Lamu Archipelago is a destination at the north coast of Kenya about 341km northeast of Mombasa with Lamu Island being the main attraction in this region. The main islands are Pate Island, Manda Island and Lamu Island. Lamu Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is also the headquarters of Lamu County. The narrow streets of this island have seen the rise and fall of different rulers and dynasties since the 16th Century. The town’s unique architecture, its people and culture makes it an interesting destination for residents and foreigners equally.
Lamu is best accessed via the Manda Airstrip. Buses travel between Malindi and the mainland opposite Lamu. Alternatively, tourists may use speed boats to access the Lamu Island. On the island, donkeys serve as the only mode of transport.
Shumi's Design Shop, Gallery Baraka and the central market are excellent locations for art, textiles, and jewellery shopping. Aman in Shela sells silk and cotton clothes for both men and women.
Around November - December, the town hosts a cultural festival known as Lamu Festival that features swimming and sailing competitions. Because Lamu's population is predominantly Muslim, tourists are expected to be appropriately dressed when touring the town.
The cultural festival is a celebration of Swahili Heritage that include exhibitions of traditional handicraft, Swahili poetry, henna painting and Bao competition which is one of the oldest games known to human history.
There is also a Swahili bridal ceremony and a few bazaars packed with Swahili dishes that offer delightful culinary experience. The most exhilirating are the donkey and dhow races which aim at traditional sailing since Lamu's economy depends on fishing and tourism.
Lamu Cultural Festival 2017 will be celebrated from 15th to 18th November. Book your Lamu accommodation early to enjoy the 16th cultural bonanza.