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Lamu or Shela?

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Creemore
posts: 47
reviews: 46
Lamu or Shela?

Which is best to stay in/at? Lamu Town or Shela. I understand that one is 45 mins. walk from the other? HOw does one get from the airport to either of these places? Many thanks, Gemmagee

6 replies to this topic
UK
Destination Expert
for Malindi, Ukunda, Kenya
posts: 4,274
reviews: 4
1. Re: Lamu or Shela?

Lamu airport is on Manda Island, across the creek from Lamu town, which is on Lamu island. You transfer to the town by boat. Shela is a good 45 minutes walk from Lamu town, or you can go by dhow in 20 minutes, or motor boat in 5–10 minutes. I'd always stay in town myself, which has all the historic atmosphere of the old city state. Shela is a little village that's been swamped by villas and house developments over the last 30 years. If you're not interested in Lamu's history and just want to be near a quiet beach and look at the sky, then Shela might be the place.

Richard Trillo

Creemore
posts: 47
reviews: 46
2. Re: Lamu or Shela?

Many thanks, Richard. Our T.A. is trying to convince us to stay at Kipungani Explorer, Manda Bay or Majlis. These are all obviously high end, but thought that we might be more interested in staying at Lamu House or something like that in town. ?

UK
Destination Expert
for Malindi, Ukunda, Kenya
posts: 4,274
reviews: 4
3. Re: Lamu or Shela?

I still haven't visited Kipungani Explorer or the Majlis, but I loved Manda Bay –  outstandingly cool if you want high-end, barefoot luxury and watersports. I also thought Lamu House was wonderful, and that would still be my first choice in town.

Richard

Nairobi, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Nairobi, Kenya
posts: 2,643
reviews: 3
4. Re: Lamu or Shela?

Hi - lamu is a harbour town with no direct access to beach for swimming but real experience of old swahili culture ie interesting unwinding narrow streets, mosques, museums, arab style architecture, little bazaars of interestin shops, traditional restaurant serving swahili food,etc,etc...& of course the famous lamu donkeys

Whereas Shela has direct access to sandy white beach with pristine clear water for snorkelling & swimming. Shela is base to many private homes, lodging & little grocery kiosks.

Both places have a wide & varied range of accommodation.

Depends what you want to experience.

You can split your stay btwn these 2 places. You can also take dhow trips to other Lamu archipelago island like Manda Island, Takwa Ruins, Matondoni, Siyu, Pate & Kiwayu.

That said, you are definitely better off staying Lamu/Shela b'cz thats' where all the action is !!

Nairobi, Kenya
posts: 2
reviews: 5
5. Re: Lamu or Shela?

Gemmagee,

Totally agree with previous contributors. It you intend to have a quiet private stay, Shela is the choice but for a more up close interaction with the culture, food and the ever warm people of Lamu, then Lamu Town is your place.

As Stef suggested, you can split your visit between the two places.

All the best.

Creemore
posts: 47
reviews: 46
6. Re: Lamu or Shela?

Many thanks, think that we have just about decided on Shela, but also have plans on coming back to stay in Lamu, the best of both worlds!

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