Happy Thursday! 😀 Welcome to part 2 of our Lamu series as promised! Today we explore the fun things to do in Lamu! I hope you’ve got your adventure boots on and feel ready to go…
About a month ago, we set out to explore Lamu with Jambojet as they relaunched their flights to Lamu. I wrote part 1 of the series, with a detailed account of our travel experience from Nairobi to Lamu…
P.S. In case you missed it, catch up with Part 1 of the Lamu series here: The Jambojet in Lamu Experience + Travel Tips.
Top 10 Unique Things To Do in Lamu
Safe to say that Lamu is #NowTravelReady! However, before you go, remember to take precautions to protect yourself from Covid-19.
- Wear protective face masks and carry extras.
- Bring your own hand sanitiser & sanitise frequently/ wash your hands thoroughly.
- Maintain social distancing.
- Get vaccinated. And whether you are vaccinated or not, protect the next person by practising the measures above.
Sunset Dhow Cruise
Sometimes when I am feeling a bit stressed out, I mentally go back to this moment in time…
Imagine yourself on a dhow, sailing over the Indian ocean, swaying gently to the rhythm of the wind & the waves. The motion of the dhow is sweet, calming and soft, almost like a lullaby. The colours of the water transform right before your eyes, in sync with the setting sun… And as the air feels light, so does your heart. 🙂
Sounds beautiful ay? Well, a sunset dhow cruise is a must-have, on your bucket-list of things to do in Lamu! You’ll easily fall more in love with the place, its people and even with yourself! 😀
The dhow cruise takes about 2hours, as you sail around the channel, with the sprawling town and mesmerising sunset for your view.
>> It costs about Kshs. 1,000/- per person. (10USD).
Visit Old Town Lamu
Lamu is the kind of place you go to, when you want to take it easy. And in Old Town Lamu, you’ll feel like the clock stopped at some point! The buildings are quaint and lined with historic significance, while its people are warm, respectful & welcoming. 🙂
The streets of Old Town are so narrow that only donkeys can pass through.
They have guided tours where you’ll get to learn more about the town’s history & culture, plus the essence of its architecture. The intricately carved Lamu doors were especially intriguing to me!
While taking pictures of these distinct Lamu doors, someone stopped me to chat in the street. He jovially told me of how thrilled they were with our visit!
He went on to explain how much they prefer their Old Town Lamu life, hence they want to do away with boda-bodas. Although I don’t recall his name, that heartwarming encounter stayed with me.
That is Lamu for you. You will feel welcome at every turn. 🙂
Quick Tips & other things to do in Lamu Old Town:-
- You can visit the Lamu Museum, ride donkeys through the streets or get yourself some henna art done.
- A guided tour costs about Kshs. 1,000/- per person. (10USD)
- Old Town Lamu is still quite conservative, so dress modestly when you go.
- Look out for the donkey races that take place in Old Town, through the year.
Sample Swahili Cuisine at Moonrise Restaurant
A visit to Lamu is not complete without sampling the Swahili Cuisine! We got to have lunch at the Lamu House Moonrise Restaurant. This terrace hotel is right on the waterfront, offering ocean views with a breeze!
They serve both local Swahili dishes and a variety of international cuisines, hence you’ll have options to choose from.
After walking around Old Town in the Lamu heat, lunch at Moonrise restaurant felt like an oasis! They’d prepared a buffet for us with a number of dishes to try. The food was delightful! 🙂
- Moonrise Restaurant is open to the public for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- You don’t have to be a guest at Lamu House to visit.
- You might need to call ahead to make a booking.
- They usually have a live band on Friday evenings so it gets quite busy days.
- A meal at the Moonrise restaurant typically ranges between Kshs. 750/- to Kshs. 1,800/- (7.5 to 18USD).
Get your blood racing: Go Tubing!
Okay my adrenaline lovers, come closer! 😀 Is it even a coastal trip without some water-sports?
The Majlis Resort offers tubing, an activity where you sit on an inflated tube that’s pulled by a speedboat as you cruise around the ocean at a high speed! The speedboat operator will go as fast and as wild as you’d prefer, depending on how daring you are.
Honestly, I was super scared before partaking this activity. Mostly because Foi, Yvonne, Magunga and Gufy had gone before us… And being super daring, 3 of them ended up smack in the water! 😀
Miriam, my spirited partner-in-crime for this one, managed to convince me to go. And it turned out to be an awesome, fun experience! Never mind that before we started, I’d given our speedboat guy at least 10 warnings: ‘usituangushe, sijui kuswim’ (don’t let us fall, I can’t swim). 😀
This activity will test your fears, but it’s probably more fun if you can let go!
>> It costs Kshs. 5,500 per person, for a 30 minutes’ ride. (55USD)
Visit Takwa Ruins
Are you a lover of history? Then you might want to add this to your bucket-list of things to do in Lamu.
In the 15th & 16th Century, Takwa was a thriving Swahili Town. However, in the 17th Century, the town became abandoned due to lack of fresh water for its residents. Moreover, tribal fights between the Takwa and the Pate people worsened the situation.
Today, you can visit the Takwa Ruins, located on the south eastern corner of Manda Island, Lamu. A boat ride to the Takwa Ruins feels like a scene out of a movie, thanks to the shallow channel surrounded by mangroves.
You’ll get to learn more about the History of Lamu, the architecture, its people and the culture.
- Find out the best time to visit from your boat captain and stick to the timings.
- The waters around Takwa are shallow, meaning that the boats can’t access it during a low tide. Consequently, you’d have to walk for about 2 hours to the next pick-up point.
- The boat ride to Takwa Ruins costs about Kshs. 1,500/- per person. (15USD)
- Takwa Ruins entrance fee: Kshs. 100/- per person. Costs may vary for non-Kenyans.
Spend an Evening at the floating Bar & Restaurant
Located about 1km from Lamu, the Floating bar & restaurant provides a special opportunity to dine in the ‘middle of the ocean.’ They have a DJ who keeps the place alive with great music, as you dance the evening away. Their menu includes sea food like crabs, fish and prawns, as well as traditional Kenyan foods.
On our visit, the mood was almost electric as everyone got off the boat and onto the ‘dancing floor!’ 😀 The DJ kept us entertained with tunes from the early 2000’s, while the sunset was like the cherry on top.
- A shared, group boat ride to the floating bar costs about Kshs. 100/- per person.
- Their meals cost in the range of Kshs. 700 to Kshs. 2,500. (7USD to 25USD)
Visit Kiwayu Island
This one is for the truly bold & daring! 🙂
Kiwayu island is located about 51km away from Lamu Island, and it’s part of the Kiunga Marine National Reserve. The Reserve is a marine protected area with a total of 51 islands. It takes about 2hours from Lamu via a speed boat. The timings can be shorter or longer, depending on the boat engine capacity and weight load. The ride, however, is bumpy and gets really rough!
Our trip was far from typical, taking about 4 hours+, while another boat in our party took 8hours! The boat carrying our luggage took the longest time, arriving the next day.
We arrived in Kiwayu at night, and were warmly received by our hosts at Mike’s Camp and their lovely dogs.
They served us a lovely, hot meal, which helped take off the weariness of our journey. 🙂 They have a pool table and tennis table, which made for fun bonding times.
Staying at Mike’s Camp is quite the unique experience, and would bode well with camping and nature lovers. They have 7 rooms (bandas) made of weaved matting, from palm leaves. The rooms are spacious and the beds super comfortable. And the showers are… well, to see is to believe! 😀
And without the ‘traditional windows and doors’, you’ll certainly feel nature all around you.
Honestly, I was scared of being by myself in the room on our first night. Thankfully, I was sharing a room with Joy and that helped! 🙂
The beauty of the island accosted me the next morning… From our room, I could see where the waters of the Indian ocean touch the pristine, green island. The nearly 360 degrees’ views are simply sublime! 🙂
It really doesn’t get more adventurous than Mike’s Camp! 😀
Quick Travel Tips:
- Pack light; carry only what you need for your stay in Kiwayu
- Leave Lamu at the designated time. Any delays mean you’ll experience a low tide, making it impossible for the boat to move.
- The boat ride from Lamu to Kiwayu costs about Kshs. 2,000/- per person, for a group of 9 people. (20USD)
- You can also hire a boat, starting at about Kshs. 15,000/- per day. (150USD)
- Other places to stay in Kiwayu: KWS Camping site in Mkokoni or Kiwayu Safari Village.
Other things to do in Lamu
- Go canoeing or snorkelling in Kiwayu.
- Get involved in protecting the marine life, by taking part in beach cleanups at the nearby Mkokoni village.
- Experience the beauty of a Lamu sunrise at the sand dunes.
- Plan to attend any of the Lamu Festivals: Food Festival, Yoga Festival or the Lamu Cultural Festival.
- Relax with a morning or evening yoga session on the beach.
- More places to stay in Lamu>> Peponi Hotel, Lamu House & The Stop Over Hotel.
P.S. Look out for the last post in this Lamu series, featuring our stay at The Majlis Resort.
Many thanks to Jambojet, KWS, Kiunga Marine Reserve, The Majlis Resort and Mike’s Camp for making these experiences possible & for their kind hospitality. 🙂
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed the ideas of things to do in Lamu! Are you keen to try them? What else would you add to the list?
I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment down below & I’ll be sure to respond! 😀
<< Stay. Inspired. Always. >>