Come to Lamu Island to see and feel a beautifully preserved piece of history. Walking Lamu’s narrow streets of coral stone you will experience perhaps the oldest and best-preserved Swahili community in East Africa.
No cars are allowed on Lamu – donkeys set the pace here. With its courtyards, verandas and elaborate architecture, you’ll feel as though you’ve entered another world and another time in Lamu.
In keeping with the retreat-like atmosphere, Lamu hosts religious festivals and is a study center for Islamic and Swahili cultures.
There’s much to be discovered in this charming, historic town. Stroll nearby Shella beach and enjoy a sail on an authentic dhow. Everything about the Lamu experience is serene and yet also unforgettable.
From Nairobi, you’ll fly to the airstrip at neighbouring Manda Island and then take a small boat to Lamu Island and the village. All ages are welcome on this special tour.
The beaches are spectacular as is the easy vibe out here in the Indian Ocean. Natural World Kenya Safaris offers tours of this special paradise. Just contact us for a different kind of African holiday. Let’s talk and we’ll create a customized vacation to exotic Lamu Island, just for you.
Lamu Cultural Festival
Lamu Cultural Festival is a celebration of both the past and the future, and the beliefs and traditions that are the heart and soul of the Lamu community. Most visitors to the island fall in love with this relaxed and peaceful lifestyle, and visiting during the Lamu Cultural Festival is a chance to experience Lamu life at its most exuberant and joyous.
Each year, Lamu comes to life during the annual Lamu Cultural Festival. Several competitions and races are staged during this week long festival. These events are designed to each encourage local skills or practices that are central to Lamu life. These include traditional Swahili poetry, Henna painting and Bao competition… Bao is probably the oldest known game in human history, with archaeological evidence suggesting that the game has been played throughout Africa and the Middle East for thousands of years.
In order to preserve and encourage the art of dhow sailing, now threatened by increasing availability of engines and prefabricated boats, a dhow race is also held. The town’s finest dhows are selected to compete, and race under sail through a complicated series of buoys, combining speed with elaborate tacking and maneuvering skill.
Other events include swimming, and at times a challenging cross country race along the waterfront, all the way to Shela village and back- all in the physically draining heat of the day. The real highlight of every festival involves the town’s most endearing symbol- the donkey race. Local donkey jockeys literally spend the entire year honing their riding skills for this event, and the winning rider wears his title with great pride.
It is also a great shopping event which allows you to buy all types of products from home products, toys for kids, and being a coast town, you my want to consider getting the best snorkel gear, fishing gear, etc.
Being a winning donkey jockey requires a specific set of skills. As with most such races, small physical stature is helpful, but keeping a stubborn donkey moving and on course requires a definite talent.
Lamu Cultural Festival is a celebration of both the past and the future, and the beliefs and traditions that are the heart and soul of this community. Most visitors to the island fall in love with this relaxed and peaceful lifestyle, and visiting during the Lamu Cultural Festival is a chance to experience Lamu life at its most exuberant and joyous.
Visit the ruined city of Takwa
The ruins of Takwa are located on the south eastern corner of Manda Island Lamu District in Coast province. A 30 minute boat ride from Lamu Town.
Takwa ruins are the remains of a thriving 15th and 16th century Swahili trading town before it was abandoned in the seventeenth century. It is not only important because of its period of occupation but also because of its dense settlement and its relatively well preserved remains. The unique Friday Mosque with a large pillar a top the qibla wall is among the most notable features. This pillar is believed to symbolize the burial of a Sheikh be low the wall.
The position of the site at the narrowest location on the whole island, was most probably a strategy. Takwa’s position/location with shallow waters must have been of considerable importance especially during its peak, when many of the sails that came into view were likely to be hostile.Therefore access to the site must have been primarily from the shallow channel which could only admit vessels of shallow draft.
Takwa eventual abandonment in the 17th century was due to salination of the once fresh water and endless fighting between Takwa and Pate people. These ruins were gazetted as a National Monument in 1982 in Gazette notice No. 1514. At present, Takwa is open daily to the Public. It is a very pleasant place for a casual visit, which can be complimented by a picnic and overnight camping.
Sunset Dhow / Yatch Cruise around the Archipelago
If you are keen to follow the ancient tradition of sailing between the islands on the trade winds and you fancy seeing the archipelago from the deck of a boat then a dhow or yacht safari offers a truly special experience.
You can get involved with planning your own trip through the islands, passing fishing villages and stopping at remote beaches to picnic after snorkeling.
Sailing from Lamu to Kiwayu is arguably the best way to experience the Lamu Archipelago.
Contact us for more information
For more information about our safari excursions, or to book your dream safari trip with Natural World, simply get in touch with our friendly travel advisors. Give us a call on +254 202 216 830 or leave your details on our contact us page, and we'll reply as quickly as possible.
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