This precious stone set in a shining sea
- Ol'e' Bill
Lamu Island is one of a string of remote islands on the western fringe of the Indian Ocean.
It has a colorful history going back to the days of the Arab Spice and Slave trades and the traditions of the coastal Swahili cultures who have existed here for centuries.
Life here moves at walking pace or donkey ride, up to the speed of a lateen sail; for there are no vehicles on the island. None.
Lamu Town is the bustling ‘Capital’ of the Island. The seafront always alive with the comings and goings of the wooden jahazis carrying people and their merchandise
In the streets behind are the traders, the markets, the fort and the alleyways that wind into the houses beyond. In any direction you will see bui-bui clad women, barefoot children, cats, donkeys laden with sacks, porters shouting for way, or men quietly sipping tea in the shade of the square.
Life here is simple, it always has been.
Shela Village is a 40 minute walk from Lamu town and is the point where the mighty beach commences. Here is where Kisimani House is to be found. Shela is a comparatively quiet fishing village that nestles in the dunes and faces the channel where it opens out to the sea.
Much smaller than Lamu town it too has it’s narrow alleys and a small seafront where wooden jahazis are hauled up for repair. Wiry fishermen in straw hats sail out from here for the days catch. That would be Snapper, Dorado, Rock-Cod, Yellowfin and Barracuda on a good day.
The Beach. Just beyond the village the island rounds a corner and turns into one of the most beautiful beaches in the world (fact). Here you may walk for nine kilometers to the southern tip of the island on soft white sand surrounded by nature. No hotels, no umbrellas, no people, just you and the sea. The beach shelves gently, the waves are small, the water is warm and there are no rocks so you don’t need shoes. Just take a sarong, some water and a hat. It’s bliss.