Kenya Tourism Attraction: See the Beauty of the Lamu Island in the Northeastern Coast of Kenya / Africa News


The Lamu Island is a small island located in the Lamu County which occupies an area of about 6,497.7 km2 and a population of 101,539 inhabitants. It is precisely found on the Indian Ocean.

It covers a strip of the northeastern coastal mainland and the Lamu Archipelago together with the villages of Shela, Matondoni and Kipungani and is approximately a distance of some 410 Km from the national capital, Nairobi.

The Island is believed to have been founded as far back as in the 14th century, making it Kenya’s oldest living town and the best-preserved Swahili settlement in the East African Region.

The Island is built on coral stone and mangrove timber and is well known for its simplicity of structural forms enriched by such features as inner courtyards, verandas, elaborately carved wooden doors among other interesting layout planned and constructed by the early settlers of the island.

History tells us that Lamu Island defeated the Pate Island and Mombasa in the battle of Shela (Pate Island is another Island on the Indian Ocean) in the eighteenth and nineteenth century respectively. Lamu Island then became autonomous but after the slave trade was abolished in Africa, the Island was annexed by Zanzibar and remained a loose province on its own until when Kenya was granted independence from Great Britain in 1963 when it was added to Kenya.

It was also known to have prospered the slave trade back in colonial days and attracted a lot of people from different parts of the world with notable among them being the Arabs. The Arabs built the famous Pwani Mosque and a sea port which have remained an integral part of the Island till date.


Due to its diverse nature, it inculcated a lot of ancient and traditional artifacts making tourism developing as early as the 1970s with visitors coming in from all over the world to experience the aroma of the island and the best of Swahili culture. The place is also said to be one of the best places for the teaching of Islamic values in the world.

The Lamu Old Town itself was added to the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site in 2001 in what UNESCO described as a three unique features of the town.

UNESCO said the architecture and urban structure of the town, graphically demonstrate the cultural influences that have come together there over several hundred years from Europe, Arabia, and India utilizing traditional Swahili techniques to produce a distinct culture which difficult to find in any part of the world.

Also, UNESCO described the growth and decline of the seaports on the East African coast and interaction between the Bantu, Arabs, Persians, Indians and Europeans as representing a significant cultural and economic phase in the history of the region which finds its most outstanding expression in the Lamu Township.

Furthermore, the paramount trading role and its attraction for scholars and teachers according to UNESCO, gave Lamu an important religious function in the region, which it has maintained to this very day on the island. The dominant religion on the island is Islam.


One common practice that visitors ought to know about this wonderful island is that the inhabitants of the place love to welcome visitors to their houses and give them special treats with the best of Real Swahili foods such as lobster, coconut sauce, fish, vegetables and among other foods. In the evening, they gather around to entertain visitors with stories but note that some may choose to demand some small fee while others too will demand nothing.

The streets on the island are so narrow such that donkeys provide almost the only mode of transport, carrying heavy loads, this feature makes the town quite unique but speed boats are also available as an alternative means of transport on the island.

Tourists can better still, tour the island with dhow (a traditional Arab sailing vessel with one or more lateen sails) which is considered one of the primarily means of transport along the coasts of the Arabian Peninsula, India, and the East Africa Region where seas are located.

The Shela beach on the North end of the island is a beautiful stretch of white sandy and tiny broken sea shells. The beach is just some few Kilometers away from the Lamu Township and is well worth visiting especially, the locals you meet on the way with some of the young boys selling delicious homemade samosas, a popular local food sold at the beach made from  potatoes, onions, peas, meat and other ingredients.


The popular Social Club on the island is also one main primary source of entertainment for both the locals and tourists especially on Saturday nights.  The best of music, beer and pool table are the hallmark of the club which is a mixture of African and reggae music.

There are moderate and expensive accommodation pricing in the island and its ranges from budget hotels and guesthouses to the luxury of the Peponi Hotel in Shela, and private houses in Kipungani which one can choose depending on what one can afford.

There are also local flights from Mombasa to a small airport in Manda Island which just opposite Lamu Island, and with a ferry or a speed boat; Lamu is just some few kilometers from reaching. A visit to the place will leave in your memory for the rest of your life.

Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa Tourism News

[adrotate group=”15″]




Related Articles

Bir yanıt yazın

Başa dön tuşu
Breaking News