While Kenya’s safaris are indeed the main attraction almost always associated with the country, it still has at least one more place to give different perspective to all visitors: Lamu Island. Part of the Lamu Archipelago in Kenya, the island is home to one of the best preserved Swahili settlements in east Africa.
Civilization in the island is concentrated in Lamu Town, which is characterized by simple structural forms enriched with verandas, inner courtyards, and elaborate details on wooden doors. It is a cultural tourist destination sprinkled with lessons about their civilization and reminiscence of generations gone by. The old town of Lamu Island is said to be the oldest and the best preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa, where the Muslim call to prayer wafts through narrow winding alleys, past elaborate merchant houses and donkey carts and around an old port town almost as it did back in the eighth century.
Some 260 kilometers north of Mombasa, the UNESCO World Heritage Site can be divided into two sections, north and south. Many people who have visited Kenya claimed that this island was the real highlight of the visit, neither the wildlife nor the mountain hike. The residents call the island as Kiwa Ndeo, which translates to Vain Island. As you sink deeper in the atmosphere of the town, you should realize that it has two prominent cultural features: Islamic and Swahili.
Shela in the north is a quiet seaside village and the old town of Lamu is in the south -- visitors can get between the two with a 45-minute walk or a boat ride.
Lamu Island is separated from Kenya mainland, so it can only be reached by boat with daily flights coming to and from Mombasa and Malindi.