Eric Lafforgue

Lamu Archipelago

The Arabs called them the ‘Seven Isles of Eryaya’, while sailors called them a welcome port of call when en route to, or from, India. Hundreds of expats who've fallen irrevocably in love with these islands call them home, as do the Swahili, who trace the deepest roots of their culture to here.

Few would dispute the Lamu archipelago forms the most evocative destination on the Kenyan coast. It’s the best of several travelling worlds: medieval stone towns of narrow streets, charming architecture, tropical-island paradise, delicious local cuisine and star-heavy nights that are pregnant with the smell of spice and possibility. Choose your calling: bustling Lamu Town, a pungent, lively Unesco site; Shela Beach, an idyllic spot that attracts the majority of Lamu's visitors; Manda Island and its resorts; little-visited Paté Island with its traditional villages and beguiling ruins; or remote Kiwayu Island, an adventure destination often reached by dhow.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Lamu Archipelago.