15-07-2008 by redazione
Lamu and its islands are one of the wonders of the Kenyan coast.
The town, situated on the main island. It is a sort of small islamic enclave in Kenya and at the same time a magical place where time seems to have stopped some centuries ago.
At least because the island is car or other motor vehicles, but the "vehicle" as used remains the donkey, and even because people still live without the civilization it has preserved the ancestral customs.
Donkeys are true celebrities, island, living, run and find themselves as human beings, they go out shopping for their masters and take home. There is also a historical museum dedicated to them.
The oldest Kenyan town consists of narrow streets, alleys, houses with courtyards surrounded by nature and unexpected caves, arabesque designs of windows and entrances and antique colors and hazy.
The wealth of architectural, unique proposals in this part of Africa and similar to the one Stone Town of Zanzibar, is coupled with an ancient cultural tradition. Here in fact sviolge, around November, the festival that draws Cultural tourists from around the world, as well as the Maulid, in March, for the celebrations of the birth of the Prophet, with its gastronomic specialties.
A visit to Lamu Museum and the Swahili House is a must, as much as the more touristy but no less rewarding tour of the islands on the dhow, the typical sailing boats (but today also motor). You can enjoy the incredible depths of Manda, Manda Toto and Kiwayu. To stay, there are tons of beautiful guest house and bed and breakfast in terraces, especially in the village of Shela, a small apartment became very exclusive, with residents from around the world.
The road to Lamu is presently asphalted until Garsen. After Gongoni and Ngomeni salt pans, with Luigi Broglio italian aerospace base, the promenade must be left and, before Garsen, you have to turn right toward Witu.
Witu village, small and mainly important, being a stopping point for any public and private means of transport going to Lamu or Malindi, develops around its tiny square with two local snack bars and a few shops selling consumer goods. Witu is also a green oasis in a rather sunny area between the Tana river delta (with frequent floods during the rain season) and the National Reserve where savanna animals still wander.
Yet, Witu history also boasts a local sultan, Fondo Kazungu, who, at the beginning of the last century, was really powerful and able to bring a certain wealth in these areas. This, until the arrival of the germans who preceded english here (although giving them later their outposts in exchange for Tanzania).
Leaving the village, going toward Lamu, you have to turn right to Kipini village, go along a 7 km dirt patch and reach the sea. In Kipini there is the homonymous Lodge which is not always open but it is extremely hospitable and a fantastic view on the gulf can be enjoyed from there. In front of it there is Ziwayu island with its desert beaches; interesting and unique is the boat safari you can do from Kipini and go up the Tana river course. In the rain forest you can watch many types of birds, in particular the fish eagle in its reign. The river is full of hippos and crocodiles and, after two hours navigation, you will reach a sort of lake where you will be surrounded by hundreds of kenyan alligators.
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