A Guide to the Kenyan Town of Lamu

Lamu is the oldest continually inhabited towns in Kenya. It was founded in the 14th century and it contains many fine examples of Swahili architecture. It is an island, an archipelago and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are no cars and donkeys are used to carry goods.

The town is well served by domestic flights from Nairobi (the capital of Kenya), Watamu, Malindi and Mombasa. And international flights from the US, UK, Europe and beyond.

Lamu Tourist Attractions

Together with the a warm year-round tropical climate there are many attractions that have made Lamu one of the top tourist destinations in the world and in recent years the second home for many tycoons and a low-key retreat for European royalty and international celebrities.

Some of the tourist attractions include:

Dhow Sailing

You can explore the archipelago under sail in a traditional dhow. Visit the beautiful Takwa Ruins, which are highly atmospheric, particularly in the late afternoon light. Experience the spectacle or even take part in the biannual dhow race, held in August and on New Year’s Day.


The archipelago offers some of the country’s best snorkeling waters, with favorable conditions between October and April. The reefs at Manda Toto and Kiniyka have an abundance of live coral and reef fish. Swim with turtles and dolphins in the warm clear blue waters.

Dolphins swimming in Lamu

Water Sports

Some of the water sports you can take part in include windsurfing, waterskiing, scuba-diving, deep-sea fishing, sea-kayaking and kitesurfing. A wide range of equipment is available for hire.

Old Town

Wander the charming Old Town and experience a blend of Arab and African culture. It is as if you step back in time as you walk in the narrow winding streets – most only wide enough to accommodate a fully-laden donkey. The houses are build in coral stone and mangrove timber and have elaborately carved wooden doors.

Mouthwatering Food

Fresh succulent seafood is in abundance including prawns, lobster, tilapia, crab, shrimp, snapper and tuna. The island’s sweet mangos are renowned all along the Kenyan coast. Other tropical fruits such as papayas, bananas and coconuts are readily available.

Manda Bay in Lamu


Explore miles and miles of empty white sand. The pristine beaches of Shela, Kiwayu and Manda are not to be missed as they are the perfect setting for a dusk or dawn stroll, sunbathing, a wedding, water sports or an al fresco dinner by the sea.

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