Discover Lamu

 

LAMU OLD TOWN is a busy but still slow and peaceful Swahili town
with about 20.000 inhabitants.

Lamu Island is a very safe place, remember!
The events that occurred in 2014 are certainly isolated incidents and they happened on the mainland
actually in a place where no tourist goes
.

There is a central part, Stone Town, of great historical interest,
consisting of large houses built of coral stone rag plastered with lime plaster.
The outside of these buildings may not be so special -
it is the hand carved heavy Lamu doors that are impressive.
No cars only wooden wheeled carts and many donkeys can pass through the narrow streets.
In the year 2001 Lamu Old Town was chosen one of the new sites of
Unesco's World Heritage List.

u


Sites important to preserve for a cultural or historical reason.
Lamu Town is the oldest and best preserved Swahili settlement on the East African coast.

Lamu district is an interesting place to visit any time of the year.
The last years we noticed that it rains a little more and often but the normal
rainy season starts in the end of april and goes on to the end of May.
June is a "cold" month - quite nice - and tourism picks up again in July.
Our European summertime is the so called Kenyan winter time.
High season are the months of December, January and February.
Temperature is 30-32,33 degrees C. 27 in the Indian Ocean.

cultural

Lamu inhbitants love to celebrate!
Lamu´s weddings are famous for being extravagant and costly. The Muslim holidays have much space for joy.
Even during election time there is a lot of poetry creating, drumming and Swahili food is served for free.

 

Lamu Cultural Festival 22 - 26 November2017

Maulidi Festival  14 - 16 December 2017

Lamu Art Festival with Shella Hat Contest -  2- 19 Feb 2018

Lamu Yoga Festival 14 - 18 March 2018

Kite Festival at Kizingoni March 2018

Lamu FoodFestival April 2018

Eid -ul-Fitr -



LAMU CULTURAL FESTIVAL

In November 2001 the Lamu Cultural Festival was held for the first time.
This is a great event arranged to underline the fact that Lamu is worthy
the World Heritage label, to show and preserve Lamu's old traditional ways and handicrafts.

There are traditional music evenings, dances, cultural seminaries,
exhibitions, dhow and donkey races, swahili dishes etc.
The Festival is an extended weekend full of events to experience.
It must take place around either full moon or new moon since the
dhow races need high tide water.



Subira House is right behind Lamu Fort, where most events take place
today
an all-activity house and museum with a library and lecture halls.
Lamu Fort was built around 1820.




Seafront walk lined with small restaurants and banks;KCB, Gulf African Bank, Diamond Thrust Bank,
ABC Bank and Equity Bank all with VISA ATM,
some mosques, wood carvers workshops, the Donkey Sanktuary,
guesthouses, some hotels also with their own restaurants.
Recently new speed boats compete with the original wooden sailing dhows.
And we have got solar powered street lights!



Lamu Vegetable Market next door
to Subira House


donkeys


Donkeys on main street waiting for their owner of the wood workshop opposite,
seen from Crafts shop


In Lamu 6000 donkeys walk around, all owned by someone.
No cars here exept for the DC's and 2 tractors for taking away waste.
There is a donkey hospital! You find it if you walk north on the seafront.
Our Armenian friends made a nice dokumentary film about Lamu
seen through the donkey´s eyes -
watch the
"Donkeymentory" film !


Lamu cats are Pharaonic descendants.
You don't see many dogs - but we have Zuhura and Selam two nice house dogs.



Zuhura, our sweet dog.

ryadha


Ryadha Mosque is an important pilgrims' center for Islamic studies
Lamu has 22 mosques. The muezzin calls for prayer five times a day
.


LAMU MAULIDI CULTURAL FESTIVAL


pro


The festival that fuses culture with religion.

This year in December

Maulidi is the celebration of the Prophet Mohamed's birthday.
The Maulidi in Lamu is a big occasion. Pilgrims from many parts
of the world come to Lamu once a year to fulfill their vows.
Here Maulidi is celebrated a little different from other parts of the world.
There is much chanting and music in the mosques,
The Cassida a lovely solemn music performance at night by the Mkunguni Fort square
Most of the events are organised in Lamu Old Town, at the town square,
in the Fort, on the seafront and some come to get a feeling
of the ecstasy surrounding the celebration.

Hina competition

One of the evenings is Ladie's Night with a very professional
Henna painting competition. The participants are very skilled
so hard to choose the best one. I was among the judges.


henna




Mkungoni, the square just in front of the Fort where events take place in the afternoon.

Lamu women are mostly veiled and have a "bui-bui" out in the street
and men wear a kikoy at leisure or a bright white "kanzu" in town.

Friday is the day of feast. People dress up and the afternoon prayer lasts longer.



Women's party on a costly Lamu wedding inside Lamu Fort

 

LAMU YOGA FESTIVAL March

yogafestival

It includes a yogathon, meditation, yoga surfing, beach party, Swahili bazaar in Shela
and of course 16 varying yoga classes each day!
Starting with early birds on Shela beach, Hatha, Ashtanga, Pilates,
Bali yoga, Zumba dancing classes and much more.

Tickets are 5,000 ksh and people can register via the web site www.lamuyoga.org 
- we would really appreciate if you have guests booked already for the dates of the festival
if you could inform your clients that they can join. Of course if you are in Lamu
and want to participate then you also need to buy a ticket!



Lamu is known for its beautiful furniture made by mahogany, teak and other precious hardwood.
Pretty patterns of wood carving are used with skill.
Boat building is another sector. Big and small dhows are built by hand!

Europeans have a lot of money and no time.
Here there is a lot of time and not so much money.
It is a very good start to slow down kwenda pole pole (to go slowly)
and see what else there is to discover in life.
My advice to those who want to come and stay in Subira House:
Prepare yourself for a visit to a very different peaceful society.
You will meet wonderful people!
Try to spend at least one week of Your life here.
If you look for peace of mind You will need several weeks.


See this short film The Juvel of Coastal east Africa

Lamu is a great meeting place - so friendly anad very peaceful!