Why you should visit Lamu Island?

Why you should visit Lamu Island? Approximately 360 kilometres up the coast from Mombasa, Lamu is an island accessible by boat in ten minutes from the mainland. One of the oldest continuously inhabited Swahili towns in East Africa, Lamu Town, is home to the majority of the inhabitants. There are only three cars, the buildings are constructed of coral, the streets are small, and the doors are carefully designed. Donkeys are still in charge for the most part, however some motorcycles are beginning to make an unpleasant appearance. In the small spaces, they are most frequently utilised. One of the few remaining locations on Earth where you can experience a blend of magical cultural history is Lamu Island. Lamu, one of the oldest Swahili settlements still in existence in East Africa, is also known as the Latin American Muslim Unity.

Lamu Island, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a popular tourist destination because of its charming archaeological landscape and immaculate white sand beaches. Because of its privacy and discreetness, it also provides the ideal setting for tourists travelling alone, in couples, or in groups.

Lamu Archipelago

Situated in the Indian Ocean, the Lamu Archipelago is situated on Kenya’s northern coast. It is made up of the following five islands: Manda Island, Pate Island, Kiwayu and Manda Toto, two smaller islands, and Lamu Island. The main settlement in the archipelago is Lamu settlement, which is located on Lamu Island. The UNESCO World Heritage List recognises Lamu Town’s “Old Town.”

Lamu Museum

It is the second-largest structure in Lamu Old Town after Lamu Fort and is situated near to the town jetty on the shore. The structure was initially owned by Abdalla bin Hamed bin Siad Al-Busaid, and construction was finished in 1892. You would get a thorough overview of the area, both historically and currently, inside this section. The Swahili, Pokomo, Orma, Boni, and other hinterland tribes are among its fascinating collection.

Lamu Fort

This enormous multi-story structure with a central courtyard was constructed in 1813, not long after Lamu defeated Mombasa and Pate in the Shela battle. The Sultan of Oman had deployed a garrison of Baluchi soldiers to occupy the Fort, and it was used as a jail from 1910 until 1984, when it was taken over by the National Museums of Kenya. It has displays divided into three sections: freshwater, terrestrial, and marine. You won’t be able to overlook Lamu Fort because of its spectacular location in the heart of the town.

German Post Office Museum

The fact that this two-story structure housed the first post office in East Africa at the time emphasises Lamu’s prominence as a hub for maritime trade with Europe and other countries. It was constructed following Mrs. Mwana Madina’s successful reclamation of a strip of land from the sea at the beginning of the 1800s. Later, Mr. Gustav Denhardt, a German Consul who was also an architect and geographer, purchased it and refurbished it. In 1888, the home was converted into a post office, and in 1996, it was turned into a museum.

The Swahili House Museum

The Swahili house museum with its thoughtfully designed bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, and living areas, this one-of-a-kind museum offers an insight into the conventional layout of a Swahili home. The museum’s genuine character is enhanced by the period furniture that has been used throughout the spaces. Situated in the town’s northern area, it has been meticulously reconstructed to resemble a traditional Swahili home from that era.

Lamu market

This lively and bustling store sells fresh seafood, fruits, veggies, and spices. The ideal time to visit is early in the morning, and be ready to bargain.

Donkey sanctuary

 The Sanctuary for Donkeys In Swahili, a guy without a donkey is actually a donkey. In the interim, this sanctuary is dedicated to providing housing for about 3,000 retired donkeys.

Lamu Old Town

Taking a stroll through Lamu Town is one of the best things to do there. Lamu town is a tangle of charming alleyways, quaint nooks, and stunning old buildings. There’s nothing better than meandering around here and discovering something new around every turn. Take particular notice of the exquisitely carved doors; you won’t find any other designs like them anywhere in the globe. The bustling local market, the fort (UNESCO World Heritage site), and the old harbour are all stunning sights to behold. You will encounter numerous donkeys and Egyptian cats on the route. On the island, animals are free to roam.

It’s still rather conservative in Old Town Lamu, so wear proper clothing. Get henna tattoos or go on a street ride on donkeys. Attend the Old Town donkey races whenever possible throughout the year. Each individual pays roughly $10 USD for a guided tour.

 Sunset Dhow sailing safaris

Taking a dhow sailboat for a lovely sunset sailing excursion is worthwhile. Additionally, snorkelling, lunch, and dhow fishing trips can be planned. Eventually, if you’re lucky enough (it depends on the date), you might be able to witness sea turtles emerging from their eggs and making their way out to sea. The Lamu Marine Conservation Trust (Lamcot) is the organisation that is facilitating this initiative. In addition, Lamu offers a wide range of water sports, including kite surfing, windsurfing, and supping. During the two-hour dhow tour, you will see the expansive town and captivating sunset as you sail across the waterway. Each person must pay ten dollars.

Why you should visit Lamu Island?
Sunset Dhow sailing safaris

Travel by boat to Pate Island

One of Lamu’s neighbouring islands. In the early days of Islam, Arab immigrants created the town, according to the Pate chronicle. A displaced group of Oman-based Arab monarchs known as the Nabhani came on Pate Island in the thirteenth century. The principal settlements on Pate Island are Siyu, Faza, Kizungitini, and Mtangawanda; Siyu is most well-known for its long history as a hub of Islamic scholarship. The most visually remarkable structure on Pate Island is Siyu Fort. This island can be reached in four hours or less by motorised launch or dhow via the local passenger ferry service.

Manda Island

Manda Island is just a quick boat ride away from Lamu. Dunes, mangroves, and the magnificent Takwa Ruins—all that’s left of a magnificent metropolis from the fifteenth century—can be found here. Before it was abandoned in the seventeenth century, Takwa was regarded as a significant commerce hub. Because of this, the remains hold a fascinating kenya safari past waiting to be explored. It is a lovely place for a picnic and well worth a couple of hours visit. While the entrance charge to Takwa Ruins is one dollar per person, the boat voyage there costs approximately fifteen dollars per person. Non-residents may incur different costs.

Kiwayu Island

Kiwayu, located in the far northeast of the archipelago, is a secluded, pure, and romantic place that is known to make all of its visitors fall madly in love. Additionally, the island’s location within the Kiunga Marine National Reserve is perfect. Kiunga is a beautiful chain of 51 craggy coral islets surrounded by rainbow coral reefs. It offers underwater exploration, incredible colour, and vitality, as well as turtles and dugongs. It’s the ideal location for some snorkelling. For a group of nine individuals, the boat voyage from Lamu to Kiwayu costs roughly $20 USD per person. A boat can also be rented; the cost per day starts at roughly $150 USD.

Shela Island

Shela is well-known for its immaculate dunes and beaches. Shela village is the best choice if you’re seeking for an opulent getaway while visiting Lamu. It’s the ideal honeymoon safari destination in Kenya because there are plenty of upscale restaurants to try and the environment is less busy. Enjoy the sensation of sand between your toes as you stroll around the expansive beach. You have two options for travelling from Lamu to Shela: a 45-minute beach walk or a 15-minute boat journey. If you’re passionate about yoga, you should attend the yearly Lamu Yoga Festival to meet amazing instructors.

Kiunga Marine National Reserve

Kiunga Marine National Reserve, which stretches for about 60 km along a coastline dotted with small islands and coral reefs, is a Kenya safari tours destination  located where coastal currents from northern East Africa meet the nutrient-rich Somali current that flows south. It is well-known for being home to the endangered Dugong, a type of marine fish with a mermaid-like tail that is said to be the origin of the mermaid myth. In addition, it is the largest nesting habitat for nine different species of mangroves, at least five different kinds of turtles, and roseate terns. It can be reached by speedboat or dhow from Kiwayu Island.

Swahili Dishes

Due to the numerous cultures (Portuguese, Indian, and Arab) that have settled on the island over time, Lamu has a wide variety of gastronomic alternatives. Savour fresh seafood seasoned with regional spices and coconut rice or chapati (local naan) for an authentic flavour of Swahili cuisine. Don’t skip the mahamri, or spicy doughnuts, which are typically served with coconut milk-cooked peas for breakfast.

Lamu Festivals

One of the many cultural attractions of Lamu is the abundance of events that take place there. The most well-known of these is the August cultural event in Lamu. A donkey race, a dhow competition, and traditional dancing are among the many events that take place during the festival. I was at the Lamu Yoga Festival, and it should be on your bucket list if you’re searching for a cleansing vacation that will help you achieve harmony with your body, mind, and breath. Every year in March, the festival attracts yogis worldwide and offers over 20 different kinds of yoga courses and workshops every day for a week.

The religious Maulidi festival honouring the prophet Mohamed is one of the other holidays celebrated in Lamu. Given Lamu’s thriving and established arts and crafts industry, it comes as no surprise that the island also plays host to a painters’ and hat festivals. During festival seasons, you would need to make your travel and hotel reservations well in advance.

Sandy white Beaches

The island of Lamu boasts sandy white beaches, fronted by a turquoise water that resembles a stunning Persian carpet. Walking along these gorgeous beaches first thing in the morning can be the ideal way to start the day, Kenya tours with the picture-perfect views. Stop at a juice bar to have some drinks while you’re at it.

Swahili Beach House

Make sure to check out the many lodging options on the island and make sure to visit Shela Village. The distinctive Swahili-inspired décor of the houses is such a welcome change of pace. Fascinating furniture is another thing. You can also observe how people live in Old Town. You’ll witness kids having fun, people cooking and doing their laundry, and everyone will always be quite friendly.

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