11 interesting sites and attractions in Lamu Archipelago

11 interesting sites and attractions in Lamu Archipelago

11 interesting sites and attractions in Lamu Archipelago : Lamu Archipelago is a beautiful Kenya destination lieing two degrees south of the equator just of the Somali border and extending far about 100 kilometers north of Lamu Island, the archipelago consists of numerous islands including Pate, Lamu and Manda which are the largest islands and Mada, Toto and Kiwayu which are the smaller islands.

 Lamu Archipelago is an attractive destination reeking of historical gems, crystal white sand beaches among other making Lamu a paradise on earth.

Lamu Archipelago consists of a number of attractions and interesting sites to visit during your visit and these include

  1. Lamu Museum

Lamu Museum is the second largest building in Lamu Old Town coming second to the Lamu Fort, the museum is situated on the North Coast next to the town jetty. Lamu museum is one of the most beautiful and serene locations in Africa and is designated as a World Heritage Site.

Lamu Museum is a 3 storey stone building, originally owned by Abdalla bin Hamed bin Siad Al-Busaid and its construction was completed in 1892.

The Museum exhibits the history, traditions and culture of Lamu town and its people through photos, documents and artifacts that are displayed across the museum, the second floor of the building/museum offers amazing views of the coastline. The museum has a fascinating collection Swahili, Pokomo, Orma, Boni and other hinterland tribe

  1. Lamu Fort

Lamu Fort is the largest building in Lamu Town, Lamu Fort is a fortress built between 1813 and 1821, the fort was originally situated in the waterfront and today it is situated in the central of the town about 70 meters from the main jetty on the shores.

 Lamu Fort was built with assistance from the Omani and initially it was used as a base for the Omanis to consolidate their control of the East African Coast.  Lamu Fort is a massive multi-storied building with a central courtyard dating back to 1813 that is shortly after the Lamu’s victory over Pate and Mombasa in the battle of Shela.

11 interesting sites and attractions in Lamu Archipelago
Lamu Fort

 Fort Lamu served as a prison during the British colonial period in East Africa and after Kenya acquiring its independence as well, today the fort also housed a garrison of Baluchi soldiers set buy the sultan of Oman. Later it was taken over by the National Museums of Kenya.

 Lamu Fort consists of 3 sections of exhibits that are a marine section, fresh water and terrestrial section.

  1. German Post Office Museum

The German Post Office Museum is a double storey building and the first post office to be established in East Africa, the post office made Lamu Town famous as the center for marine time trade with Europe and other nations.

German Post Office Museum was built following the reclamation of a strip of land from the sea in the early 19 Century by Mrs Mwana Madina and later it was bought and renovated by the German Consul, Mr Gustav Denhardt, an Architect and a Geographer.

 In 1888 the house was transformed in a post office and in 1996 it was turned into a museum.

  1. The Swahili House Museum

The Swahili House Museum is one of the oldest and best preserved Swahili settlements in Lamu Town located in the northern part of the town, the house was constructed using coral stone and mangrove timber. Up to date the house is well maintained as an example of an 18th century Swahili house ad taking a walk through the museum offers a glimpse of the traditional setup of a Swahili home with its well-planned bedrooms, bath, kitchen and living areas. The house retains an authentic character resulting from the period furniture that has been used throughout the rooms

  1. Town Square

Town square in Lamu Town is a thrilling site also known as Mkunguni and described as a classic Swahili space, the Town Square used to be a landing site for the marine activities during the Swahili golden age and it is part of the a modern system of public works which was initiated by the Sultan and executed by the British.

  1. Shela town

Shela Town is a peaceful fishing town situated about 2 and half kilometers south of Lamu Town, the town consists of 12 kilometers of golden sand flanked by sand dunes attracting a huge population of tourists.

  1. Matondoni Village

Matondoni Village is a beautiful village and one of the 3 villages located on Lamu Island situated on the North West mangrove shore of the island and about 8 kilometers from Lamu Town, this village is famous for making of some of the finest dhows in the world. While visiting the village, you will be fascinated by thatched huts made out of mud and the local people as they make the dhows.

  1. Takwa ruins

Takwa Ruins are the remains of a city that existed between the 15th and 17th centuries apart from other archaeological sites on the coast, the city was abandoned in the 17th century due to years of constant fighting between locals and salination of its fresh water sources.

11 interesting sites and attractions in Lamu Archipelago
Takwa ruins

The building in Takwa ruins were built from coral and throughout the years, these building retain much of their original shape.

  1. Pate Island

Pate Island is a tranquil island of green brush, silver tidal flats and coconut trees in the Lamu Archipelago lieing between the towns of Lamu and Kiunga. Pate Island is the largest island in the Lamu Archipelago, according to the chronicles of pate the town was founded by Arab immigrants in the early years of Islam on the coast.

 Pate island’s main towns include Siyu, Faza, Kizungitini and Mtangawanda. Siyu is a fascinating town best known as a center of Islamic learning on the island, travelling to the Pate Island is done sing a dhow or a local passenger ferry service on a cruise of about 4 hours.

  1. Shanga Ruins

Shanga Ruins is the oldest known settlement on the Kenyan coast and a greatest historical site on Pate Island, the site covers an area of about 15 hectares. Shanga Ruins was excavated during an 80 year old period dating back 200 years ago, the first settlement in this site was between 8 and 9 century.

The ruins has remains of an ancient Swahili settlement dating back to the 8th Century, there are also evidence of early Arab settlement through excavated pottery and ceramics. Shanga Ruins have remains of mosques, residential houses, a commerce centre and a hundred stone tombs.

  1. Kiunga Marine National Reserve

Kiunga Marine national reserve is an enchanted marine reserve stretching for about 60 kilometers along the coastline of Indian Ocean with a pristine ecosystem incorporating a chain of about 50 calcareous offshore island and coral reefs. Kiunga Marine national park is famous for being a habitat for the rare Dugong a marine fish with a tail like mermaid, it is also believed to be the source the mermaid myth.  The reserve is situated on Kiwayu Island stretches about 60 kilometers along the coastline with coral reef and little islands, the reserve is accessed by a dhow or a speedboat while on a Kenya Safari.

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