I love the ocean and the beach and when it came to deciding where to go this time for a short holiday with my husband, the Kenyan Coast came first in mind. I have been to North Coast (Mombasa), Diani, Watamu and Malindi but never Lamu. That was my next costal town to explore.
Lamu Town is located on Lamu Island and is known to be the oldest town, in Kenya. Lamu is characterized by enclosed courtyards, verandas, and elaborately beautiful carved wooden doors.
There are various options to choose from when you decide to go to Lamu. You can drive, take a bus, a train then bus or just fly. I chose the easiest way – flying there. By air, it take around 1 hour 10 minutes. Most of the time the plane stops at Malindi airport and that’s increases the flight time to 2 hours.
My husband and I took our flight from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at around 10:30am. Made a quick stop at Malindi Airport then landed in Lamu at 12:30pm at Manda Airport on Manda Island.
We were staying on Lamu Island near Shela Town and that meant we needed to take a boat ride, around 15 minutes to our destination.
Food & Culture
Given that Lamu is a Costal Town, most of the food enjoyed there is sea food and street food (bhajia, vitumbua, kaimati, samosa, viazi karai, mahamri) just to name a few. This is the first time I had fish samosas and sharwama.
More of the food enjoyed can be found here.
Lamu residents are friendly and always ready to help. It was easy to get around as we have a resident take us around. It has a conservative culture. Most women wear Bui bui (lack cloth worn as a shawl by Muslim women that covers their bodies). As a woman moving around in Lamu Town and the Shela Village, I needed to cover my shoulders and knees. That meant wearing trousers, long dresses and t-shirts. As you move away from the towns towards the beach, you can wear shorts, tank tops and even bikinis.
There are no vehicles in Lamu. For you to get around from Shela Village to Lamu Town your options are either on foot, boat ride, boda boda (motorcycle) or Tuk Tuk (I was informed there are only 2 of them in the entire town!) Getting around the narrow streets of Shela Village to Lamu Town you will need to go on foot.
For you to access the surrounding islands of Manda Island, you can either take a boat or dhow.
We visited a few places though given the directive by the government about no sale of alcohol in the restaurants, we just enjoyed the yummy food. Here are the places we visited and highly recommend even if you have children;
1. Moonrise Restaurant – we had lunch there and enjoyed fish shawarma, tuna, fish masala, ride and chapati
2. The Majlis Resort – we enjoyed a sea food platter, swimming and sundowners
3. The Floating Restaurant
4. Peponi Hotel
We also took walks around Shela Village and Lamu Town. In Lamu Town we visited the Lamu Fort, Lamu Museum and the Donkey Sanctuary.
Next time you are thinking of visiting the Kenyan Coast, I recommend trying out Lamu! Most hotels have family packages and if your family loves the beach, this is your go-to destination. Remember to carry your mask!