Arriving in Lamu on the 10th of December - and where should I stay
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Nov 23, 2012 1:48 PM Last Post By: Filskov
Nov 18, 2012 4:27 PM
Arriving in Lamu on the 10th of December - and where should I stayArriving straight from home in Europe in Lamu on the 10th of december, where I plan to have 3-5 days before heading down south (have a train out of Mombasa on the 20th).
I just cannot figure out where to stay in Lamu. I'm on a budget (not extreme but very basic), but do not know if I need to book anything in advance. Is Lamu so small I can just linger around to find a nice place or will it be so busy that it will be a hopeless idea? Any specific recommendations on places to hang my hat?
And while we're at it... Are there things to do there that the guidebooks don't mention? ;-)
Thanks a bunch! :-)
Nov 18, 2012 11:49 PM
1There are quite a number of guesthouses/hostels in Lamu town, so you should be able to find something budget friendly. however, you should be aware that December is a peak travel season in Kenya. True, many tourists will show up rather over Christmas/New Year, but as schools close on Dec 1 for the term holiday, many Kenyans will travel in the month as well. So better look for something ahead, as many guesthouses are rather small.
Alternately, there are also some affordable guesthouses in Shela (the village where otherwise the Grimaldis and other of the rich and famous have their villas (with a view to the Chirac villa on neighboring Manda island...) Manda has a nice beach, too and is just a five minute boatride away from Shela.
Nov 19, 2012 9:05 AM
Nov 19, 2012 10:40 AM
3There isn't much affordable on a basic budget in Shela, you'll find far more choice in Lamu town.
You'll arrive on Lamu by boat, and if no-one has already approached you on the boat, there will be several lads waiting on the quay, ready to help you find a place to stay.
Just pick one, tell him how much you want to spend, and he'll lead you through the maze of alleys and show you places within your budget.
This really is the easiest way to find a room, until you know the town you won't be able to find anywhere without help anyway!
Your guide will get a small commission from the place you choose, you only need to tip if he carried your bags.
Nov 19, 2012 1:00 PM
4Thanks a lot everyone!
So Kaz, would you think that I should just show up and take it from there? Or will the high season make things a little bit too hard and risky?
Would it make sense to start out with a few days in Lamu and then take a few days in Shela?
To be honest, I haven't much looked into it all. I freakishly busy until the day I depart, so I'm hoping it won't be too hard to handle ;-) So thanks a lot for the help so far. It's really appreciated! :-)
Nov 20, 2012 9:11 AM
5If you aren't fussed which hotel you stay in, and presumably you aren't as you've not been to Lamu before, I'd just turn up and look for something on arrival. There are plenty of places to stay and I don't think 10 December is too close to xmas - much closer, say 20th, I would try to book in advance, but I can't imagine everything will be full so far ahead.
I wouldn't bother moving to Shela, unless you're keen to be close to the beach. Shela is a small village (although I don't think many locals actually live there anymore, they've all worked out how lucrative it can be to rent your house out to tourists!) and there isn't much going on in the evenings, whereas Lamu town is bustling, plenty to do and see, lots of places to eat, much more lively.
It's a pleasant 30-40 min stroll along the seafront down to Shela, then you can treat yourself to a beer at Peponi's before the beach - or you can take a boat if you don't want to walk.
Both Lamu and Shela are very relaxed places, so don't worry: the main hassle will be from various 'captains' who will badger you to book a dhow trip, but as soon as you've done that, somehow everyone seems to know and stop asking you!
Nov 20, 2012 10:53 AM
Nov 20, 2012 2:01 PM
7I think I'll stick to Lamu - and it seems that I should be able to find something just by walking around. Sounds good. I'll arrive around noon and will have plenty of time.
Another question comes to mind though. I haven't really got much planned for my 10 days on the coast. I'm thinking a stop in Malindi/Watamu, seeing the Gedi ruins and then catch my train in Mombasa (which I intend to spend as little time in as possible) on the 20th. But with it being so close to christmas, should I really try to plan and book most accomodation in advance? Or does that seem extreme and unneccesary?
I appreciate all your help! Thanks a lot!
Nov 23, 2012 8:05 AM
Nov 23, 2012 1:48 PM
10Peponi does look stunning, but sadly Kaz is right. It is waaaay over my budget. I will take Kaz' advice and get a beer though.
This does bring me to another thought: How much should I be prepared to pay for an ordinary/decent (as in not straight out disgusting) room in Lamu? And are there decent hostel-like places with dorms or isn't that really a thing of Kenya?
Thanks for all your help. It's been real helpfull :-)
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