With around 3000 donkeys active on Lamu, Equus asinus is still the main form of transport here, and this sanctuary was established by...
Swahili House Museum
If the Lamu Museum stokes your interest in Swahili culture, this beautifully restored traditional house tucked away off to the side of...
The bulky, atmospheric Lamu Fort squats on Lamu's main square like a weary intruder among the airy Swahili roofs. The building of this...
Civil Servants' Club
Even bureaucrats need to let their hair down - the Civil Servants' Club is virtually the only reliable spot for a drink and a dance at...
Bush Gardens Restaurant
The Bush Gardens is the template for a whole set of restaurants along the waterfront, offering breakfasts, seafood - excellent fish,...
Lamu Museum information
Lonely Planet review
Housed in a very grand Swahili warehouse on the waterfront, the Lamu Museum is an excellent introduction to the culture and history of Lamu Island. It's one of the most interesting small museums in Kenya, with displays on Swahili culture, the famous coastal carved doors, the Maulid Festival, Lamu's nautical history and the tribes who used to occupy this part of the coast in pre-Muslim days, including the Boni, who were legendary elephant-hunters. There's a bookshop that is specialising in Lamu and Swahili culture.
The pride of the collection are the remarkable and ornate siwa (ceremonial horns) of Lamu and Paté, dating back to the 17th century. Lamu's siwa is made of engraved brass, but it pales beside the glorious ivory siwa of Paté, carved from a single massive elephant tusk. Swahili relics from Takwa and other sites in the archipelago are displayed in the gallery downstairs.
The upstairs rooms, recreating the wedding quarters of a traditional Swahili house, are particularly worthwhile - not least for priceless factoids like the custom of showing the nuptial sheet to the women of the bride's family to prove consummation had taken place.