Traveling to Lamu is like entering a different world, one where time slows down ⏰ and all worries fade away. Boats glide along the sea, people chat with one another, and children play in the streets. Once you get there, you will be taken in by the magical atmosphere and the stunning surroundings. You’ll be amazed how all there is to do in this Lamu, Kenya travel guide.
I was fortunate to visit this beautiful town with one of my friends that lives in Kenya. She had spent many vacations in this lovely area of the country and wanted to share it with me. I simply fell in love with it.
Below you can read my detailed Lamu Kenya guide. It includes everything you need to know about planning a trip including when to go, where to stay, and what to do. I hope you enjoy!
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Table of Contents
Lamu, Kenya Travel Guide
Best Time to Go
While Lamu is beautiful year-round, the best times to go are during the dry seasons. There are two dry seasons in Lamu, one that runs from July – October and another that runs from January through February. The rainy season 🌧 in Lamu lasts from April through June, and there is less opportunity to spend time on the beach.
How to Get There
Most visitors fly ✈️ into the neighboring Manda Island to get to Lamu. The airport consists of one airstrip with a large room for people to wait. There are daily flights from other cities within Kenya such as Nairobi, Mombasa, and Malindi. Once you get to the airstrip, you can take a dhow across to Shela or Lamu Town.
How to Get Around
There is no vehicular traffic in Lamu, so you have to turn to other methods of transportation to get around. Shela and Lamu Town are fairly small, so you can explore those on foot 👣.
If you want passage from Shela to Lamu Town or vice versa, then you can rent a dhow ⛵️. Once we got one ride to Shela, we took the captain’s number and used his dhow for the rest of our stay.
Donkeys 🐴 transport items around town, but if you want you can also hire those for passage. You will find that it’s very easy to get around Lamu and transportation is of little concern.
Where to Stay
Much of the lodging in Lamu Town and Shela Village are private houses with rooms rented out to travelers. Deciding whether to stay in Lamu Town or Shela is the hardest question 🤔.
If you want a quieter stay then Shela is best, but Lamu Town provides close interactions with the culture and the warm people.
Our private home in Lamu Town had a wonderful owner who cooked us breakfast in the mornings and offered plenty of advice. The home itself had private bathrooms, mosquito net covered beds, and an adorable courtyard. If you’d rather stay in luxurious hotels, then there are some great places including the Peponi Hotel, The Red Pepper House, and Manda Bay.
What to Do
Going to Lamu is like traveling to another world 🌍, where things slow down and people take joy out of the simple things in life. Spend your time here relaxing and taking in all of the beauty that abounds on this archipelago.
You can spend days here simply sitting on the beach or walking through the streets in town. You’ll realize as soon as you arrive that there is no need to stress about doing things, but here are a few ways to spend your time.
Stroll on the Beach
My friend and I spent plenty of time in Lamu going on long walks on the beach and talking about life. There are many spots around the archipelago where you’ll find beaches that extend for miles.
Feel the warmth of the sand beneath your toes and listen to the sounds of the waves crashing 🌊 as you meander down the shoreline. You can find beautiful areas where there are no other people around to relax or rent a lounge chair at one of the seaside resorts.
Luxuriate at the Peponi Hotel
Peponi is one of the oldest and nicest hotels in Lamu. The hotel features glamorous rooms, decadent food, a lovely pool 👙, and seaside lounging areas. My friend and I did not stay at the Peponi but we were able to grab a delicious meal and enjoy the amenities for a fee.
If you have the money 💵, then it’s a spectacular place to stay. There are other great hotels on the island that will also let you spend time using their pools or eating at their restaurants for small fees. Treat yourself to a wonderful day.
Wander Through the Old Town Streets
You can’t have a Lamu, Kenya travel guide without Old Town Lamu. As one of the oldest and well-preserved Swahili settlements, Old Town Lamu was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Walking through the maze of streets, you will notice the sturdy stone buildings, intricate hand-carved wooden doors, and peaceful courtyards. Although Lamu Town has so much more to offer than its historical roots. Daily life thrives here. Find yourself watching kids play on the streets, donkeys transporting people, and friends chatting in the square.
Enjoy a Sunset Dhow Ride
Watching the colors 🌅 change over the glimmering seaside is a beautiful sight. As the sunset approaches, plenty of dhows head to sea with passengers hoping to catch the view.
Sit back and relax on the cushy pillows as the boat takes you on a ride. Enjoy the sights of Lamu town, the Mangrove forests 🌳, and the beautiful beaches. There is simply no better way to end the day.
Explore Shela Village
Shela’s white sand beaches, quiet atmosphere, and pristine buildings are a stark contrast from Lamu Town. Tourists come here to stay in beautiful townhouses and enjoy the luxurious lifestyle.
Similar to Lamu Town, the streets are narrow and they wave in a confounding puzzle. When you are in Shela, you can shop in adorable boutiques, take yoga classes in luscious courtyards, or sunbathe at stunning beach resorts.
Lamu will capture your heart and make you want to change your way of life. It’s a place that invites you to take time for yourself and to step away from your usual burdens. Breathe deeply and let go.
Let me know if you enjoyed this travel guides in the comments!
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