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Lamu Island

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About Lamu Island


Lamu Old Town, located on an island known by the same name on the coast of East Africa some 350km north of Mombasa, is the oldest and best preserved example of Swahili settlement in East Africa.

Lamu Town is Kenya’s oldest existing town and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Being one of the original Swahili settlements, this town has painstakingly preserved the Swahili architecture. The people here are mainly Muslim but the general population is still considered ethnically diverse.

Lamu town was built long before the automobile was invented and a unique attraction in Lamu is the absence of cars. Actually the streets are so narrow that only people and donkeys can pass and the only car on the island is owned by the District Commissioner. Being a relatively small island, access to the sea is easy almost anywhere and obviously boats are widely used for transportation of almost anything coming to the island, for fishing and for leisure.

One of the main reasons some people love Lamu like nowhere else in the world, is the relaxed atmosphere combined with a sprawling Swahili culture, the medieval streets of Lamu town and its beautiful architecture as well as the wonderful beaches surrounding the island – Shela beach probably being the most visited.

Lamu is part of the Lamu archipelago consisting of several smaller islands such as Manda Island, Paté Island, Kiwayu Island and a lot of islets within the Kiunga Marine National Park – a great place to snorkle and dive with the chance to encounter the rare manatee, tortoises and hundreds of species of tropical fish.