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Kiziningoni Beach is well placed to access the many cultural and natural delights offered by the Lamu Archipelago. Here are just a few examples of the destinations which can be reached on foot; by donkey or camel; in a speed boat; under sail or by small chartered plane or helicopter.

Lamu Town

A visit to Lamu, Kenya’s oldest living town dating back to the 14th century, is a must for everyone. Lamu’s economy was based on the slave trade until abolition in the year 1907. Other exports included ivory, mangrove, turtle shells and rhino horn, which were shipped via the Indian Ocean to the Middle East and India. The old town is inscribed on the World Heritage List as “the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa”. The population of Lamu is ethnically diverse and largely Muslim, a mixture of Arab from the trading routes and local Bantu, resulting in a mix known as Swahili.
Due to the narrowness of the streets, there are few cars and the town is easily explored by foot, or, as many locals favour, donkey. We can organise a local resident guide who will show you around the town, its fort, the mosques and other points of interest. He can also point out the best jewellery and carving shops. Allow yourselves a couple of hours in the little museum that is dedicated to Swahili culture and there is an authentic 18th century Swahili house to visit. You can have lunch in town. Bear in mind all the shops close for lunch and around prayer times. Guide tip Ksh 1,000. Fuel US$80

Shela Village

Shela is a village about 2 miles from Lamu Town, making it easy to combine both in one trip. According to history, it was settled by the people from nearby Takwa on Manda Island, after their wells turned salty. There are a few colourful local shops and some more expensive boutiques and galleries run by expatriates. You can enjoy lunch or a drink at the Peponi hotel or at the local seafront juice bars. Your boat captain can take you there and he will wait for you while you shop or have lunch. Fuel US$90

Other Lamu archipelago islands: Manda, Pate Kiwayu

Takwa is an ancient Swahili village on Manda Island, which was abandoned in the 17th century. The ruins are very atmospheric and surrounded by ancient baobabs. Highly recommended.
The channel is only accessible at high tide, so check with your boat captain on the best time to go. Fuel US$105.

Kipungani village

Kipungani village is just 2 kilometres from Kizingoni Beach. The people of the village are mainly fishermen, some of who still build the traditional dhow fishing boats. Kilindini, our own luxury dhow, was built under a tree right on the beachfront, using only traditional hand tools and local woods. The women weave the coconut mats makeka and thatching makuti for the Kizingoni houses and grow coconuts and mangoes in their shambas at the back. Many of our staff come from the village, or now live there.

We have used funds from the sale of each Kizingoni House to assist the villagers start initiatives that can spur economic development. For the Young Men’s Group we have helped purchase engines for their fishing boats and have provided them with legal fishing nets. For the Women’s Group we bought land and built guesthouses that can be rented out to our staff, plus we helped establish a small business that sells fresh eggs to the houses.

The villagers are friendly and hospitable and the village itself is very attractive — an unspoilt example of coastal rural life. We can arrange visits for you, guided by one of our staff. It will take you approximately 35 minutes to walk there, or you can take the boat. Fuel US$15.