Lamu Island Travel Guide

  • Local Customs
    by hannette
  • Local Customs
    by hannette
  • Lamu Island
    by hannette

Lamu Island Highlights

  • Pro
    hannette profile photo

    hannette says…

     calm, relaxing, beach, mixed culture 

  • Con
    hannette profile photo

    hannette says…

     beach boys 

  • In a nutshell
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    hannette says…

     a must .... ! 

Lamu Island Things to Do

  • Sailing Dhow Trip in Lamu Archipelago,...

    Lamu is a fascinating place but I'm still enough of a nature girl to want to get to a peaceful place where you can really feel where you are: the Indian Ocean. I found that the most environmentally conscious guy in the tourism biz on Lamu was Said "Gabriel" Suleiman of Nature + Culture, a small ecotourism company completely staffed by locals. We...

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  • Shela Beach

    White, white sands and blue waters - with Manda Island across the channel. Perfection? It's about 30 minute walk from Lamu Town to Shela, but considering it's all along the seafront, a beautiful walk. And no dangers with mad drivers or cyclists! But look out for cattle....

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  • Shela - early morning

    Facing due east, Shela beach is the ideal spot to watch the sun rise over the flat Manda Island and Lamu Harbour (the narrow channel that separates the two islands).

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  • LAMU's kool

    LAMULamu's a fastinating place to be seen by the tourists in Kenya. WHY? that's as simple as it's weird. Imagine such a town in which there's no traffic (NO CAR, NOHORN)... so all you have to is relax and listen to silence... whenever you get bored; never stop take a boat (very cheap: pay max. 5000 Kenyan Shillings) so as to see other small...

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  • LAMU FORT - GUIDED TOUR

    A guided tour is included in the entrance fee to the Fort and is recommended if you start feeling guilty of spending too many lazy days doing completely nothing. For short term visitors, the Fort offers hardly anything entertaining though. The Fort functions as a local Social Centre, with numerous rooms converted in study units and an extensive...

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  • LAMU FORT

    Lamu Fort is one of the few non-ruined historical big buildings in Kenya. Built with help of the Omani slave trader and Sultan Seyyid Said around 1810, the Stone Fort looked out over the sea to protect the Lamu people from hostile alliances. It then became local headquarters for the Colonial Britsh administration and prison after that. From 1990,...

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Lamu Island Hotels

Lamu Island Restaurants

  • Best Fresh Seafood

    Located on the main seafront of Lamu Town, nice clean restaurant at very reasonable price (around KS 150~300)Menu is is Local Language but the staff can speak good English. Beef Stew with White RiceBeef and Fish BiryaniPrawns CurryPulao

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  • Don't miss these legendary icecreams

    Set in a nice neighbourhood, hidden behind a corner near the Riyadha Mosque more inland of Lamu Town, is a great shop for Ice Creams. The friendly owner here produces his own icecreams using fresh fruits, the specialty being the avocado taste. Very refreshing and tasty, extremely popular with local kids. It all makes it well worth the effort of...

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  • Don't miss the best snacks in Town!

    Bathawabu Restaurant became soon my favourite spot for breakfast; Popular with locals but not regularly visited by tourists, still well recommended for its small snacks such as mahamri and loads of other little things made of sweet bread, sticky rice or fritters filled with spicy vegetables and/or minced meat.Traditionally served with sweet milk...

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  • Don't Miss Their Daily Fresh Homemade...

    Coconut Juice Garden has a great rooftop location overlooking a busy part of the Main street, especially in the evenings. In the daytime a nice and cool place to read your daily newspaper. The brother of the owner who runs the rooftop area, is great company for a chat.Especially recommended here are the homemade yoghurts, daily produced from own...

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  • Don't miss the best Coconut Milk Shake...

    Bush Garden, centrally located near the jetty along the Promenade, is a relatively large restaurant that definately attracts most foreign customers of all seafront restaurants.Menu is almost a copy of the neighbour Hapa Hapa restaurant, but I thought Bush Garden was more professional when it comes to service. Still, I didn't especially like this...

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  • Don't miss this real treat...

    If you need a real Western Style treat while in Lamu, Whispers might be the best choice.In a secluded, atmospheric garden setting, you may like to choose from a variety of homemade cakes accompanied by a cup of expresso or cappucino, of which everyone seems to rave about.Magazines and Newspapers are available, as well as a souvenir shop.Whispers...

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  • Don't miss Chicken Fast Food

    Might be the single most popular restaurant in Lamu for locals. Serves a whole range of local and regional dishes in canteen style setting at very affordable prices. It all reminded me of the countless fast food chicken and chips restaurants in the streets of Central Nairobi. To find good chicken dishes in Lamu is hard, but in New Minaa, the...

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  • Don't miss those excellent juices

    One of the most popular tourist restaurants in Lamu Town, has a fantastic seaside location offering great people watching, and a good breeze coming in.Hapa Hapa was my single most favourite hangout for fresh juices and milkshakes. Passion Lime juice is really awesome, as well as the Avocado Milkshake! Such a Juice goes really well with a banana or...

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  • Don't miss Reasonable and cheap local...

    When we arrived on Lamu Airport, we were welcomed by a number of blokes promoting guesthouses. I said I had already made reservations and when they asked where, I made up "New Star". That now confused them since there's only a restaurant with a name like that. Funny, since I never heard of it before...So I thought I had to go there for a lunch. A...

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  • Don't miss the excellent Swahili Seafood

    Smaller, cosier and cheaper than its more popular competitors. Serves great seafood in large portions. Both the Curry and the Fish Salad were superb, I thought number two best of the seafront restaurants after Olympic! Waiting time is relatively short too.Two notes:* Juices were less memorable;* Views to the Prom are slightly disturbed, which is...

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  • Don't miss the possibly best seafood in...

    Must be some of the best food on Lamu, at least the best I had. Wandering along the remoter part of the Southern Promenade, I noticed a blackboard advertising the dishes, otherwise I would never have recognized the place as a restaurant. Closed windows because of the winds coming from the sea, darkish inside, a bit messy but spotlessly clean and...

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  • A Local Experience

    We ran into this guy on the street in Lamu who said his name was Ali Hippy (apparently, Lamu was a big retreat for hippies in the 60's). He was this funny roly poly guy and he said that he made dinner for visitors at his house, so we took him up on it. It was a great meal of local fare, and his kids played music and sang afterwards.

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Lamu Island Nightlife

  • FRIDAY NIGHTS' FUN

    The Friday Night Disco's at the A.P Canteen have a reputation for being fun and wild, and is the only place to go out late at night. Main activity is dancing, getting drunk and screw around with the bargirls under the big trees outside. Without doubt a pleasure for import citizens and visitors only. Tourists are usually welcome.There's a small...

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  • Friday night Boogie Boogie

    In Lamu there is very little nightlife like the sort you might usually find whilst travelling. There are no pubs, bars or nightclubs. Alcohol is hard to come by. However on Friday nights there is a local disco which I believe is run by the police. There are a couple of possible locations - you can find out where it is by asking any of the young...

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  • Lamu Island Hotels

    14 Hotels in Lamu Island

    21 Reviews and Opinions

Lamu Island Transportation

  • Coach/Mini Bus

    Update....2013.... Tahmeed now provide Bus service from Nairobi to Mombasa and possible to book Mombasa-Lamu combined. Nairobi Booking/Departure from River Road near the intersection of Accra Road...Original Post*** Dec 2011The cheapest (but not comfortable) way to get to Lamu Island is by Coach/Bus from Mombasa.From Nairobi, various companies have...

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  • Speed & Slow Boats

    There are frequent Speed / Slow Motor Boat / Sail Boat departure from Mokowe Jetty to Lamu.Speed Boat is the best and fastest way (15~20 minutes) KS 150 one way, life jacket is provided for every passenger.Slow Boats are KS 100 - 30 minutes (they depart in coordination with the Tawakal/Tahmeed - 1 hour before Bus departure time to report 30 minutes...

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Lamu Island Local Customs

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    Henna painting 4 more images

    by hannette Updated Feb 10, 2013

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    You can ask some local women to make a henna painting for you, a traditional way of decorating the hands and feet, usually for a celebration like a marriage.
    They do it at a very low price, and the result is stunning!

    Watch out that they don't use hair dye though (colour is very black), because it can be very strong many people get an allergic reaction from it!

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Budget Travel

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Lamu Island Warnings and Dangers

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    by hannette Written Jan 6, 2013

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    As in the Mombasa coast, in Lamu there are 'beach boys' who offer their services to tourists for dhow (sailing boat) trips, etc. Very often they are also after something else.. Female tourists should really watch out if they are not just out to get that. Well, it 's your own decision whether you go with the flow or not...

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Lamu Island Tourist Traps

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    by RachaelClare Written Jul 7, 2003

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    There is a local guy named Ali Hippy who it seems makes his living by inviting tourists around to his family home for dinner. Apparently he has been doing this since the 70's. He will approach you in the street and describe this wonderful meal and entertainment that you can experience in the comfort of his home. He is very persistant and will ask you to pay him in the street so that his wife can buy the ingredients to cook for you. My friend and I went along to his house for dinner and it was an interesting experience although the food was nothing that he had described and the entertainment lacking. That said it WAS interesting to see inside his house and see how he eats at home. However we were staying in the house of another local family and they warned us that many visitors have become sick after eating at Ali Hippy's and to be careful about what we ate. So by no means be put off but be aware that it might not be all it seems.

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Lamu Island Off The Beaten Path

  • Not your typical African experience.

    We spent 3 days on the island of Lamu off the eastern coast of Kenya on the Indian ocean. Staying at a lovely, rustic villa to accomodate all 5 adults and a baby, we had plenty of room and run of the place. Slept under mosquito nets because there are no glass windows, only openings letting the 4 a.m. morning prayers of the Muslims filter over you...

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  • Takwa

    Just across a narrow channel is the smaller island of Manda and the ruins of Takwa. Manda is the location for Lamu's airstrip but is almost deserted. A favourite destination for dhow trips from Lamu is the mangroves of the island and then onto the ruins, sited on the far eastern shoreline of the island. Formerly a small but thriving community in...

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  • TAKE A GUIDED TOUR AT TAKWA

    Once we got ashore we had to go through the entrance and pay the fee of EUR 2,--. Commonly in Kenya, also here you may request a Residents ticket and pay EUR 1, so that the caretaker can add EUR 0,50 to his probably poor daily wage....just say you're a resident but forgot your card. However, this practise is not my piece of cake!A guided tour is...

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