Everything you need to know about Lamu (and Shela)

October 20, 2019

Everything you need to know about Lamu (and Shela)

Travelling to/from Kenya

Most international flights will land in NAIROBI. If your flight lands late, you may want to spend the night near the airport before travelling onwards.
Hilton Garden Inn Nairobi Airport
Sheraton Four Points 

Getting to/from Lamu Airport
Lamu is an island and the only way to get there is to fly! There are two options:
1)  From the international airport, Nairobi (JKIA) > Lamu via Fly540
2)  From the domestic airport Nairobi (Wilson) > Lamu via Safarilink
    Travelling to/from Shela
    Once you arrive in Lamu, you will need to get a boat to Shela. Depending on where you have booked, they can help to arrange a pick up. If you take a boat taxi, the fare will cost you 1,000 KES ($10). The boat ride takes about 20mins. 

    Where to stay in Shela
    Shela is small (you can walk everywhere in 5 mins) but it offers a wide range of accommodation.

    Airbnb has some wonderful wonderful apartments and villas. I highly recommend this option! Wherever you choose, make sure it's in Shela, because there are no cars on the island and Lamu town is a 15min boat ride away. If you can't find anything in Shela, Manda (the island opposite Shela across the channel) may also be an option.

    If you prefer to stay in a hotel, Peponi Hotel is the nicest (~£200 per night). Other great options (~$50-100 per night) are:
    - Banana House (which also has a beautiful yoga studio)
    Kisimani House (built for the Caliph to house his harem)

      Travelling around Kenya
      There are so many wonderful places to discover in Kenya, including: Laikipia, Samburu, Shaba, Amboseli, Maasai Mara, Diani, Malindi, Kilifi, Lamu, and Kiwayu. I've written guides to some of the major national parks, with recommendations on the best conservancies and places to stay! There is a lot of information here, so if you're considering a safari before or after Lamu, read on...
      Amboseli (for elephants and views of Mt Kilimanjaro)
      Maasai Mara (for the best game viewing in the country)
      - Mike's Camp, Kiwayu (Robinson Crusoe style island, 40kms south of the Kenya-Somali border)

      Other places I love and highly recommend:
      Elephant Watch Camp, Samburu (for elephants of course!)
      Sarara Camp + Reteti Elephant Sanctuary
      Ol Malo Lodge (for adventuring by helicopter, mountain bike, horseback, camel, on foot, and in a rally car!)

      If you're planning on travelling around Kenya before/after Lamu, you can fly from Nairobi to many other smaller airports around Kenya. If you're limited on time, you will probably have to fly, because roads are narrow, driving is dangerous, and traffic is bad... so everything takes longer! For domestic flights, there are four options:
      Fly540 (like Easyjet, quite good)
      Jambojet (like Ryanair, but worse!)

      A word on security

      The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to certain areas:
      - Lamu County (excluding Lamu Island and Manda Island, which are quite safe for tourists)
      - Areas within 60km of the Kenya-Somali border (NOTE: Mike's Camp is within 40km of the border, personally I find it safe to travel here)
      - Garissa County
      - Areas of Tana River County north of the Tana river itself
      - Within 15km of the coast from the Tana river down to the Galana (Athi-Galana-Sabaki) river

      For the latest updates, visit the FCO website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/kenya

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