“I have not come across anyone from Lamu who asks me why I live here.”
Lamu or Lamu Town is a small town on Lamu Island, which in turn is a part
of the Lamu Archipelago in Kenya. It is Kenya’s oldest continually inhabited
town, and was one of the original Swahili settlements along coastal East
Africa, founded in 1370. Situated 341kilometres by road northeast of
Mombasa, it is the headquarters of Lamu County.
Lamu is a region rich in both ecological and cultural diversity, which has
allowed it to be recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However,
many see Lamu as one of worldwide sites most “on the verge” of irreparable
loss and damage, citing insufficient management and development pressure
as primary causes.
While the jihadist Al Shabaab kidnappings placed Lamu off-limits since
September 2011, by early 2012 the island was considered safe. However, two
attacks in the vicinity of Lamu in July 2014, for which Al Shabaab claimed
responsibility, led to the deaths of 29 people and renew concerns for security.
Lamu has a population of about 100,000 and consists of four main indigenous
communities. They mainly derive their livelihoods on fishing, farming,
hunting and tourism-related activities. In recent years, Kenyans from mainland
have settled in Lamu.
Lamu is set to become a major part of Kenya’s economic and development
plan with the construction of a multipurpose transport and communication
corridor known as the ‘Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET)
Corridor. LAPSSET will consist of a standard gauge railway line, a port, a
super highway, a regional international airport, an ultra-modern tourist resort,
an oil pipeline, and a fiber-optic cable constructed to link Lamu to Juba and
This video was filmed by Amin Elchie of Virani Media.