Dangers & Annoyances
The biggest hassle is the constant stream of volunteers to be your guide. The beach boys will come at you the minute you step off the boat, offering drugs, tours and hotel bookings (for which they receive a commission), but a firm 'No, thanks' is usually sufficient. It can be worth having a guide to explore Lamu Town properly, but make sure it's a licensed guide. Recommendations from fellow travellers may be valuable.
The town’s sanitation system is overtaxed by overpopulation. This can make for some hairy, stinky times of overflow (especially given all the donkey crap lying around) – watch your step here after it rains.
Entry & Exit Formalities
Lamu Immigration Office may be able to help with visa extensions.
Lamu has long been popular for its relaxed, tolerant atmosphere, but it does have Muslim views of what's acceptable behaviour. Whatever your sexuality, it’s best to keep public displays of affection to a minimum and respect local attitudes to modesty.
Rose of Sharon This friendly internet cafe has speedy service.
Local shopkeepers may be able to help with changing money.
Kenya Commercial Bank The main bank on Lamu, with an ATM (Visa only). Several other ATMs along the waterfront.
Post Office Postal services and phonecards.
Rumour has it that a tourist office will open in the not too distant future somewhere along the waterfront. In the meantime, http://lamutourism.org is an excellent source of local info.
Female travellers should note that most Lamurians hold strong religious and cultural values and may be deeply offended by revealing clothing. There have been some isolated incidents of rape, which locals say were sparked by tourists refusing to cover up. That may outrage some Western ears, but the fact remains that you risk getting into trouble if you walk around in small shorts and low-cut tops. There are kilometres of deserted beaches on which you can walk around butt naked if you choose, but we urge you to respect cultural norms in built-up areas.