Tropical Lamu Island Guide
Rediscover yourself in the tranquil and gorgeous Luma islands. Explore a land lost in time yet filled to the brim with activities that will keep you on the go.
Kenya is a gold mine of Lovely scenery, captivating wildlife, mouthwatering cuisine and beautiful simplicity. Lamu Island is the definition of that. Unlike modern cities with their drawbacks of bottleneck traffic and endless barrage of sounds good and bad, Lamu island does not have roads but alleyways and footpaths with a few motorized cars here and there with the residents commuting by boat or foot. There is no better way to tour a beautiful city.
Here is a guide about all that you need to know about Lamu Island, one of the most significant places to visit in Kenya.
All you Need to Know about Lamu Island
How to Get There
You can fly to Lamu directly from Mombasa or Malindi. There are no international flights that land directly in either Mombasa or Malindi, so you have to connect via Nairobi (JKIA). The flight takes only one hour from Nairobi to either one of the cities.
It is also recommended to drive Malindi from Mombasa, then fly from there to Lamu, as the airports are less crowded. Besides, you will have a chance to enjoy the coastal view while driving from Mombasa to Malindi.
The easiest way to reach Lamu by road is by taking a bus from Mombasa. There are plenty of buses that head to the island. Tawakal buses are recommended, as they have express semi-luxury buses.
Getting Around in Lamu
There are no cars in the area. Everything you need, you will find it on a walking distance.
The warmest months in Lamu are from January to March. Cooler temperatures occur from July to September. Depending on the seasonal month, the average day temperature varies between 80’s F to 90’s F (26 C to 32 C). Nighttime temperature ranges between 73-79 F (23-26 C), depending on the seasonal month as well
The Island experiences two rainy seasons. The long rainy season starts and ends by June, with an average of 12 to 18 days of rain producing an average of 7 to 12 inches of rain per month. The shorter rainy season starts in November and lasts until December. It brings approximately 8 to 10 days of rain, producing an average of 2 to 4 inches of rain per month.
The island has two dry seasons. The long one lasts from July to October whereas the short one lasts from January to February.
Best Time to Visit
Lamu Island is visitable all year round. However, for the unsurpassed seaside vacation on the Indian Ocean, it is recommended to visit during the two dry seasons, from July to October and also January to February. It is when you can enjoy longer hours of sunlight, giving you the chance to enjoy so many activities in one of Kenya’s paradise Islands.
Things to Do in Lamu Island
The mostly and mainly inhabited part of the island which is Lamu town is one of the oldest and well preserved Swahili settlements in East Africa. It maintains a beautiful simplicity in their structures.
Second is Shela located south of Lamu with its origin unknown. It is believed that it was populated by the inhabitants of the nearby Manda island. Now it's a thriving tourist attraction and home of the most spectacular beaches in the world. In addition, there are the last two settlements Matondoni and Kipgani.
1- Lamu Old City
If you are looking for a swahili culture tour, you will enjoy exploring Lamu old town with a local. The city has buildings and houses that date back to the 17th century, reflecting the city’s history.
Pay a visit to Lamu Fort as well to know more about the Island’s rich history. The fort was constructed in 1830. You will see the influence of the Portuguese, Chinese, Omanis and Brits on the island.
2- Sail to the Sunset
The island is for those who want to chill and relax. There is no perfect way to do that other than experiencing the sunset while sipping a sundowner or dhow, Lamu’s unique traditional sailboats.
The experience will offer you an uninterrupted view of the Indian Ocean. It will be more special when the sunset is blended with the full moon’s appearance on the horizon.
3- Visit Shela Village and Manda Island
Head ro Shela Village on a 15 minute boat ride from Lamu Island. It is less crowded with pristine beaches making it an excellent spot for a sand-in-feet experience.
Manda Island is famous for a wide stretch of sandy beaches and palm-lined backdrop. It is perfect to take some photographs. There is also kayaking and waterboarding at Manda Bay for sports lovers
4- Try Some Swahili Dishes
The island offers a wide range of options, a different mix of cultures that lived on the island for years. Try a fresh seafood seasoned with local species along with coconut rice or chapati for a genuine Sawahili taste. For breakfast, do not skip the mahamri, spices doughnuts served with peas cooked in coconut milk.