Lamu

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Lamu is a town in Coastal Kenya.

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Hotels

  • 5 star hotels 5 star hotel
  • 4 star hotels 4 star hotel
  • 3 star hotels 3 star hotel
  • 2 star hotels 2 star hotel
  • 1 star hotels 1 star hotel

Cities

  • Metropolis over 100 hotels
  • Big city 50-100 hotels
  • Medium city 20-50 hotels
  • Small city 5-20 hotels
  • Village below 5 hotels

Points of Interest

  • Beach Beach
  • Business object Business object
  • Casino Casino
  • Civic property Civic property
  • Education Education
  • Entertainment Entertainment
  • Golf course Golf course
  • Green space Green space
  • Harbor Harbor
  • Historic site Historic site
  • Interesting place Interesting place
  • Medical Medical
  • Monument Monument
  • Museum Museum
  • Shopping Shopping
  • Skiing Skiing
  • Sports facility Sports facility
  • Theater Theater
  • Winery Winery

Points of Interest in Lamu

a) Visit Shela beach on the South end of the Lamu island is a beautiful stretch of white sand and tiny broken sea shells. The walk from main Lamu town is only about a mile and a half and well worth it due to the locals you meet on the way. Watch for the young boys selling homemade samosas on the beach. They are delicious!

b) Lamu Museum:

Built in 1891, the Lamu Museum was the former residence of the British Governors during the colonial era. Here, you will experience and learn about the rich Swahili culture that is ever so evident in Lamu Town.

  • Map of Shela Village and Manda Island, Shela Village and Manda Island,  +254 0713370764. Hotels and Restaurants in Shela Village and Manda Island

Itineraries

You can explore the Lamu archipelago by dhow. A dhow is a traditional Arab sailing vessel with one or more lateen sails. It is primarily used along the coasts of the Arabian Peninsula, India, and East Africa. Dhow trips are the ultimate experience on a trip to Lamu. They are relatively inexpensive and you can go as far as Manda Island, Takwa Ruins or Matondoni. Kiwayu is the most pristine of the islands and it is in a biosphere reserve. Several companies specialize in trips to Kiwayu but it's nice to patronize the local captains, who know the islands and the villages best (not to mention the sea!) One small company called Nature+Culture makes Kiwayu and ecotourism its specialty and works closely with the communities. They also do smaller trips, and the company's owner, Gabriel Suleiman, is a former soccer star well-known and respected in the region: [1].

Tour guides are licensed on Lamu and they will show you their license on request and they have a well-organized association and work together cooperatively. Another company, [2] Sailkenya, also runs three-day trips. The dhow captains of Lamu, however, recently organized themselves into a professional organization, called Promise/Ahadi. They offer excellent services and their knowledge of the ocean and the island is impressive. These young men really made an effort to improve the tourist experience in Lamu, while also trying to empower themselves. You can find more information on their website (www.lamutrips.com), visit their booking office (close to the German Post Office Museums) or look for them along the Lamu Seafront wearing bright blue T-Shirts and badges of their organization.

Lamu Fort

Manda Beach

Shela Beach

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About Lamu

Background

This is the main town on Lamu Island which is in turn part of the Lamu Archipelago.

Lamu is a place to chill out and relax. Leave the mobile and laptop behind and immerse yourself in a medieval peace only punctuated by the braying of donkeys and the call to prayer from the many mosques on the island.

Food

The seafront restaurants in Lamu Town offer excellent seafood at reasonable prices. Delve further back from the dock for more traditional Swahili fare. The Seafront Cafe is an excellent value and the locals eat there. Try the garlic crab or crab soup.

Also, if you are there more than a couple days and you look like a tourist, you will likely be approached by a short, stout, elderly man who will introduce himself as "Ali Hippy," who will offer you the opportunity to eat in his house for a fee. Don't be afraid to take him up on his offer. The food is good, and his family will perform musical numbers for you afterwards. An interesting experience that is worth having under your belt. However, think about bringing your own utensils, otherwise you will find yourself trying to eat oil-soaked rice with your fingers - not the easiest task. (In january 2012 we where at Alis house - what he promised sounds good: He - the chief will cook "Real Swahili food" with lobster, coconut sauce, fish, vegetables ...until we say "Stop feeding us with food". And he will eat with him and he will tell uns stories about his youth. He offered this for KSH 4000 for 2 persons (or 2500 without lobster). At the evening his wife cooked fish with coconut sauce, rice and chapati - which was served together with the dessert (kind of cake). He did not eat with us, he did not tell stories. After the meal he made nice music with his wife and children. After less the 2 hours we had to leave the house. May be he had a bad day - or he has done it too long for tourists. Other people in the past had good experiences. You may also read this: richlowenberg.com.

At the seafront there is "La Banda" where also the locals eat. There you get dishes for about KSH 200. The food is really good.

Drinks

Meet up and drink beer with fellow travellers,at 'Petleys' one of the few bars in the town.

You can also enjoy a Tusker at the Lamu Palace hotel, but this is more expensive than Petley's, and very quiet, but OK if you want to hear the waves crash against the sea wall and read a book.

However, the cheapest beer on the island is at the Social Club, hidden away in the bush, down the coast after the power station.

This is where all the locals go, and thus has the best music and cheapest beer and pool table.

DEFINITELY go to the social club on a Saturday night for boogie boogie disco! - A mixture of traditional african and reggae. Everyone screams and goes crazy when Bob Marley is played!!

When you find the music too hot and loud, go round the side and enjoy a game of 8 ball pool. The locals willingly play winner stays on, but you might have to pay for their game too, but at 50c a game who cares! There will be a pool attendant to keep you cue well chalked and to set up the table for you (buy him a couple of tusker for his trouble!).

The walk to the social club can seem a bit daunting especially as the sea wall isn't lit too well, but basically just walk away from the town centre towards shela keeping the sea on your left, go past the hospital, past the power station, and keep going until you see a sand path through the mangroves into the bush on your right, and a few dim lights at the end of it. On a Sat night you will definitely hear the music before you arrive!!

If you are still concerned about taking the walk, ask one of the local beach boys (Staboy, Mburu or Issac) to show you the way just buy them a beer for their trouble. Make sure that they realise that you are only buying them 1 beer otherwise they will keep asking for more!

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Lamu on Wikivoyage.

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