Lamu Island


An island ensconced from modern-day life


Rich in history, Lamu Island has been adhering to Islamic religious celebrations since the nineteenth century. Because it is home to one of the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlements in the east African region (believed to have been inhabited since 1370), the so-called Lamu Old Town has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  

Very few vehicles make their way around Lamu because of its narrowed streets and pathways, lending an old-world charm to the island. Most of Lamu’s inhabitants get around either on foot or by way of a donkey. The island was once a prosperous centre for the slave trade and, as a result, its current-day population is culturally diverse. 

Aside from Lamu Town, there are three additional settlements on the island: Shela, Matondoni, and Kipungani. Shela, with its succession of beach-front guesthouses and white shores, is a popular tourist destination on the island. Visitors can reach the island by boat from the mainland or fly into neighbouring Manda Island’s airport before crossing via ferry. Popular pastimes on the island include exploring the Old Town and historical parts of the island, sailing along the coastline by traditional dhow, or enjoying the pristine beaches and water sports on offer.

 
Highlights

  • A UNESCO World Heritage Site: home to the oldest and most well-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa
  • The novelty of an island unpolluted by vehicles and roads 
  • A melting pot of culture has resulted in cuisine that is unique to the island 
  • Stretches of deserted, pristine beaches await 
  • Lamu Town is beautifully crafted in coral stone and mangrove timber
  • Explore the Old Town of the island, and sail along the coastline on a traditional dhow

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