Situated on the fringes of the Indian Ocean, the Lamu Archipelago is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where life still retains the pace of traditional Swahili culture. Life here revolves around the sea. Lamu was an established Arab trading port as long ago as the 1oth Century and fishing, trading and seafaring remains its principal activity to this day. Arabic architecture and rich inlaid door carvings hint at an affluent past and the waterfront streets of Lamu and Shella ring with the five daily calls to prayer.
Lamu island is an area of stunning natural beauty with warm ocean waters and pristine beaches of golden sand. At dusk walking in the narrow alleys of Shella you will see Swahili women dressed in traditional black buibuis. Male residents sit on their door steps and greet you while donkies, the ‘traffic’ of Lamu, shove past silently plodding home. The wooden counters of small shops, lit with gas lamps, are colored with local garden produce. Groups of men gather around awaiting the last call to prayer from the mosque.
Free from cars, this unspoilt and culturally fascinating island offers a wide variety of activities, from fishing, snorkelling and sunset trips in the wooden dhows for which the coast is renowned, to windsurfing, scattered scuba diving and visits to the ancient town of Lamu, it’s museums and the ruins on neighboring islands. Also the Turtle Trust at Peponi Hotel runs visits to turtle nest hatchings along the ocean front. Just minutes away from the village of Shella the eight mile white sand beach backed by unspoilt sand dunes stuns everyone with its expanse of pristine glory and long may it remain so.