Reasons to Visit Lamu This Festive Season
Lamu Island is a delightful place to be during the festive season. During this period, the tourist crowd have left, and the island is peaceful and more romantic. The island may look deserted in some way but you will still enjoy everything it has to offer. During this period, the sunsets and sunrise are more magical, and you’ll have the opportunity to see some of the most spectacular views without getting blocked by crowds.
Let’s take a look at some reasons to visit Lamu this festive season:
1. Dhow Sailing
Lamu is a small island and residents have gone a long way to keep it uninterrupted by modernity and thus donkey rides, boats and dhows remain the dominant modes of transport. Take a leisurely cruise around the Lamu archipelago with a dhow with some wine and good company. Sunset dhow cruises are something to behold.
Tip! To find out more about booking activities like these check out our experiences bookings
2. Tour the ruins of Takwa
The ruins of Takwa are situated on Manda Island, and they were once home to some of the biggest settlements in the coastal region. This once thriving community is said to have been abandoned in the 17th century and today the coral ruins remain a popular historical site for visitors.
3. Feast on Swahili food
Lamu boasts some of the best mouth-watering traditional foods, with a blend of Swahili and Eastern influences. You’ll enjoy a delectable selection of foods that will leave your taste buds doing an African dance. Most of these dishes are laden with spices such as cinnamon, cloves, cumin seed, and fresh coconut milk.
You’ll discover a large variety of seafood, Biryani, coconut rice with mango chutney, spicy masala tea and some ruby-red halwa among others. Just indulge yourself fully!
4. Stay in a Swahili Townhouse
Now, hotels are good and all but a Swahili townhouse in Lamu is something else. A traditional house in Lamu features beautiful architecture, charming and authentic, detailed historic Swahili decorative features, and antique furniture. Stay in a Swahili townhouse and enjoy a genuine Lamu experience.
Swahili Townhouse, Image Source: LamuIsland.Co.Ke
5. Visit Baraka Gallery
Baraka Gallery is a great place for art lovers, especially those into African arts. The gallery features pieces from all over the continent and if you’re a collector of African art then this right here is your spot.
You will find everything from ceremonial Yoruba masks, durable Maasai embroidered belts to Yemeni silver jewellery and central African carvings here. With a variety of beautiful antiques, this is a great place to shop for souvenirs to take home to your loved ones.
6. Relax at Shela Beach
Shela Beach is located about 15 minutes from Lamu town by boat or you could take a 40-minute walk along the shores. Take a dip in the blue waters of the Indian Ocean just to cool off as you enjoy the stunning beauty of Shela Beach albeit quite deserted.
The water is calm and shallow near the shore so you don’t even have to be a pro swimmer to enjoy yourself. There are plenty of accommodation options with beautiful views of the ocean for your stay.
Shella Beach Lamu, Image Source: LamuIsland.Co.Ke
7. Attend a Lamu Festival
There are several cultural, historical and Muslim festivals that are held in Lamu every year. The Lamu Cultural Festival is perhaps the biggest one held in November to showcase and celebrate Swahili culture. A spectacular dhow race is held to celebrate New Year’s where sailors compete and this attracts huge enthusiastic crowds of both locals and visitors alike. This would be a fun activity to attend this festive season.
Lamu Cultural Festival, Image Source: MagicalKenya.Com
8. Enjoy some street food
The food culture in Lamu Island is full of character and this extends well beyond the fancy restaurants and resorts. In fact, one could say the street is really where you could taste the real flavour of Lamu. Take some time to enjoy some Vitumbua, Jelebi, Sugar Donuts, Bhajia, Mahamri just to name a few.
Lamu Street Food
9. Walk through the Old Town
Lamu Old Town prides itself in being the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in the East African region. Narrow streets and stunning old stone buildings characterize the town. Take a leisurely walk down the streets to sample the impressive wooden curved doors and the houses which are a fusion of Swahili, Arabic, European, Indian and Persian influence in style and architecture.
Lamu Old Town
10. Grab a drink at the Floating Bar
On your way to Shela, there is a floating bar that is one of the best places to grab a drink with a few friends or just alone while in Lamu especially to wind down the evening. You get there by boat and you hire one offshore, it gets cheaper to hire the boat if you’re in a group. It’s advisable to go there after you’ve eaten as the food selection there is limited and is mostly seafood.
Floating Bar, Image Source: Safari254.Com
11. Watch the sunrise and sunset
Doesn’t sound like a plan on the surface but the sunset and sunrise views in Lamu will change your view of beauty. The sun kissing the low waves of the ocean and the landscape around is something from a painting masterclass. You can walk around at all times in the night to view the sunset and your safety is fine as Lamu is a very safe town.
12. Go Snorkelling
Coral reef snorkelling is an amazing underwater experience for lovers of water activities. Go down to Lamu this festive season and enjoy snorkelling as Lamu has one of the top coral reefs in Kenya. The aquatic environment there is vibrant and you can frequently sight sea turtles and dolphins and other large marine animals on the coral reefs.
13. Enjoy Lamu Nightlife
Well, there isn’t a lot of alcohol in Lamu because of its hugely conservative leaning and it also being a Muslim majority. That said there are a few places that serve alcohol and good music to go along with it.
One such place is Petley’s Inn which attracts pretty much everyone to the party from locals to visitors. Another such place is Peponi’s Bar which is Swiss-owned and serves very nice sundowners.
Lamu Nightlife: Petley’s Inn, Image Source: EnHols.Com
14. Go Deep Sea Fishing
Deep sea fishing gets you closer to some big finned creatures of the Indian Ocean in Lamu. Catch a big one for lunch for you and your friends or family this festive period. You can reel in a kingfish, tuna, barracuda or the sailfish which you can then grill or cook however you like.
Deep Sea Fishing, Image Source: Kenya-Coast.Com
15. Indulge in some water sports
Lamu Island is a haven for those that enjoy the thrill of skimming across the water with its deep blue waters and beautiful sandy beaches. Indulge in kite surfing or windsurfing with the help of the instructors and crews who’ll help you set up your equipment and ensure safety for you.
Windsurfing Water Sports in Lamu, Image Source: TheMajlisResorts.Com