The historical stone-town of Lamu on Lamu island, one of the many islands of the Lamu archipelago on the Indian ocean, was founded around the 13th century.
It has a rich fusion of African, Arabic and Indian cultures.
It is the oldest and best-preserved example of Swahili settlement in East Africa and unlike other Swahili settlements, which have been abandoned along the East African coast, Lamu has continuously been inhabited for over 700 years.
Once the most important trade centre in East Africa, Lamu has exercised an important influence in the entire region in religious, cultural as well as in technological expertise.
Lamu is a significant centre for education in Islamic and Swahili culture and celebrates the annual Maulidi and cultural festivals.
The town has two main streets - Harambee Road on the waterfront and Jomo Kenyatta Street.
The historical Swahili houses are built of coral stone and mangrove timber, with inner courtyards, verandas, and elaborately carved wooden doors of the East African coast. Lamu’s narrow streets remain unchanged.
Life around the markets and the square by Lamu Fort moves at the same pace as it always has. There are no vehicles on the island save for the District officer’s. The donkey and the dhow remain the main form of transport.
Lamu old stone town is a World Heritage Site.
Fly to the airstrip on neighboring Manda Island and take a 10-minute boat ride into town.
It is 242 kilometres north of Mombasa town and a 30 minutes dhow ride to the main land.