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Top recommendations from locals

From sightseeing to hidden gems, find out what makes the city unique with the help of the locals who know it best.

Hotel
“coffee in the morning by the sea , with great breakfasts , an Old Pal or Dawa cocktail as pre dinner drinks and mix with the special crowd you always find at the Peponi Bar . The restaurant has excellent seafood selections , a favourite for us is the "white fish carpaccio" . Carol the host will be able to tell you when the next turtle hatching is coming , dont miss it and support the good cause.”
  • 7 locals recommend
Point of Interest
“Peponi’s definitely delivers island-style hip in spades. Sit back and imbibe alongside an eclectic bunch of people from Hollywood directors to notorious Shela beach boys, with a cooling onshore breeze making it the perfect spot for an aperitif.”
  • 3 locals recommend
Beach
“Get a full introduction of the region, both past and present. You will see a fascinating collection of the Swahili, Pokomo, Orma, Boni and other hinterland tribes.”
  • 5 locals recommend
Café
“"You know how sometimes you just need that escape into the world of magazines and fresh pastries? Whispers is the place to be. For a real cappuccino, light meals, mega juices and smoothies, or the best desserts in town, this cafe with a garden, set in the same building as the Baraka Gallery, is just the ticket."”
  • 3 locals recommend
Point of Interest
“This upmarket gallery is the place to come if you're a serious Africana collector. There are pieces from all over the continent and beyond, from affordable Kenyan belts with Maasai bead embroidery to ceremonial Yoruba masks, Central African carvings, heavy Yemeni silver jewellery and gorgeous handwoven shell embroidery.”
  • 2 locals recommend
Point of Interest
“Particularly strong when it comes to seafood dishes and slightly set back from the waterfront, this is the best restaurant in town. Feast on the likes of fish tacos with mango salsa, ginger crab with coconut rice and such crowd pleasers as chicken and chips.”
  • 1 local recommends
Point of Interest
“A man without a donkey is a donkey, claims one Swahili proverb. Or, as the staff of this sanctuary might tell you, a man who doesn’t look after his donkey is a donkey. With around 3000 donkeys active on Lamu, Equus asinus is the main form of transport here. Visitors are free to visit the sanctuary and learn about its work – donations appreciated.”
  • 1 local recommends
Lodging
“There are waterfront restaurants all over the place, but the Stopover’s friendly staff and excellent grub (of the spicy Swahili-seafood sort) make it a cut above the competition, particularly the seafood curries. Great fruit juices, too. ”
  • 2 locals recommend
Lodging
“Right in front of the main jetty, Petley's is the local watering hole for just about everyone. In fact, it's the only non-hotel bar in Lamu to serve alcohol. Expect almost anything, from good fun and merriment to enough hassle to speed you through the doors.”
  • 1 local recommends
Lodging
“This excellent new restaurant has a daily changing menu that combines fresh local ingredients with global influences. Go on, treat yourself to Tahitian-style fish, miso-grilled aubergine or tamarind crab. Eat surrounded by local art or on the breezy, semiprivate terrace overlooking the sea.”
  • 3 locals recommend
Point of Interest
“The most charismatic of the local silversmiths is a chap called Slim, whose silversmith shop sells beautiful rings created from ancient cuttings of coloured tiles.”
  • 1 local recommends
Lodging
“On the other side of the channel on Manda Island at the beachfront this place is perfect for lunch and drinks. They have sunbeds and shade!”
  • 2 locals recommend
Premise
“This squat castle was built by the Sultan of Paté between 1810 and 1823. From 1910 right up to 1984 it was used as a prison. It now houses the island’s library, which holds one of the best collections of Swahili poetry and Lamu reference work in Kenya, while the upstairs walkway is a gallery space for temporary exhibitions (stunning photos of the Tana River delta, when we visited). Entry is free with a ticket for Lamu Museum.”
  • 2 locals recommend
Establishment
“Historic site and beautifully preserved buildings and monuments - Also the Manda Beach on the other side it great for a swim in huge waves”
  • 2 locals recommend
Restaurant
“The Stopover’s friendly staff and excellent grub (of the spicy Swahili-seafood sort) make it a cut above the competition, particularly the seafood curries. Great fruit juices, too.”
  • 1 local recommends
Restaurant
“The best of the Shela cheapies. Hidden away in the alleys behind the shorefront mosque, this tiny greeny-turquoise cafe does the usual stews and ugali (a staple made from maize or cassava flour, or both).”
  • 1 local recommends