Travel: Experience The Best Of African Culture In Lamu, Kenya

Our travel this week centres around Lamu, a hidden paradise where palm trees sway on idyllic, deserted beaches. Lamu is a small town on Lamu Island, Kenya; it is home to a diverse blend of cultures and history, and is the perfect place to disconnect from the world for a while. Below are some things you have to know about Lamu before embarking on a trip:

When To Go (July-September): Sitting along the East African coast, Lamu can get pretty humid. Hit up the island through the dry, winter months for those cool breezes and sunny skies.

Discoveries: Wandering the alleys and streets in Lamu’s Old Town is like exploring a narrow maze. Around every corner is another bustling market, gorgeous wood-carved doorway, and plenty of donkeys. Cars are notoriously banned in Lamu, so climb on a sweet-tempered mule for a ride through this magical labyrinth, and see what treasures you can find.

Go Slow…Or Not: Tourists from around the world love Lamu for its quiet, deserted beaches. Stroll along the white sand in silence, with only the waves and seashells to accompany you. Then, if you’ve had enough with “pole, pole,” and need to pick up the pace, there are plenty of water activities to keep you occupied. From scuba diving, to wakeboarding, to kitesurfing, you’ll get your fill of the ocean during your stay.

It’s a Marvelous Night for a Moon Sail: Keeping with the theme of relaxation, hop on a traditional Swahili dhow boat for a restful cruise through the water. Go island hopping during the day, or slip up to Takwa ruins to explore the historic coral villages. For the best experience, book a night cruise and watch the equatorial sun set in fiery bursts of red and orange. Then, sail under the moonlit sky, and enjoy a picnic under the stars.

Get Schooled: Lamu embodies a fantastic blend of cultures, which are apparent throughout the island. From Portuguese design, to Omani food, this vibrant melting pot is waiting to be explored. If you really want to dive into the history of Lamu, there are plenty of places where you can step back in time. From the Takwa ruins, to the Lamu Fort, tap into the local culture and prepare to be intrigued.

Live like a Local: Most of the activity on the island revolves around Lamu Town, but if you’re looking for a quiet place to relax, we recommend staying down the beach in Shela. The Kisimani House is perfect for visitors looking for a place to themselves. Built 200 years ago for the Caliph of Zanzibar, this beautiful villa is run by some extra-friendly staff.

Travel Tip: With daily flights from Nairobi and Mombasa, getting to Lamu is relatively easy. Once you’re on the island, there are no cars, so the best way to travel is by boat or donkey.

Photo Credit: Getty

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