Kenya travel guide

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Lamu Travel Guide

Lamu Travel Guide - Explore Lamu

There are no vehicles on Lamu Town, you can explore the city on foot, and it is also possible to hire a bicycle or a donkey around the island. There is no beach in Lamu Town, so you need to go to the other side of the island, to Shela Beach. There are many dhows carrying passengers back and forth different beaches, and islands such as Manda, Pate or Siyu.

Notable sights in Lamu include:

Lamu Museum
LAMU MUSEUM

The Lamu Museum is located on the waterfront, in a very grand Swahili warehouse, once occupied by Jack Haggard, Queen Victoria's consul. Lamu museum provides an excellent introduction to the history and culture of Lamu, the exhibits include a reconstructed Swahili house, a collection of Swahili artifacts, and ethnographic material from neighboring ethnic groups, such as Swahili, Orma and Pokomo.

Other exhibits include coastal carved doors, the Maulidi Festival, and tribes that occupied this part of the coast, including the Boni who were a legendary hunter tribe.

The nautical section shows a collection of maritime artifacts and a variety of dhows. Other important part of the collection are the ceremonial horns or Siwa, which are made from engraved brass, dating back to the 17th century

Visitors are welcome to the museum daily from 8.00am to 6.00pm

Lamu Fort
LAMU FORT

Lamu fort is located in the island main square, about 70 meters inland, Lamu fort is one of the best conserved historic buildings in Kenya.

Lamu fort is a cultural center operated through the Lamu museum, the fort is home to the Lamu branch of the Department of Coastal Archaeology, the Lamu Old Town Conservation Office, a Public Library, a museum shop, even a restaurant specializing in Swahili cuisine.

The Old Fort was built in 1812, with the help of the Omani slave trader and Sultan Seyyid Said. The stone Fort was built to protect the Lamu people from hostile alliances. The fort was used as local headquarters for the Colonial British administration and served as a prison from 1910 to 1984.

Visitors are welcome to visit Lamu Fort from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm everyday.

Shela Beach
SHELA BEACH

Shela Beach is a white-sandy beach that runs for 12 kilometers along the headland. It is a forty-five minute walk or ten minute trip by dhow from Lamu Town.

Shela beach is the ideal spot for a walk, sailing, windsurfing, and water skiing. There are interesting ruins at the back of the village, including the Friday Mosque built in 1829.

German Post Office Museum
GERMAN POST OFFICE MUSEUM

German Post Office Museum is located off Harambee Avenue, originally built as a private residence. In the late 1800s, the Germans consider Lamu as an ideal base from where they could successfully exploit East Africa, as part of their efforts it was converted and used as a post office by the German East Africa Company.

The old building was restored and now is a museum, officially opened in December 1996, the museum exhibit photographs and memorabilia from the fleeting period of colonial history, showing the industrial development of the postal services in Kenya and the historical contacts between Germany and Kenya

Visitors are welcome to the German Post Office Museum daily from 8am to 6pm.

Donkey Sanctuary
DONKEY SANCTUARY

Donkey Sanctuary is located in the northern part of Lamu, near the seafront, it was established on 4th July 1987 for the old beasts of burden by the international Donkey Protection Trust of Sidmouth. The project provides free veterinary services to donkey owners, there is even a small ambulance for donkey emergencies.

Donkeys are the main form of transportation in Lamu Town, an estimated of 2,200 donkeys are used for farming, to carry materials and provisions. The Sanctuary has contributed immensely to the better health of the donkeys, you have the chance to see how well donkeys are treated.

Takwa Ruins
TAKWA RUINS

Takwa is located on the southeastern corner of Manda Island, a 30 minute boat ride from Lamu Town. The ruins were first excavated by James Kirkman in 1951, Takwa was a flourishing town during the 16th century and probably abandoned around 17th C (no one knows why). It appears that Takwa was a place were holy men or religious people retreated.

Among the more notable features at Takwa is the unique Friday Mosque which is relatively well preserved. Other structure remaining of importance is the Pillar Tomb, which has an inscription with the date of 1681-1682.

Some residents of Shela, who believe they are descendants of Takwa, come to the Pillar Tomb to pray. A visit to Takwa is a unique experience, which can be complimented by a picnic or overnight camping.

Swahili House Museum
SWAHILI HOUSE MUSEUM

The Swahili House Museum is located in the centre Swahili House Museum was opened in 1987. It was carefully renovated during seven years to its original state, now is a beautiful example of a typical 18th century Swahili house.

The Swahili House Museum has well planned bedrooms, bath, kitchen and living areas; with the various colors of Swahili culture

Visitors are welcome to the museum daily from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm.

Riyadha Mosque
RIYADHA MOSQUE

The Mosque is the centre from the Maulidi Festival, it was built at the beginning of the 20th century. Founded by Habib Salih, a Sharif with family connections to the Hadramaut, Yemen.


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