All inclusive beach holidays in Lamu, Kenya
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    Lamu Beach Holidays

    Dreaming of warm sands and clear crystal waters? We have a whole range of idyllic beach holidays to Lamu to entice you and make that dream a reality. If you love beach holidays then you'll love our wide selection of Lamu beach holidays! From a fun filled family beach holiday to a tranquil escape in paradise we've got it covered. All of our beachfront hotels enjoy direct access to the beach, providing peace and privacy – perfect for couples on romantic holidays, or an endless choice of activities to keep everyone entertained on family holidays. Our Lamu holiday packages feature fantastic hotel accommodation with some great extras at prices to fit any budget! Combine great room and suite rates with fun activities and events for an unforgettable trip! Whatever you’re looking for in a beach holiday, Lamu Island is sure to have it. With fantastic beaches, fascinating culture and world class cuisine it’s no wonder Lamu is such a popular holiday destination all year round. Lamu Island boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Africa, especially in the Shela Islands, so if you’re after a relaxing break filled with sun and sand then it’s the perfect choice.


    The warm sea, clean beaches and a glass of Tusker are all only a few hours’ flight away. Want to start planning your 2014 or 2015 holiday in Lamu? Here's all you need to know. With outstanding Blue Flag beaches and great water sport activities to be found at every turn, beach holidays to Lamu are second to none. Head to Manda Island and experience the beautiful landscape and the gorgeous Beach. Alternatively, the shores or Kiwayu might be better suited. The Lamu islands have been attracting holidaymakers for years with exceptional Blue Flag beaches, year round sunshine and world famous Swahili culture. When is the best time to book your holiday to Lamu? Obviously it depends what sort of holiday you want, but in many cases the answer is now. If you look at a graph of when people book holidays and research their holidays, an extraordinary change happens towards the end of December every year. Activity soars from its lowest point of the year to its highest. This remarkable shift happens as many of us, bloated and slightly bored by Christmas, with no work to do and cold grey weather outside, start to think about our summer holidays.


    We may not book immediately, but we certainly start searching the internet for ideas and prices. If you can drag yourself away from Christmas preparations and beat this rush by booking your holidays to Lamu now, you will enjoy several advantages. First, you will have the biggest choice of accommodation and hotel rooms; second, you will be able to select flights from the most convenient airport, at the most convenient times and at the best prices, and third, if you need advice, travel company offices will be much less busy and able to devote time to your inquiry. I can’t absolutely guarantee that you will get your Lamu holidays at the cheapest price as it is impossible to know how pricing and demand will pan out in such harsh economic times. But you can rest assured that you will have the best chance of getting the Lamu holiday you want at a reasonable rate. Remove the stress of planning a holiday with our comprehensive Lamu holiday packages. We make holiday planning simpler and more affordable with great holiday packages to suit every kind of traveler for every kind of destination. As an online travel agent, we don't sell package holidays; we let you build your own by giving you access to a wide range of cheap flights, hotels and Villas, saving you money. And it's great to know when you book your holiday, accommodation or flights though us; every part is financially protected thanks to our membership of the Lamu Island Tourism protection scheme. We were one of the first online travel agents in Kenya to have complete financial protection because we know how important peace of mind is to our customers when they book their holiday.


    Dhow House Lamu Island

    Dhow HouseView Gallery


    Dhow House, Lamu Island


    Dhow House is a spectacular beach house combining both traditional Swahili and modern design. The Dhow House is an oasis of calm, sitting between the Indian Ocean and timeless sand dunes set back in 3 acres of gardens; a hidden treasure offering maximum privacy. The circuitous journey to Dhow House, a spectacular – beach private villa on the Kenyan island of Lamu, is all part of its charm. First there’s the one-and- a-half-hour flight from Nairobi, which delivers a glimpse of the Lamu Read More


    Diamond Beach Village Lamu Island

    Diamond Beach VillageView Gallery


    Diamond Beach Village


    Diamond Beach Village is situated on the island of Manda, which is the sister island of Lamu island witch is said to be the oldest town in east Africa. The dominant Arabic influence is evident in the town's architecture with beautifully carved doors and some notable mosques. Lamu town has recently been granted World Heritage status and the local museum has a fine collection of artifacts. There are no cars on Lamu Island or Manda Island and the only form of transport is donkey or boat, both of which are an Read More


    Diamond Beach Village Lamu Island

    Fatuma TowerView Gallery


    Fatuma Tower


    Fatuma Tower is an enchanting beach retreat in a secluded position in Shela village on the Kenyan Island of Lamu with its tangle of narrow sandy lanes and lovely beach; it was renovated from the ruins of an 18th-century Arab house by English yoga teacher Gilles Turle, who has lived in Kenya for over 40 years. Fatuma's Tower is a yoga and meditation retreat house set some 3km north of Lamu Town on the island of Lamu. Read More


    Diamond Beach Village Lamu Island

    Fish trap HouseView Gallery


    Fish trap House


    Fish trap House he house is located on the seafront in Shela Village, Lamu, a place like no other, a peaceful tropical island in Kenya where life is lived at it’s own relaxed rhythm, but a place whose history is as mysterious and fascinating as the winding streets of it’s medieval stone town. Approaching the village of Shela one cannot miss Fish trap House sitting at the water's edge between Bahari Beach Hotel and the Stopover Hotel Read More


    Diamond Beach Village Lamu Island

    Fort at ShelaView Gallery


    Fort at Shela


    The Fort at Shela sits alone in the middle of the sand dunes and beyond the Fort at Shela are 12 km of deserted beach. Extremely private, it is the last house on the sea front before the next village on the island, Kipungani, a 4 hours walk down the beach. While very private, the landmark Shela Fort is but a short 10-minute walk to Shela's famous Peponi Hotel & Restaurant, where you can relax and enjoy the sunset. The Fort comes with a staff of 10 people to take care of all of your needs. Read More


    Diamond Beach Village Lamu Island

    Garden HouseView Gallery


    Garden House


    Garden House is located in Shela Village on the island of Lamu on the north coast of Kenya. This small private house is tucked away in a secret walled garden at the southern end of the village. Garden House is an intimate little pad, set on the edge of a walled garden. The rooms are cool and shady in the typical Swahili style; built from white-washed coral with thick walls and plastered ceilings to keep the heat out. Read More


    Lamu Island Information


    The Lamu Archipelago is made up of seven islands; Pate, Tukutu, Manda, Kiwayu, Kisigati and Nadau. To be in Lamu and the surrounding Lamu archipelago is to feel you have gone back in time. History is not only preserved in local architecture, customs and archaeological sites, but daily life also carries echoes of a bygone era. Society here is rooted in tradition: loyal to their Islamic values and the rituals of their forbears. The absence of cars means that transport in Lamu happens by foot, donkey or dhow. Thus it is one of those rare places without the constant hum of engines in the background. Instead, behind the peacefulness that prevails today are stories of a rich and tempestuous past. Lamu town is Kenya’s oldest living settlement, and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Earliest known references to the town date back to the 14th century. Yet, dotted across the Lamu archipelago are ruins indicating that towns existed in the region at least 1200 years ago. Lamu was taken over by the Portuguese after an invasion in 1506.


    The Portuguese dominated this part of the coast for almost two hundred years – until Lamu managed to overthrow their rule with Oman’s assistance. A golden age followed in the eighteenth century under the Omani protectorate. For the next 150 years, Lamu was a center where poetry, politics, arts and crafts flourished. The port also thrived, with ships from as far away as Persia and China regularly passing through. Inevitably the different invaders and traders left their mark: Swahili culture, architecture, cuisine and culture bear traces of foreign encounters. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, as Mombasa and Zanzibar grew rapidly, Lamu went into decline. As is often the case with the strange turns of history, it was the island’s eventual economic collapse that resulted in the tranquil paradise that exists today. Lamu is the main hub amongst a chain of islands that make up the Lamu archipelago, which stretches north-eastwards from the Kenyan coast over a distance of approximately 100 kilometers - almost until the Somali border. Accessible only by plane or boat, the archipelago is stunning and unspoilt. Even Lamu Island, which is separated from mainland Kenya only by a narrow channel, bordered by dense mangrove forests, feels unique and remote. The pace of life is slow, governed by the seasons and the tides, sunset, sunrise and the four-hourly call of the muezzin. A sense of calm pervades Lamu, and yet it is full of vitality. The vivid colours of the landscape alone can brighten any mood, while the warmth and friendliness of the locals gladdens every heart. Lamu town and Shela village, though modest settlements, are the biggest on the island (Lamu town has 8,000 inhabitants, while there are 1,200 people living in Shela). There is always a bit of hustle and bustle in both places as everybody goes about their business issuing greetings to all they pass, while the muezzin and the donkeys sometimes seem to compete over who can call out the longest and loudest. Several times a year, during religious and cultural festivals, Lamu’s sea front and small sandy streets really do get crowded as everyone troops out to join in the fun.


    Small-scale tourism has given Lamu an economic boost. In the 1970s, visiting Americans and Europeans fell in love with old Swahili mansions, buying and painstakingly restoring them for private use. Since the 1990s, more of these old houses have been restored and turned into holiday homes and boutique hotels. Quite a few new houses have also been built in the old Swahili style. The skilled craftsmanship required for certain aspects of Swahili construction, like making stucco with limestone, has seen a revival, and there are, once again, many talented workers specialized in the old methods. Tourism has also helped to create jobs and new opportunities. So far, the development has progressed in harmony with local people’s needs and values. Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are. Bertold Brecht: Alas! Even in idyllic Lamu, where everything happens ‘pole pole’, slowly slowly, things will not stay the way they are. The island’s history shows that it has long been subject to changes, big and small, yet the traditional Swahili ways of doing things has been remarkably preserved through it all.


    Unfortunately, the future looms with possibilities that could transform the island completely. There has been talk of building a bridge from the mainland and a ring road around Lamu Island. The Kenyan government has plans underway to build a huge international port, airport and oil refinery near Lamu with visions of transforming the area into a ‘little Singapore’, and Lamu itself into ‘Dubai’. This project is backed by various foreign parties who stand to gain from the port, including the Chinese government and Americans. Local feelings about these developments are mixed. Many think it will bring jobs and prosperity, but they also fear, rightly, that their area will be environmentally and culturally degraded. Once the port construction gets underway, it is certain that Lamu will not remain untouched for long. Mass tourism, avoided until now because of the island’s relative inaccessibility, will become a reality. It’s sad to imagine the pure sweep of Shela’s eight kilometer beach being studded with high rise hotels… Sadder still is the prospect that the intimate nature of life in Lamu, which fosters the strong sense of community that defines this place, will be eroded by the influx of large numbers of migrant workers and other temporary visitors. It has been estimated that the port will increase Lamu’s population by over 833% - to 1.25 million people!


    This is a bleak picture, but hopefully not an inevitable one. Objections to the port’s construction are being raised by many, including Save Lamu - a coalition of over twenty-two local community-based organizations that we are park of. Sincere consultation by the government with activists, experts and locals would go some way to ensuring that the negative impact of the port is limited. Whether this will happen is yet to be seen.


    In the meantime, foreigners can support Lamu is by coming to the island while it retains its current unique character. There may only be a few years left to experience ‘old world’ Lamu...


    Lamu Island What to Do


    Lamu is the perfect place for a beach safari with a difference, a truly unique destination that lingers long in the hearts of all who visit. The island, just of Kenya's far North coast, is a place of great natural beauty, with long deserted beaches framed by rolling sand dunes and the deep blue waters of the Indian Ocean. The real attraction here is the islands' fascinating history, a long and exotic tale that draws the visitor back into the world of the 14th century. Lamu has developed a culture drawn form many sources, and in the streets and markets of the old town, life continues unhurried and unchanged by outside influences. The history of Lamu was born from the great trade routes of the East African Coast, and the sea remains an integral part of life on the island.


    Dhow Safari


    The waters of Lamu are plied by great numbers of traditional lateen sailed Dhows. These craft are an integral part of life on the island. A day spent at sea on a Dhow is a wonderful experience and a fantastic way to explore the area. The calm waters around Lamu make are perfect for sailing, and the neighboring islands are well worth visiting for their small fishing villages, ancient ruins and deserted beaches. After a day on the water, you sail back to Lamu town as the setting sun turns the ocean to gold. Longer Dhow safaris throughout the entire Archipelago can also be arranged. Most hotels and guesthouses, as well as private Dhow captains, can organize a day cruising on a dhow.


    Scuba Diving and Snorkeling


    Private Dhow trips from Lamu often visit good snorkeling sites, and provide equipment. There are a few good dive sites to be found around Lamu and surrounding archipelago. Diving is relatively new to the area, so there is a great bounty of quality sites are waiting to be explored by the adventurous diver


    Big Game Fishing


    Big game fishing can also be arranged from Manda Island or by some hotels in Lamu in season (December - March). Kenya's main coastal game fish include Sailfish and Marlin, Kingfish, Wahoo, Horse Mackerel and others. A tag and release program ensures eco-friendly fishing. Bookings for these trips can be made through some hotels in Lamu. Lamu is place where exploration brings plenty of reward, whether in the winding streets of the old town or on board a dhow on the open ocean.


    Bird Watching


    The Kiunga Marine Reserve near Lamu is an important sanctuary for shorebirds and pelagics, including the Sooty Gull, White Cheeked Tern, Bridled Tern, Brown Noddy, and many Crab Plovers and Roseate Terns


    Donkey Racing


    During the Islamic Festival of Maulidi, held each year around the month of June, several special sporting events are held in Lamu. The main event is a donkey race along the waterfront, running the entire length of the old town. Lamu residents are accomplished Donkey jockeys, and victory in this annual race is a much coveted title. The race attracts most of the townspeople, who gather along the waterfront or anchor offshore in dhows to watch the action. Both riders and donkeys are well prepared for the event and the competition is always fierce, with each competitor attracting their own loyal local supporters. The race day is a major event in the Lamu calendar, and there are plenty of festivities and celebrations both before and after the big event. Often dhow races are held around the island during the same period.


    Dhow Racing


    on January 1st, the residents of Lamu celebrate the coming of the New Year with a Dhow Race. This event is an important annual event on the island. Lamu Dhow builders are considered some of the best on the coast, and this is a culture born of the sea and sailors. This makes the race the most important sporting event on the island. Winning the race is a great honour among Dhow captains, and the race attracts the best of the best. Like the annual Donkey race, this event brings the Island to life, and the shorelines throng with supporters. Individual Dhows are brightly decorated, and festivities on race day last well into the night.


    How people earn their living


    The male population of the Lamu Island work as farmers, fishermen and captains. Some are busy being owners of hotels, restaurants and shops while others work with handicraft of different kinds, people produce things like furniture, items of silver or garments of different kinds. Many people have small shops where they sell for example souvenirs. Also here in Shella there are tailors like in town. Muslim women also work in Lamu hotels or shops or offices. Some of them are teachers in the nursery and other schools, but most women are housewife’s and stay home when they get married and get children. Women get married very early because marriage is very important. It is perhaps more important than education. Muslim men and women seldom work in households or hotels in the service sector so that is why people from the mainland come here and settle down at the island. These people are quite young aged 20-30 and most of them are young men. They are Christians and dress in another way than the locals from Lamu. They work with service in the hotels and restaurants of the island. It is quite hard work they are supposed to do like cleaning, washing, serving and cooking food, washing the dishes, garden work and many more things. The salaries are very low and unions do exist, but they are corrupted so nobody joins them.


    A young man working six days a week, 48 hours, often has a salary like 5000 Kenyan shillings (less than 50 usd) per month and food and lodging is not included. Very few people have a washing machine or a dish washer. It is not needed here because labor does not cost anything so the young people who are employed in households wash by hand and iron everything of course. There are quite many foreigners who have hotels and restaurants here and many of them are considered better to work for than the locals, because they pay higher salaries and help their staff with small loans when they need money for their children’s school fees or for health care or something else. Many people say that they cannot be organized in a union because then they will be without work since nobody wants to employ them in that case. For us it is impossible to understand how people can survive here with the salaries which they are paid. Many young men around thirty are married and have their families at the mainland and they have to send home the money they earn so that the family can survive. Malindi is the place at the mainland where most people who work here come from. It is a very special town because many inhabitants are Italians and the language spoken is therefore Italian. To go to Malindi from here takes five hours, first by ferry from Lamu to the mainland and then on a bumpy so called road by bus. To Mombasa from here it takes more or less eight hours by bus and it is not cheap. It costs nearly one thousand shillings one way, which is a lot for the locals.


    Lamu Police not needed


    It is quite interesting to live in a place like Lamu and especially in Shella which is such a small village. There is no need of having police here for example because crimes are hardly committed at all. There is some kind of social control among the inhabitants. Many problems are solved by the inhabitants themselves.


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