The Ultimate Lamu Guide-Everything You Need To Know

Lamu is an enchanting island on the Kenyan coastline believed to be the oldest living town in East Africa. The Island effortlessly represents a time when life was much simpler. It’s distinctive relaxed feel, architecture and unspoiled beaches make Lamu the perfect holiday destination.

How to Get To Lamu By Flight, Rail & Bus

There are a number of ways to get to Lamu from Nairobi. Although, if you are traveling in from outside of Kenya you’ll not be able to fly directly to the Island. Instead, you can only be able to access it from certain towns like Nairobi, Mombasa, and Malindi.

How to Get To Lamu By Flight

This is the easiest, safest, and fastest way to get to Lamu Island. Bare in mind, there are two daily flights from both Wilson Airport (WIL) and Jomo Kenya International Airport (JKIA). Although, flights also leave from Mombasa (MBA) and Malindi landing in Lamu just 45 minutes and 15 minutes later, respectively.

Which Airlines fly to Lamu?

Airlines that fly to Lamu from Nairobi, Mombasa and Malindi include:-

  • Fly 540
  • Skyward Express
  • Safari link

Kindly note Jambo Jet no longer flies to the island.

How much is a flight from Nairobi to Lamu?
COSTDURATION
KSh 14000-230001 hour 30Minutes
wanjiru njenga in lamu

It really was an honor to partner with Silverstone Airlines for my very first trip to Lamu. It had always been a dream of mine to visit the Island and they made it a reality with complimentary return tickets.

My flight departed at 2 pm and arrived at Manda Airstrip at 3:45 pm. after a short stop at Malindi Airstrip. Despite the airline no longer being in service one can opt for any other local carrier e.g Skyward Express, Safari Link, or Fly 540


Travel Tip

  • Carry your National Identity Card/ Passport
  • Don’t misplace your ticket while flying with Fly 540. During my recent trip from Malindi. I noticed the staff check the ticket twice, before and after you arrive at your destination.


How to Get To Lamu By Train

a boat on sela island, lamu county

Also read: SGR Madaraka Express Train Refund & Booking

Although, the cheapest way to get to Lamu is by bus. I would not recommend this due to safety concerns with the main issue being the stretch of road between Malindi and Lamu. That being said, In the event that this is still your preferred mode of transportation, follow the directions below.

Directions to Lamu By Train

  • Once in Mombasa County, one has a choice between getting an Uber, Taxi Cab or Matatu to Mombasa Town
  • Alight at the Bondeni Bus Park Around DIB Bank on your way to the CBD.
  • There are several bus companies that ply the Mombasa-Lamu (Mukoye) route e.g Simba Coach, Mombasa Raha, TSS but the most popular are of course Tahmeed and Tawakal.
  • Once in Mukoye, take a 20minute boat ride to Lamu Town or Shela

Time| Cost Breakdown

SGR ( Madaraka Express Train) from Nairobi to Mombasa

COSTDURATION
KSh 1000 4 Hours 30 Minutes

A Bus from Mombasa to Mukoye, Lamu

COSTDURATION
KSh 1000-1100 ( 10 USD)7-8 Hours from Mombasa to Lamu

Boat Ride from Mukoye To Shela Beach, Lamu

Public BoatKSh 200 ( 2 USD)
Private Boat
KSh 500-1200 ( 5-12 USD)

How to Get To Lamu By Bus

Directions to Lamu By Bus

  • Board a bus from Nairobi to Malindi, there are a number of companies that ply this route, e.g Mash Poa
  • Once in Malindi head to Malindi Airport by Taxi, Tuk Tuk or Boda Boda
  • Take a 25-minute flight to Manda Airstrip from Malindi Airport then take a boat to Shela or Lamu Town

Travel Tip

  • Most flights to Lamu from Malindi are in the afternoon so you want to board the last bus from Nairobi or plan for accommodation in Malindi, relax, eat then take a flight in the afternoon 

Time| Cost Breakdown

Express Bus from Nairobi to Malindi

COSTDURATION
KSh 1500-180010-12 Hours

Flight From Malindi to Manda Airstrip

COSTDURATION
KSh 250030 Minutes

Is Lamu Safe?

how safe is lamu

As a result of the Mpeketoni attacks that occurred in June 2014. A number of concerns regarding insecurity have been raised. I happened to speak to some locals who assured me the Island is quite safe. Adding that the main area of concern is the road between Malindi and Lamu. Also, one added that during the bus trip two armed police board the bus when approaching Mpeketoni and alight shortly after.

I found Lamu town pretty safe. In fact, insecurity is at an all-time low following the installation of street lights and the growing number of Motorcycles used to ferry people around. This also provides the youth with a way of earning a living.

When is the Best Time to Visit Lamu

The busiest month for tourism in Lamu is in December, followed by November and March. As a result prices for hotels and flights will be most expensive during these months.

The least expensive time to travel to Lamu is between June and August due to rains so lodging and other accommodations may cost less than usual.

Things to do in Lamu 

hotels in lamu kijani hotel
Stay on Shela Beach At Kijani Hotel

Kijani Hotel is located on Shela beach. A 30-minute ride on a dhow that the hotel provides from Manda Airstrip. It’s a tropical paradise littered with frangipani and bougainvillea flowers, two freshwater swimming pools, and 10 spacious Swahili themed rooms. That will make your stay especially memorable.

Lamu Street Food Tour

I have to admit, I fell in love with Lamu street food. There’s a wide variety of treats to choose from e.g Halua, Mkate wa Nyama, Chips Mayai, bokomoko, mshikaki. I especially loved the Mkate wa Nyama, which is made from a special dough, eggs, and meat and served in a newspaper.

sunset dhow experience in lamu
Experience the Sunset on a Dhow

The experience begins at 5 pm, it entails a peaceful ride through the mangrove channel, a magical sunset, and a visit to the only bar in on the island, the floating bar. One can drink and party the night away with the silhouette of Lamu town in the distance. 

Explore the Town

The best way to explore the town is on foot. I highly recommend getting a tour guide as one can easily get lost in the maze that is Lamu town. We were lucky to meet Faiz, who turned out to be a pretty amazing one. ( if interested, email me for his number )

the floating restaurant in lamu
The Floating Bar
Visit Takwa Ruins

The ruins are located on Manda Island which was once home to Kenya coast’s largest settlements. The community is believed to have abandoned the town in the 17th century. This makes for a great day trip from Lamu. I hope this was the ultimate Lamu guide for you.

Where To Stay In Lamu

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La Luna House

Number of people 6

Banana House

Number of people 10

Zahir House

Number of people: 10

Tunusuru House

Number of people: 10

Would you like to visit Lamu? Is Lamu on your bucket list? feel free to leave me a comment down below

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