The Lamu archipelago is located off the North coast of Kenya and has a very unique atmosphere, setting it apart from any other beach destination in East Africa. Here, donkeys and traditional dhow boats are the only means of transport and life runs at its own relaxed rhythm. There are no big resorts on Lamu island, only guesthouses converted from old private homes that provide a unique atmosphere and insight into Swahili life.
Lamu island is blessed with rolling sand dunes and endless beaches, where you are guaranteed a private stretch of sand. Traditional Arab dhow sailing boats still roam the coastline and, during your time in Lamu, we will arrange for a sailing trip around the islands and a fresh barbeque lunch on the beach.
Arrival in LamuYour plane will touch down in Manda, a small island just a short boat ride from Lamu. A speed boat will be waiting to whisk you away to Shela beach, and slowly a panoramic view of the Lamu coastline will unfold in front of you. On arrival in Shela you will be taken through a labyrinth of alleys filled with traditional Swahili homes and courtyards with young children playing football. Your guesthouse is located in the heart of Shela Village, allowing you to really immerse yourself in Swahili life and experience the culture of Lamu. Although your guesthouse is not right on the beach, after a ten minute walk you will be greeted by a endless stretch of sand where you can easily find your own spot to relax and watch the dhow boats drift by on the horizon. Once you have settled into your room on Lamu island, the rest of the afternoon is free to explore the area. In the evening the roof of your guesthouse is covered in cushions and candles so you can enjoy your dinner under a brilliant starry sky.
Sailing in a traditional dhowToday you will take to the water for a sailing and snorkelling tour on a local dhow. You’ll set off in the morning, leaving Lamu island and sailing across the channel to Manda island, known for its beautiful beaches. You’ll spend the day sailing, fishing, swimming, or simply exploring the island. For lunch you will be served with a fresh seafood barbeque on the beach or the deck of the dhow. You’ll return to Shela around 2pm and the rest of the afternoon is yours to spend on Lamu island as you wish. The long stretches of beach can be a tempting place to spend an afternoon but please do remember to pack lots of suncream, the sun is very strong and Lamu is backed by dunes rather than palm trees so shade is very difficult to find on the island.
Tour of Lamu townToday you will be picked up from your guesthouse and take a dhow to Lamu Town for your guided tour. Lamu island has a long and colourful history as a 14th century trading port that has remaining unchanged for centuries. Lamu architecture and its intrically caved doors are world renowned and protected by UNESCO status. During your tour you can either explore the narrow streets by foot, or choose to ride a donkey if you are feeling brave. Visit the historical sites of Lamu Fort, Lamu Museum (known as one of the best museums in Kenya, second only to Nairobi) or the donkey sanctuary. You can also chose to simply spend some time wandering the streets chatting with the local people and shopping. What you do on your tour of Lamu town is up to you.
Departure from LamuAfter breakfast you’ll say goodbye to Lamu island and the Indian Ocean.
From Lamu we will arrange a transfer by speed boat to the airport where you can fly back to Nairobi to connect onto your international flight.