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?
|KSh 14000-23000||1 hour 30Minutes|
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
- 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
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
- Book a seat on the Madaraka Express Train from Nairobi to Mombasa (Miritini Station)
- 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
|KSh 1000||4 Hours 30 Minutes|
A Bus from Mombasa to Mukoye, Lamu
|KSh 1000-1100 ( 10 USD)||7-8 Hours from Mombasa to Lamu|
Boat Ride from Mukoye To Shela Beach, Lamu
|Public Boat||KSh 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
- 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
|KSh 1500-1800||10-12 Hours|
Flight From Malindi to Manda Airstrip
|KSh 2500||30 Minutes|
Is Lamu Safe?
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
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.
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 )
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
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Number of people: 10