Dangers & Annoyances

The Lamu Archipelago has had a bit of a bad reputation, safety-wise, over the last few years, though at the time of research, the situation seemed to have improved. In 2011, two separate kidnapping attacks were carried out by Somalian pirates, on Manda Island and Kiwayu Island, respectively. In 2014, the Somali terrorist group Al-Shabaab carried out two terrorist attacks on the mainland of Lamu county, with almost one hundred people killed by gunmen in the towns of Hindi and Mpeketoni. There have been no further terrorist attacks or kidnappings since, though at the time of research, buses between Mombasa/Malindi and Lamu had to travel as part of an armed convoy between the towns of Garsen and Witu, north of the Tana River, because of intermittent bandit activity. At research time, travel advisory warnings did not extend to Lamu or Manda islands, and if you fly there, you avoid the potentially dangerous overland route.