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The wonderful island of Lamu is an isolated paradise best visited by air. The oldest living settlement in Kenya Lamu is both an Island and a trading town lying in the northern corner of Kenya. It truly is a different land that invites the visitor to step back in time. The entire Swahili Safari Coast has a history of monsoon dhow trade stretching back a thousand years in the land of Zinj. Lamu is today the most evocative remnant of that era.
Lamu one of the birthplaces of Swahili the 7th most spoken language in the world is a world heritage site and the oldest and best-preserved Swahili town in East Africa. Today it still retains its traditional functions. Built in coral stone and mangrove timber the old stone town is characterized by simplicity of structure and enriched by features such as inner courtyards verandas and elaborately carved wooden doors. Lamu hosts major Swahili festivals and has become a significant centre for the study of Swahili culture.
Although the beaches near Lamu may be the best in all of Kenya Lamu has not yet been over-developed and has retained the feel of a small friendly town not overpopulated by tourists.
Lamu Town with it's waterfront is where most of the official business takes place. Meandering around it's narrow streets you will be enthralled by the old buildings the Lamu Museum and the many shops that sell a wide range of traditional jewellery spices and local cuisine. A number of hotels are located along the waterfront. Nearby Shela is a small exclusive village on the waterfront where accommodation is more upmarket.
Dhow crews are ready and willing to take you to any of the sights around Lamu. To see dhows being traditionally built or repaired as they have for hundreds of years - take a trip to Matondoni Village. A fuller day trip is to the famous Takwa Ruins on Manda Island where a mosque tomb and other abandoned buildings dating from the 15th Century can be explored. Other popular half-day trips include snorkelling diving and fishing. Many cruises come with a seafood lunch provided by the dhow crew. Prices are flexible and you are expected to bargain.