4 Reasons Why Lamu Town Is an Interesting Gem in Kenya, Africa
Africa is the world’s second-largest continent where it is home to a few of the most interesting places we’ve ever known. Believed to be the origin of civilization, Africa is also popular for its Egyptian Pyramids and cultural heritage. It’s where some of the best and well-kept nature’s bounty can be located, including its safaris.
It is given that the African continent is beautiful. However, we’ve only explored a bit of its surface. Africa has many lovely cities and towns that only a few know about. Part of these hidden gems is the Lamu Island. It is a paradise situated in the Lamu Archipelago of Kenya.
So, what’s really with Lamu that it deserves a special mention?
1: UNESCO World Heritage Site
For starters, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Well, it’s marked by the UN in 2001 as having a cultural form of significance. Once it’s officially a part of their world heritage site list, it’s legally protected by international treaties.
Places included on the list are expanding, but mind you: Being included in this selection is not easy. There are meticulous standards and criteria to be considered, and their thorough decision-making is no joke. So if a place is hailed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, then there must be really something beautiful and spectacular going on in a particular location.
And with Lamu, there are just many obvious reasons. Some of them include the following:
2: Donkeys as the main source of transportation
Lamu Island has one town and three villages. You can get a ferry ride from Mokowe to reach this humble treasure trove of an island. Once you’re there, you will be surprised to meet lots of donkeys as your ride. There are no motorized vehicles in Lamu, and even if there is, it may be difficult for a vehicle to pass through on its super narrow streets.
So you have to use donkeys when traveling around the island. That makes up for a thrilling ride! But if you are uncomfortable riding a donkey, you can still travel on foot.
3: Arabic influences
It’s surprising to see lots of Arabic influences in Lamu. The locals are mainly Muslims and there are mosques everywhere. This might get you thinking, “Why does Lamu have more of an Arabic influence when it’s located in Kenya, Africa?”
That’s because the Lamu Island is part of an ancient Arab trade route. It is believed that the Lamu port was founded or developed by the Arabs thousands of years ago.
4: Swahili architectures
Being the oldest existing town in Kenya, it is also one of the original Swahili settlements. You can find the common features of a Swahili architecture rampant in this town: Spacious courtyards, vast towers, and houses at the coast showing arches.
And while people in Lamu are mostly Muslims, there are still Swahili tribes living here but they are more ethnically diverse now than their ancestors.