How random can you be??? A few weeks ago I saw a post on a friend’s Instagram about an upcoming trip to Lamu – an enchanting island, rich in history and overflowing with Swahili culture that rests just off the coast of Kenya.
The friend who had posted about the trip would not be able to go being that she was busy. She however gave me the number of the person who was organizing the trip, I contacted her, and was added to a group of about 20 that was to make the trip. The group was diverse with people from Nairobi, Mombasa and the Netherlands. I organized to meet the crew from Nairobi, to familiarize myself with the people I would be travelling with. Four people showed up and it was an amazing meet up as they happened to be quite a cheerful and enthusiastic lot.
Planning group trips is not an easy task especially when you are not familiar with the people you are travelling with and money is involved. You have to trust that everything is going to be okay. At one point our accommodation was almost cancelled because we had not paid the deposit. The trip coincided with the Lamu Art Festival which meant a lot of tourists. You would expect the prices across the board to be higher during this period, and yes! They were. By 25th of January all flights from Nairobi to Lamu were fully booked so the options were to either take a connecting flight from Nairobi to Lamu via Mombasa or travel by bus.
The days trickled down and we hadn’t nailed anything down. One by one things started piecing themselves together. The home owner gave us an extra one week to clear the deposit, which we did. One problem down. Next was to get a flight to Mombasa. Good thing I had befriended the travel agents when I had gone to book flights earlier and had informed them to let me know if a vacant seat were to be available for any flight from Nairobi to Mombasa. A few days to the planned travel date, I got a call informing me that there were three seats available from Nairobi to Mombasa. Transport finally sorted.
We took an Uber to Wilson Airport, and from there we got the Silverstone Airlines to Mombasa. The flight was short, in about an hour and ten minutes we were in Mombasa. A further 45 minute flight took us to Lamu.
The scenery below as the plane whizzes over the land is just spectacular.
Lamu was waaaaay hotter than Mombasa!!! As soon as we landed, I was already drenched in sweat and to make it worse I was dressed in black! Then there was a bit of drama when it came to my luggage. After everybody had got their luggage, I could not find mine. Apparently it had been tagged Mombasa instead of Lamu, so it had been put on a plane headed for Mombasa. Luckily the luggage attendant saved the situation, he literally ran and stopped the plane while it was just about to take off and got my luggage. Disaster averted!
So, finally we are in Lamu, It is about 2 pm, we are starving and the heat is unbearable. Our host had organized transport for us. A boat met us as onto a raft and took us across to the Island.
Donkeys are the main means of transport around the Island
The Streets can only fit three people at a time.
The bed & breakfast we stayed at Amu House, ended up ticking all the boxes, it was so nice, perfect actually. The photos on their social page does not do this place justice. It is a four storey building with 7 bedrooms. Two bedrooms in the 1st and 2nd floors and 3 bedrooms in the 3rd floor. They also have a beautiful rooftop lounge where you can chill and play games as you savor the views of the beach and star gaze at night. Most rooms have two beds, a queen/king sized bed and a single bed, two double beds or two single beds. There is a dining area on the ground floor and a kitchen.
The rooftop terrace
Amu House Rates
|BED & BREAKFAST
|Ksh 3500 ($35)
|Ksh 3000 ($30)
|Ksh 4500 ($45)
|Ksh 4000 ($40)
|Ksh 5500 ($55)
|Ksh 4500 ($45)
Being a bed and breakfast, we had to find a local place with affordable food. We struck a deal with a nearby restaurant where they were to provide us meals for the duration we were going to be in Lamu.
Alcohol isn’t served everywhere, because this is a very conservative Muslim island, alcohol is only available at select establishments and at exorbitant price too, ranging from Ksh. 400 ($4) for beer. Fortunately our crew had this sorted out, as we came fully stocked with drinks from Nairobi.
There are only 3 clubs on Lamu Island. There is Petleys Inn which was near where we are staying and the floating club also not that far from our place. Our house did not have a swimming pool but the neighbor Petleys club had one and they were charging ksh. 500 per day though negotiable when you are a group. Of course the beach was always an option and absolutely free at that.
Overall the trip was so much fun, that it was hard to believe that I was in group of strangers since most of us were meeting for the very first time. We had bonded so well – there was no conflicts or hitches whatsoever.
Ultimately everything has to come to an end. It was days of good food, good friends and lots of fun. I had such a great time. So much so, that I see myself doing this again!
What do you think of Lamu? Have you ever been there? If not, would you like to go? Would you be open to travelling with a group of people you have never met before? Let me know what you think in the comment section below.