🇰🇪 Lamu or Lamu Town is a small town on Lamu Island, which in turn is a part of the Lamu Archipelago in Kenya. Situated 341 km (212 mi) by road north-east of Mombasa that ends at Mokowe Jetty, from where the sea channel has to be crossed to reach Lamu Island. It is the headquarters of Lamu County and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The town contains the Lamu Fort on the sea-front, constructed under Fumo Madi ibn Abi Bakr, the sultan of Pate, and was completed after his death in the early 1820s. Lamu is also home to 23 mosques, including the Riyadha Mosque, built in 1900, and a donkey sanctuary.
Economy Lamu's economy was based on slave trade until abolition in the year 1907. Other traditional exports included ivory, mangrove, turtle shells and rhinoceros horn, which were shipped via the Indian Ocean to the Middle East and India. In addition to the abolition of slavery, construction of the Uganda Railroad in 1901 (which started from the competing port of Mombasa) significantly hampered Lamu's economy.
Tourism has gradually refuelled the local economy in recent times, and it is a popular destination for backpackers. Many of the locals are involved in giving trips on dhows to tourists. Harambee Avenue is noted for its cuisine, and has a range of stores including the halwa shop selling sweet treats and miniature mutton kebabs and cakes are sold at night. Coconut, mango and grapefruit and seafood such as crab and lobster are common ingredients. The town contains a central market, the Gallery Baraka and Shumi's Designs shop, and the Mwalimu Books store.
The oldest hotel in the town, Petley's Inn, is situated on the waterfront. Other hotels include the American-restored Amu House, the 20-room Bahari Hotel, Doda Villas, the Swedish-owned Jannat House, the 3-storey 23-room Lamu Palace Hotel, Petley's Inn, the 13-room Stone House Hotel, which was converted from an 18th century house, and the 18-room Sunsail Hotel, a former trader's house on the waterfront with high ceilings.
Mangroves are harvested for building poles, and Lamu has a sizeable artisan community, including carpenters who are involving in boat building and making ornate doors and furniture.
The town is served by Lamu District Hospital to the south of the main centre, operated by the Ministry of Health. It was established in the 1980s, and is one of the best-equipped hospitals on the Kenyan coast.
China has begun feasibility studies to transform Lamu into the largest port in East Africa, as part of their String of Pearls strategy.
Lamu has a population of over 25,385 people. Lamu also forms the centre of the wider Lamu Archipelago which has a population of over 143,920 people.
Locations Near: Lamu 40.9,-2.26667
Antipodal to: Lamu -139.1,2.267