Exactly one month ago, I was roaming through the fascinating narrow alleyways of Lamu. It was my first time visiting this part of the Kenyan coast. I wanted to participate in the annual Lamu Yoga Festival that usually takes place in Shela. But other than that, I had no expectations, only a heart open for new experiences and a spirit ready to soak in the magic of this idyllic island.
Lamu is like no other place I’ve visited. It was equal parts chaotic and peaceful. The old town can be a bit overwhelming for first timers, but once you adapt to its unique pace and rhythm, you’ll truly appreciate its charm and authenticity. It also helps that locals are ever welcoming, friendly, and kind. They’re very proud of their culture and history so if you’re keen enough to learn more, don’t hesitate to strike a conversation.
I stayed at Andavelo House, which I highly recommend it for its location, hospitality, and price.Life in Lamu is “pole pole”, a Kiswahili saying that means “slowly slowly”. My mornings there started early. I would make my way through quiet alleyways from Andavelo House to the harbor to catch my 10-minute boat ride to Shela. On lucky days, I would catch a last glimpse of sunrise. On other days, I would miss it and catch, instead, views of fishermen making their way back from their morning fishing escapades. Once a year, Lamu Yoga Festival hosts some amazing teachers from around the world and offers a lineup of amazing classes for everyone. Participating in the festival was a great opportunity for me to connect with other teachers and yoga practitioners. Instinctively, my mornings were spent stretched out on my yoga mat. But sunny afternoons unfolded with me strolling along the bustling waterfront, exploring the winding streets of Lamu town, or bumming at Shela beach until late evening. After a relaxing sundowner at the Peponi Hotel seafront terrace and a quick bite to unwind, at just before dusk, I would make my way back to Andavelo House. My last afternoon promenade in Lamu led me to the atmospheric Lamu Market. It was full of life and bustling with activity. Visiting local markets especially in Africa can be overwhelming but it’s the perfect chance to truly immerse in the country’s culture—nothing is staged, everything is raw and authentic. You get to see how locals live and interact, practice the local language if you’re studying it, and buy directly from the vendors, hence supporting the community.
Lamu is home to approximately 3,000 donkeys that do most of the heavy transportation so the only advice I can give you is to be watchful to when walking because shit happens and things can get pretty messy. Otherwise, it is a magnificent island that will speak to your heart and soul. If you always remember to take things pole pole, I bet you’ll even want to extend your stay.If Lamu is on your bucketlist click on the below links for more inspiration.
Lora by Lora. x