamu institution that is well situated overlooking the bay.
Amani Lamu: Behind Shela, among the sand dunes, is a stunning home.
Why you should visit Lamu? Lamu
Check out this hostel, Dudu Villas & Lamu Backpackers, if you’re on a tight budget. The main area of Shela is a short stroll away, but considering that accommodations start at about $8, you really can’t complain. The beautiful Lamu Town Makubwa House hotel is situated in the heart of the historic town. Affordable lodging in the centre of Lamu Town is available at Jambo House.
The lovely Lamu House Hotel is situated by the waterfront. The restaurant, Moonrise Restaurant, is a well-liked gathering place and features a lovely pool. Although I didn’t eat there, restaurant had good reviews.
Why you should visit Lamu? Manda Island
Situated directly on the beach with a stunning view of Shela is the most opulent hotel in the area.
Why you should visit Lamu? The Majlis Resort. If you don’t stay, maybe stop by the restaurant for a little treat. Adjacent to The Majlis Resort.
Diamond Beach Village is a family-run eco-lodge situated directly on the shore. This is a cost-effective and sensible option.
Kipungani Beach Cabanas Eco Lodge: Located on Lamu’s farthest southwest tip, this eco-lodge is where Kenya and Hawaii collide. You can come for dinner and lunch as well. You may also walk along the coastline for three hours from Shela, if you’re game.
Things to do in Lamu
Nature walk to Lamu Town
It is definitely worthwhile to go on a guided tour of Lamu Town because it is incredibly distinctive, fascinating, and rich in history. We made our guide reservation with Hamza at Banana House. He was a very pleasant, well-informed, and kind individual.
With its amazing Swahili heritage, a maze of streets, stone buildings spanning back centuries, and elaborate doors of Arab, Portuguese, Omani, and Indian origin, Lamu Town reminds me of a smaller, less chaotic version of Stone Town in Zanzibar.
From Shela, Kenya safari tours travelled to Lamu Town by boat, which took about fifteen minutes. Alternatively, you can walk (40 minutes) or take a boda boda (motorbike).
See the Ruins at Takwa
On Manda Island, the Takwa Ruins are the remnants of a town from the sixteenth century. While you’re there, you can also go to the settlement of Maweni, which is the source of the coral used to build Lamu’s structures.
Take a Swim in the Sunrise and Stroll the 12-kilometer Beach
On your kenya safari tours wake up early on your safari trip in Lamu (6am) take a stroll down the stunning white sand beach just like the Tofo Beach in Mozambique and swim in the quiet ocean at daybreak. Although we observed a number of other walkers, joggers, dog walkers, and swimmers who shared this notion, it felt like a fairly popular activity, and the beach is so large that it didn’t feel crowded at all.
Every year, Lamu holds a number of festivals and events, such as the Maulid Festival (typically held in June), the Lamu Yoga Festival (held in March), and the Lamu Cultural Festival (held in November).