23 Oct LAMU OLD TOWN: A JOURNEY THROUGH RICH SWAHILI HERITAGE
Nestled on an island 350 kilometers north of Mombasa, lies Lamu Old Town. This Swahili settlement is the oldest and best preserved in East Africa.
Lamu town, which was built using coral stone and mangrove timber, stands out for its simple architectural designs that include beautiful features like balconies, enclosed courtyards, and intricately decorated wooden doors. As the most important trading center in East Africa in the past, Lamu has had a significant impact on the region in terms of religious, cultural, and technological advancements.
What makes Lamu unique is that it has been continuously inhabited for over 700 years. Its narrow streets and grand stone structures, featuring magnificent curved doorways, showcase the town’s cultural influences of Arabic, European, Indian, Persian, and Swahili styles. Traders and sailors hailing from the Arabian Peninsula, China, India, and Southeast Asia embarked on journeys across the Indian Ocean to the East African Coast to reach the island of Lamu. The diverse mixture of sailors and traders with the indigenous inhabitants of Lamu Island gave rise to distinctive social classes and a diverse social structure on the island.
With an estimated population of over 101,000 people, Lamu is home to four predominant indigenous communities – the Aweer, Bajuni, Orma, and Sanye. The Bajuni, who have the largest population, have ancestral roots tracing back to a blend of diverse heritage, mainly characterized by Arab and Bantu ancestry. The main sources of income for the Bajuni people are fishing, agriculture, and in recent times, tourism. The Orma are pastoralists, while the Sanye and Aweer communities depend mostly on hunting and gathering. Out of the four communities, the Aweer population is the smallest.
Widely regarded as the birthplace of Swahili civilization, Lamu has been a crucial religious center in East and Central Africa since the 19th century. It has attracted Islamic scholars and Swahili culture enthusiasts as a result. Today, it remains a significant reserve of Swahili culture, and its inhabitants have effectively maintained their traditional values, symbolized by a deep-seated sense of social unity and solidarity. Why don’t you consider our Flying Package to Lamu for an opportunity to immerse yourself in this town’s culture.