Lamu Island is a part of Kenya’s Lamu Archipelago. The Lamu Archipelago is a beautiful string of six islands in the Indian Ocean close to Kenya’s northern coast. The six islands that make up the Lamu Archipelago are: Lamu, Manda, Pate, Kiwayu and Manda Toto.
The largest islands are Pate, Manda and Lamu, and Lamu Town is the largest settlement on the archipelago. Lamu has managed to stay unspoilt and untouched by the mass tourism and development that has hit much of Kenya’s coastline . As Kenya’s oldest living town, Lamu has retained all the charm and character built up over centuries.
Children play in the narrow streets, Muslim men chat on street corners and women in their black buibui eils busy themselves through doorways. Most houses have a rooftop which is used as a patio – indicative of a society where ‘hanging back’ and ‘catching the breeze’ is important. Visitors to the island can stay in one of these Swahili-style Lamu villas where sandy-toed days stretch out into tropical rooftop evenings.
Lamu is strictly Islamic, so be sensitive in the way you dress. There is just one car on the island and it belongs to the mayor so donkeys are the main form of transport as well as dhows and speedboats.
Flying is the best way to reach this region of Kenya and there are daily flights to Lamu. The airport is located on the neighbouring Manda Island from where you will be collected by your hotel or lodge and transferred by boat across the channel to Lamu town (10 minutes), Shela Village (20 minutes) or further afield (up to 45 minutes).