Lamu, Kenya: History, Luxury, and…

Lamu, Kenya: History, Luxury, and…

Lamu, Kenya anyone?

Hey Traveling Black Women!

Can you picture an East African escapade that blends history, luxury, and the soul-stirring beauty of the Indian Ocean? That is Lamu.

The Lamu archipelago was once a major Arab trading port–including the trading of slaves. As a result, you will notice that Lamu’s population is made up of a mixture of people of Bantu and Arab descent.

Islam and Christianity are both practiced in Lamu, however it is a majority Islamic region. With that in mind, it is a good idea to dress more conservatively when not on a resort or beach. Sundresses and kaftans like the one below are great options for being cute while being mindful of the cultural norms around you.

Away to Africa founder, Tiffanie Anderson, walks towards dhow boat in Lamu, Kenya.

There is so much to do in Lamu. Here are the top 5 experiences that will invite you to embrace its unique charm, from the tranquil Tusitiri Dhow cruise to the captivating streets of Lamu Town.

1. Tusitiri Dhow Cruise: Sailing in Lamu, Kenya

Picture this: A traditional dhow gently slicing through crystal-clear waters, the scent of the ocean breeze, and the rhythmic lull of the waves. The Tusitiri Dhow Cruise is your ticket to serenity.

2. Lamu Town: Stroll Through History

Lamu Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to the oldest Swahili settlement in East Africa. Take a leisurely stroll through its narrow, winding streets adorned with Swahili architecture. Watch out for the donkeys hauling cargo through those same narrow streets!

The Lamu Fort, Swahili House Museum, and the Lamu Museum are windows into the town’s rich history. Shop for exquisite handcrafted jewelry, colorful fabrics, and traditional artifacts in the vibrant markets, where Lamu’s unique cultural tapestry unfolds before your eyes.

3. Luxury Stays: Manda Island, Shela or Lamu Town?

Lamu spoils you with choices when it comes to luxury stays. Whether you opt for the serene beauty of Shela Beach or the historical charm of Lamu Town, each location offers a range of boutique hotels and private villas that are perfect for solo travelers and group travel. Either way, you will find yourself waking up to the sound of the ocean or the call to prayer echoing through the streets and ending your day with the most elegant sunset you’ve ever see.

4. Floating Bars: Nightlife on the Water

Since Lamu is a majority Muslim region, you will not find a series of bars and restaurants selling alcohol. However, that does not mean that there is not a nightlife in the archipelago!

Floating Bar & Restaurant Lamu is one of the most popular floating bars in the region. This Black Women Owned bar is located on the water between Shela and Lamu Town. Here you can expect great drinks, a chill VIP loft, and Afrobeats and Hip Hop playing all night. It is a time!!

5. Lamu Cultural Festival: A Celebration of Diversity:

Plan your visit around the Lamu Cultural Festival to witness the vibrant spirit of Lamu come alive. I was fortunate to visit Lamu during the festival, and I enjoyed every bit of it. From traditional Swahili dances to dhow races, the festival is a celebration of Lamu’s rich cultural mosaic. I was able to engage with locals, kick back on a luxury dhow, and savor the festive atmosphere. It was a great opportunity to connect with the heart and soul of Lamu.

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