The exotic island of Lamu will take you back to the 19th century with its narrowly winding streets, colourful bazaars and black-veiled women. The island is one of the earliest Arab settlements on the African Coast and is rich in Arab history that comes to life in the many ruins that dot the landscape.
There are no automobiles on the island, and no proper roads. You can get around on the Arab dhows (a type of sailboat) or on foot since the island only measures about a mile and a half across.
The beaches are pristine and the diving is very good; however, the religion of the island is overwhelmingly Muslim and very devout and visitors are expected to respect local customs. Visitors are expected to refrain from wearing beach attire while out and about and women should take care to cover at least their shoulders and knees.
Located on the Island, 15 private beach cottages or ‘grass villas’ are situated right on the beach complete with private bathroom facilities and verandahs. The cottages are constructed of traditional local palm matting and blend beautifully into the surroundings.
Located on the Kenyan coast south of Lamu in the Swahili Arab village of Takaungu, the house offers a two-room family cottage with private bathroom facilities and one room in the main house, also with private facilities (link). Sailing, scuba diving, snorkelling and swimming are all available.
Blue Safari Club
On the small island of Manda, near Lamu Island, the Blue Safari Club is an exclusive, tropical paradise accessible only by boat. Accommodations are in individual private thatched cabins along the beach. This is the ideal place to relax in tranquil surroundings.
Shela Beach House
On the sea front in Shela Village on the timeless island of Lamu, the antique, charming Beach House stands at the edge of the sand dunes (link). It is large and cool with one triple and four double ensuite bedrooms.
Located on the Kenyan mainland about 30 miles north of Lamu Island, this little “village” accommodates guests in 18 private thatched cabins (link). Secluded accommodations are available at the exclusive banda on Kiwayu Island, directly opposite.