Why Lamu Will Capture Your Hearts


Lamu is a timeless, remote destination quietly tucked away on the Kenyan coast: the true epitome of romance. This beautiful, historic town has beguiled curious travelers since the arrival of the hippies in the 1960s and is today popular with those - including me - looking to tie the knot, escape on honeymoon or take the family off the beaten track on a laid-back beach break. 

Lamu's unique blend of Swahili traditions, vibrant markets, and the gentle lapping of the Indian Ocean waves charms all who set foot in this quiet corner of Kenya.  Here are our top five reasons why we believe Lamu will capture your hearts:

Explore the narrow streets of Shela Village ©Chiara Parazzi

1) Timeless atmosphere

Lamu has an enduring charm with its well-preserved Swahili architecture, narrow winding streets, and a sense of tranquility that seems to transport visitors to a bygone era.

Travel tip: take a guided tour of UNESCO-listed Lamu Old Town and get lost in its maze of alleyways. With no cars - only donkeys - it’s like stepping back in time, and historic buildings such as The old Fortress stand as a reminder of the many centuries of trade and cultural exchange that have shaped this unique coastal town.

2) Secluded beaches and excellent water activities

Lamu boasts pristine, untouched beaches with golden sands and turquoise waters. Whether it's a leisurely stroll along the shoreline or a Swim across the channel to Manda Island, there are plenty of secluded spots to explore this authentic Swahili stretch of coast.  

Travel Tip: For those seeking a bit more beach adventure, try kitesurfing at Kizingoni or your private traditional dhow expedition to snorkel around Manda Toto, one can even enjoy a leisurely paddle through mangrove-lined estuaries with a SUP or kayak.

Stunning secluded beaches ©Chiara Parazzi

3) Dhow expeditions

Traditional dhow boats gracefully sail the turquoise waters: a picturesque backdrop for those lounging onshore or a great way to explore the islands and mangrove creeks of the Lamu Archipelago: always a must do experience for everyone visiting Lamu. 

Travel tip: We often enhance the Lamu guest experience by adding a few nights aboard the Tusitiri Dhow, a splendidly outfitted, authentic East African trading dhow available for exclusive bookings. As one of the last large trading dhows in the region, Tusitiri offers an ideal setting for families or a group of friends seeking a private and unique retreat amidst the stunning islands of the northern Kenyan coast.

Sailing with kids on a traditional Dhow

4) Stunning private villas

Lamu offers some of the most elegant beach hideaways on the Kenyan coast: architecturally stunning properties with a fascinating history and a cool contemporary edge. Be it a venue for a wedding or special celebration, or a holiday house for large families or groups of friends, there are a variety of properties available. 

Travel tip: Depending on the group, we sometimes recommend that guests stay outside Shela for a more secluded, exclusive experience. We love properties such as Kusini Villa in Kipungani.

Stunning view from your private beach front house ©Chiara Parazzi

5) Cultural fusion

Lamu’s unique and enduring charm is woven into the streets of its Old Town and Shela Village where centuries-old architecture whispers tales of rich history and cultural fusion. Lamu's cultural diversity stems from the Arab, Persian, Indian, and European influences that have shaped this stretch of coastline for thousands of years. Its vibrant markets, storied architecture, and echoing call to prayer add a unique flavour found nowhere else. There’s a mysterious romance to Lamu.

Travel tip: Shela village is a place to pole pole (slow down): watch the local fisherman bringing in their catch, marvel at the traditions and expertise of Lamu’s skilled boat builders, or spend the afternoon at Iconic Peponi Hotel sipping on an ‘Old Pal’ cocktail whilst enjoying their delicious and diverse variety of fresh seafood.

Peponi Restaurant rooftop is the perfect spot to enjoy a leisurely lunch

Every Africa Born Coastal safari is a bespoke experience tailored uniquely for our guests. Whether you seek adventure, relaxation, or a blend of both, our team is here to ensure your Lamu escape is unforgettable.

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