The old Swahili town of Lamu

Trip Start May 03, 2011
Trip End Jan 31, 2013

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Where I stayed
Yumbe House Lodge Lamu
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Kenya  ,
Sunday, September 9, 2012

In many travel guides Lamu is described as a historical Swahili wonder which still exists in this modern world. Worthwhile to check it out so Jorgy went on the bus to Lamu. Because there are still fights and shooting in this part of Kenya the bus is accompanied by 2 armed rangers. From Malindi it is a 5 to 6 hour bus ride through bumpy and sandy roads with baboons, donkeys, cows and goats roaming the streets so once in a while the driver has to break heavily not to ram in to some animal. What also caught my eye was the amount of Somalian people in this part of Kenya. I heard that there are 5 million Somalian people living in Kenya! Then the dressing style of the men is also somewhat peculiar because they wear checked and striped skirts (Kikoy) instead of trousers. And yes they do wear underwear underneath it I was told. The men carry a stick like the Masai (called Bakora) everywhere they go which I guess is used to control their animals.

The bus ride took us to the shore where we have to take a taxi boat to Lamu island. It's about a 20 minute boat ride and an opportunity to see some of the island. Once on the island I found my place at Yumbe Villa which looked beautiful. But because of my ever growing negotiation skills I got a nice price for 2 nights.

Lamu is an amazing place in many ways: there is no traffic like matatu’s, boda boda’s or bajaj’s; there are only donkeys to transport goods and people; people are very religious and are found in the many mosques on the island; because of the religion there are only 2 places where you can get alcohol. The people live as a community and keep each other alive by working and consuming in their own small economy. There were little tourists on the island and if they are there they are all found at 'mzungu beach’.

For me this meant walking around a bit in the many narrow streets and enjoy the authentic atmosphere of this special place. Eat some food from the street and try to talk to some people to get to know a bit more about how life is on Lamu. One of the dhow captains persuaded me to do a trip and together with a Kenyan couple from Nairobi we had a nice time sailing and visiting the floating house. It was a bit rainy that day but still nice.

Practical stuff

-          You can go by bus to Lamu but check the latest situation before you do

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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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