The island of Lamu is located on the Indian Ocean in Kenya . It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lamu Island is also the oldest Swahili settlement with origins dating back to the 12th century. Walking along the streets, you can see the island’s rich trading history reflected in the buildings. Architectural features from the Arab world, Europe, and India are evident, with a distinctive Swahili designs. Carved wooden doors, coral stone buildings, verandas, and rooftop patios are common features. Visiting here is a step back in the old days. You can see dhows in the ports and ocean. Until recently there were are no vehicles and donkeys were the common mode of transport. A causeway has been constructed linking it to the mainland. This has led to vehicles now appearing in the island.
Lamu’s narrow streets remain unchanged. And in the markets and squares around the fort life moves at the same pace as it always has as in the earlier days. The people of Lamu Island are great believers in tradition and custom, and this is a strong society built on a respect for the past.
For the traveler, Lamu is indeed an exotic experience. The relaxed and welcoming attitudes of the locals make it even more enjoyable. To visit Lamu island is to enter another world, and the visitor finds themselves becoming a part of this world. Life slows down, and people spend long days strolling along the waterfront, exploring the town or relaxing on the beaches. Dhow safaris can take you beyond Lamu into the surrounding archipelago. Actually this is where isolated villages, ancient ruins and a few luxurious and exclusive resorts lie. Hiding among the islands of Manda, Siyu, Pate and Kiwayu. This idyllic island speaks to the heart and soul. A trip to Lamu is indeed a romantic experience that can become a lifelong affair. Some of the island’s many beaches can be explored on a dhow boat. Shela beach is one of the most popular and longest beach on the island. Some of the key resorts and accommodation facilities are found around this areas. There is also the Manda beach which runs parallel to Shela beach and are one kilometer apart. On some seasons there are more jelly fish in the ocean which can be hazardous. The current between the two beaches can also be very strong. A water sport center is available at Peponi hotel on Shela beach. Wind surfing equipment can be rented from the sports center. Other activities include kayaking, water skiing, dhow sailing and fishing trips.