Lamu isn't that far from Somalia. Three years ago there were a couple of Westerners kidnapped by Al-Shabaab on islands north of Lamu. Of course the hotels were hit by a wave of cancellations and despite no further incidents since, tourism has continued to decline to it's present low. This is because of the perception that the whole of the Kenyan coastline is a no go area due to a lot of insecurity in the Mombasa area since the Westgate attack in Nairobi a year ago. There were also the brutal attacks on some villages within Lamu County earlier this year, but far from Lamu itself. Bottom line: The Kenyan government has prioritized and greatly increased security in the Lamu area since 2011. Nothing has ever happened on Lamu Island itself and it's been three years since the 2 kidnappings on the other islands in the area. Put yourself on one of the 3 daily scheduled flights to Lamu and enjoy it's unique charm that is the best kept secret of Hollywood celebrities and European royals. There are scores of boutique hotels and private home available to rent at crazy prices. It's a win/win for everyone. You'll get to enjoy one of the sweet spots of the world and also help support the local residents who are in dire straits.
Oh, and one last major thing. There is a good chance that a container port and oil pipeline terminal will be built here soon. This will be the biggest change the town has had since it's founding in 1370.
"In a 2010 report titled Saving Our Vanishing Heritage
, Global Heritage Fund
identified Lamu as one of 12 worldwide sites most "On the Verge" of irreparable loss and damage, citing insufficient management and development pressure as primary causes."
GO NOW! I know that I must.
Here are the airlines flying the Nairobi to Lamu route:
And here are a couple of companies that arrange bookings for hotels and and private homes.
The "it" hotel on Lamu is peponi-lamu.com/
. The founder, Lars Korschen died recently, but the family is continuing with the usual business of keeping it as fabulous as always. His obituary is worth a read.