Lamu reeks of historical gems, golden beaches and some of the liveliest people on earth, these combined with its all year round festivals transforms the Island into a Paradise
The Lamu Archipelago consists of numerous Islands, which extend for about 100km north of Lamu Island. The most significant of them are Manda (opposite Lamu) with the smaller Manda toto off its northern Shore, Pate and Kiwayu.
The Archipelago reeks of historical gems, golden beaches and some of the liveliest people on earth, these combined with its all year round festivals and celebrations transforms the Island into a paradise on earth.
Here are ten interesting places you should visit the next time you are in Lamu Archipelago for some much needed rest or adventure.
#1. Lamu Museum
Located on the waterfront next to the town jetty, it is the second largest building in Lamu old Town after Lamu Fort.
The building was originally owned by Abdalla bin Hamed bin Siad Al-Busaid and its construction was completed in 1892.
Inside here you would get full introduction of the region, both past and present.
It has fascinating collection of the Swahili, Pokomo, Orma, Boni and other hinterland tribes.
#2. Lamu Fort
This massive multi-storied building with a central courtyard dates back to 1813, shortly after Lamu’s victory over Pate and Mombasa in the battle of Shela.
The Fort has served several purposes over the years from housing a garrison of Baluchi soldiers sent by the Sultan of Oman to serving as a prison from 1910 to 1984 before it was taken over by the National Museums of Kenya.
It houses three sections of exhibits, a marine section, freshwater and terrestrial.
Lamu Fort majestically stands in the center of Lamu town so you won’t be able to miss it.
#3. German Post Office Museum
This double storey building was the first post office in East Africa underscoring the fame of Lamu then as the center for marinetime trade with Europe and other nations.
It was built after the reclamation of a strip of land from the sea in the early 19 century by Mrs Mwana Madina.
It was later bought and renovated by a German Consul, Mr. Gustav Denhardt, an Architect and Geographer.
The house was transformed into a post office in 1888 and became a museum in 1996.
#4. The Swahili House Museum
A walk through this unique museum gives one a glimpse of the traditional setup of a Swahili home, with its well-planned bedrooms, bath, Kitchen and Living areas; period furniture has been used throughout the rooms and give tis museum its authentic character.
It is located in the northern part of the town and has been restored to illustrate a Swahili home of that period.
#5. Town Square
Also known as (Mkunguni) the square used to be a landing site for marine activities during the Swahili golden age.
#6. Shela town
Located about two and half kilometers south of Lamu, this peaceful fishing town is frequented by thousands of visitors annually to enjoy its 12km of golden sand flanked by sand dunes.
#7. Matondoni Village
If you want to know more about the craft of Lamu’s world famous traditional dhows and how it is made then this is the place for you.
If you would love to stock on some of the best Palms Matts for walls and floors while at it then Kipungani Village will welcome you with open arms.
#8. Takwa ruins
Located at Manda Island, these ruins remains of a thriving 16 century Swahili trading post remain one of major attractions of Manda Islands.
#9. Pate Island
According to the chronicle of Pate, the town was founded by Arab immigrants in the early years of Islam.
In the 13 century a dispossessed group of Arab rulers from Oman (the Nabhani ) arrived in Pate Island.
The main towns on Pate Island are Siyu, Faza, Kizungitini and Mtangawanda, of these Siyu is best known for its tradition as a center of Islamic learning.
Siyu Fort is the most striking building in Pate Island.
Traveling to this island is by dhow or a local passenger ferry service on a motorized launch which takes about four hours.
This is the oldest known settlement on the Kenyan coast and Pate’s greatest historical site.
It dates back 200 years and was first settled between the 8 and 9 century.
#11. Kiunga Marine National Reserve
Stretching about 60km along the coastline with coral reef and little islands, Kiunga Marine National Reserve lies in the confluence of the northern East Africa – coastal currents and the South flowing, nutrients rich Somali current.
It is famous as a habitat for the rare Dugong a marine fish that has a tail like mermaid (it is believed to be the source of themermaid myth).
It is also the largest breeding grounds for the roseate terns and at least five types of turtle and nine types of mangrove species.
It is located on Kiwayu Island and accessed by dhow or by speedboat.