Sublime sunsets, dhow sailing and donkey-transportation. Lamu exudes so much charm and authenticity UNESCO made its Old Town a World Heritage Site.
WHERE TO STAY
If you’re after a home away from home where you can relax and unwind, Banana House is the place for you. Cosy and tastefully decorated, the boutique hotel has just 16 rooms, dotted across a lush garden that overlooks the pool. Unwinding away from life’s distractions is the primary agenda here. The owner’s passion for wellness is clear, with daily yoga classes, 100% natural spa treatments and organic food for guests.
To surround yourself with Lamu’s unspoiled idyllic landscape, head to Manda Bay. Providing secluded luxury, Manda Bay is nestled on the edge of Manda Island within the Lamu archipelago. The hotel is only accessible by boat or private charter flight to the hotel’s airstrip. With a series of quaint cottages surrounded by miles of empty sandy beach, the hotel is perfect for families or couples wanting private relaxation.
For those that want the chance to get active, the hotel also arranges various activities from water sports to bird watching.
For authentic Swahili living, Jaha House is ideal. Set in a typical coastal Kenyan townhouse building, Jaha House is filled with familiar comforts without losing the Swahili essence of the space. With four double rooms, an array of nooks to hideaway in, two large terraces and a majestic pool area, Jaha House is perfect for groups. A great aspect of Jaha House is the fully professional kitchen where guests can cook up a storm, or, relax on the large dining table as a chef prepares the meals. Bookings are for the entire house, so great for groups of traveling friends or family vacations.
WHAT TO SEE
Soak yourself in Swahili culture in Lamu’s Old Town. Dating back to the 1300s, the Old Town exhibits the cultural blend of Arabia and Africa that makes Lamu what it is. Spot the intricate door carvings on the historic buildings as you get lost in the narrow streets of this Heritage Site. The town is car-free, with donkey the main form of transportation, so mind where you step! Charming cafes, museums and shops to pick up pieces by local artisans. Walking around the town and taking in the surroundings is an experience in itself. Though if you want a deeper understanding of the area, book a local guide who will show you places most tourists don’t find.
Hop on a boat for a breathtaking journey to Pate Island where you will find Siyu Fort. Made from coral, the fort was built to protect the inhabitants of the land that has been occupied for 4000 years. Spectacular elements of the area’s history can be found, including original cannons.
WHERE TO EAT
For a meal in an exquisite location, head to this beachside spot in Shela. With a perfectly balanced vibe of luxury and relaxation, Peponi is ideal for seafood lovers, although there are a variety of meat and vegetarian options. The terrace at Peponi is right on the ocean – a perfect dining spot to unwind and watch the dhows sail by as the sun goes down.
For a quick refuel while exploring Lamu Town, Whispers has you covered. This cosy cafe is a perfect pitstop during a day’s sightseeing, serving fresh juices, exquisite East African coffee, tasty snacks and light meals. The garden at the back is a relaxing oasis for a short break from the bustle of the Old Town.
Before planning a trip to Lamu be sure to check the most up to date local travel information.