The Lamu Archipelago is a group of small islands situated in Lamu County along the northern coastline of Kenya. These islands include Pate, Lamu, Manda, and Kiwayu.
Of the four islands, Lamu old town is the oldest and best-preserved among all the Swahili settlements in East Africa. It flourished as a maritime hub due to its location along the ancient trade routes. To African, Arabic, and Indian traders, the town was a significant center. The town has retained its traditions which date back to the 12th century.
Due to its cultural heritage and ecological diversity, Lamu has earned itself a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list. The town is unique and a popular destination for holiday vacations and cultural experiences.
Lamu Old Town is the headquarters of Lamu County. It borders Somalia to the north-east, the Indian Ocean to the east, Garissa County to the north, and Tana River County to the south-west.
Note: The streets of Lamu’s old town are not more than eight feet wide. This narrowness means that there are no motorized vehicles. The only available means of transport are by handcarts and donkeys.
10 Things to do in Lamu County
Below is a list of the best places to visit and things to see in Lamu. The County is small but rich in its history, architecture, natural beauty, and culture.
- Check out the ethnographic exhibits of Swahili people at Lamu Museum.
- Visit the Swahili House Museum.
- Explore what’s inside the Lamu Fort.
- See the old German Post office museum.
- Take a walk along the narrow alleyways.
- Stroll along the beach at Shela.
- Enjoy the island sunset on a dhow ride to Manda.
- Visit The Donkey Sanctuary.
- Go explore the Dodori National Reserve.
- Take a trip to Kiunga Marine National Reserve.
- See the Takwa ruins on Manda Island.
How to Get to Lamu Old Town
By Road: Modern Coast operates a long-distance passenger bus from Nairobi to Lamu.
By Air: The old town is best accessed by air. There are daily scheduled flights from Nairobi to Manda Airport.
Where to Stay in Lamu County
There are several accommodation options for travelers visiting the Lamu Archipelago. Although most of the facilities cater to luxury tourists, various budget hotels and hostels are available. Check out hotels and resorts in Lamu.