The Island has a tranquil and sleepy atmosphere, making it a delightful place to relax and enjoy the spectacular set, sweeping beaches, rolling sand dunes and warm Indian Ocean. The ocean continues to play a vital role in the life and livelihood of Lamu, and old-style sailing dhows abound. A trip on one of these wooden boats offers a highly calming way to explore the area, travelling to neighboring islands and fishing villages.
Snorkeling is outstanding in the waters off Lamu and the surrounding archipelago, which teem with lively marine life. Diving is becoming progressively popular here, and many excellent sites remain relatively unexplored.
Over a thousand years of East African, Omani, Yemeni, Indian, Portuguese and Victorian British effects have all left their mark on Lamu Island, in the architecture, the language and the very spirit of the place. In bustling Lamu Town, winding alleys lead past the intricate carved doorways of white stone houses, some of which are truly majestic and still home to the very wealthy. And, because the alleys are too narrow to be negotiated by cars, the modern world has had little visible impact on this historic town.
Life seems little changed since Lamu was a busy port town in the 14th century, donkeys remain the favored local mode of transport, and the streets are lit by lanterns after nightfall. Spices and the smell of grilled food scent the air around the markets, mosques, museums, fort and ancient houses, and exploring Lamu on foot or donkey is a treat for all the sense Sitting at an open-air restaurant by the water and watching the world go by is an irresistible past-time. Fishermen haul their catches ashore, locals walk or ride by, and donkeys carry their cargo. Shopping for local woodcarvings and curios is another enjoyable experience.
The airstrip for Lamu Island is on Manda Island, and visitors reach Lamu by boat. Manda itself is also fascinating. Huge baobab trees dominate the skyline, and the ruins of Takwa, a 16th-century Swahili settlement can be found after negotiating a thick mangrove swamp. This Island has been visited by Arab traders in their dhows for centuries, lies in calm inshore waters on a long protected beach of white sand. There are creeks and other tiny islands to explore, and big game fishing can be arranged.