Discover the rich history
Visit all the historic places and discover the rich architecture of this Unesco World Heritage Site.
Visit the Fort
Lamu Fort is a fortress in the town of Lamu in northeastern Kenya. Originally situated on the waterfront, the fort today is located in a central position in the town, about 70 metres (230 ft) from the main jetty on the shore.
Lamu Fort was built between 1813 and 1821 with Omani assistance. Initially it provided a base from which the Omanis consolidated their control of the East African coast but the town later lost its economic importance. During the British colonial period, and after the independence of Kenya, the fort was used as a prison. Today it houses an environmental museum and library, and is often used for community events.
The construction of Lamu Fort commenced in 1813, shortly after Lamu’s victory over Pate and Mombasa in the battle of Shela. This major building task was reputedly undertaken with the cooperation of Seyyid Said, the Sultan of Oman who was then cultivating a promising new alliance with Lamu.
Upon its completion in about 1821 the fort marked the Southern corner of the traditional stone town and served as a garrison for Baluchi soldiers sent by the Sultan of Oman. Its protective presence encouraged new development around it. Thus confident Merchants erected the 19th century shopfront and buildings. By 1900 the Fort had become the image of the community, a role which it still plays to date.
German Post office
German nationals Clement Denhardt and G. A. Fisher first made contact with the Lamu hinterland in the late 1870s. They soon struck a friendship with Ahmed Abdullah Simba, the Sultan of Witu, who at the time was having problems with the rulers of Lamu and Zanzibar and so welcomed a new ally. Shortly afterwards, Witu became a German protectorate.
This building was the first German Post Office ever established along the East African coast. The Post office was established on November 22nd 1888 by the Germans, led by Clement Denhardt. The communications and trade contacts for the German Protectorate in Witu could at the time be served through Lamu, a well-established town with links to the outside world.
World heritage site
The town is characterized by narrow streets and magnificent stone buildings with impressive curved doors, influenced by unique fusion of Swahili, Arabic, Persian, Indian and European building styles. The buildings on the seafront with their arcades and open verandas provide a unified visual impression of the town when approaching it from the sea. While the vernacular buildings are internally decorated with painted ceilings, large niches (madaka), small niches (zidaka), and pieces of Chinese porcelain. The buildings are well preserved and carry a long history that represents the development of Swahili building technology, based on coral, lime and mangrove poles.
Trip to the Farm of Natural Lamu
Natural Lamu is a farm between Shela and Lamu Town. On the farm they grow all the herbs and trees that they use in their Wonderfull 100% natural shampoos, balms, body washes, conditioners and soaps. You will learn how agriculture is developed in the sandy soils of Lamu. You will be picked up at Mkunguni Square in front of the Fort.
A man without a donkey is a donkey, claims one Swahili proverb. With around 3000 donkeys actively working on Lamu, Equus asinus is the main form of transport here. Visitors are free to visit the sanctuary and learn about its work – donations appreciated.
This sanctuary was established by the International Donkey Protection Trust of Sidmouth, UK, to improve the lot of the island’s hard-working beasts of burden.
Taka Taka Foundation
Visit the Taka Taka foundation; a circular economy movement in East Africa who built the world's first 100% recycled plastic sailing dhow. Through the Flipflopi dhow and innovation hubs in East Africa, we showcase alternate uses of waste plastic, and are bringing locally-grown circular economies and the practice of plastic boat building to the world. Com and have a look at the Flipflopi Dhow.
Guided walking tour Lamu Town
Lamu island remains one of the most quiet, eventful, cultural rich tour destinations in the Kenyan coast. Take a guided tour with an official tour guide through town and learn about the history of Lamu, the unique architecture and the cultural influence of the Swahili people. Taste some local food and visit the local shops with Swahili art and products.
Take a day trip or a sunset sail with one of the many Dhows available on the island.
Take a dhow or speedboat to the rock Kinyika or to Manda Toto and enjoy the marine wildlife of Lamu.
Watch dolphins or whale sharks
Go out in the right time of the year and see if you can find dolphins between November and April and whale sharks around March in the open ocean.
Ogres beads workshop
Little workshop one block behind Lamu House Hotel. In this little workshop necklaces and bracelets are made of glas pieces found on the beach.