A preview of Fatuma’s tower in Lamu

A preview of Fatuma’s tower in Lamu : Lamu is a small island off Kenya’s coast famed for its distinct Swahili culture, beautiful beaches, and historical architecture. Tourists who want to experience a blend of traditional African and Arab cultures go to the island.

The Lamu Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Shela Beach, famed for its pure white sand and clear blue waters, are two of the island’s most famous tourist attractions. Visitors can also walk through the town’s small streets and view traditional Swahili architecture and local handmade goods.

Dhow sailing cruises, fishing, snorkelling, and diving in neighbouring marine reserves are among the other activities available to guests. Cultural festivals, such as the Lamu Cultural Festival, which celebrates the island’s rich heritage through music, dance, and food, are also available to visitors.

Fatuma’s Tower is a historic structure named after Fatuma Ali Abu Bakar, a Swahili noblewoman who lived towards the end of the nineteenth century with five female attendants. The tower has an apartment for four adults and two children, as well as two other big double rooms with verandas. It is an enchanted place where you know you have actually fled the hectic outside world and where a gorgeous item or architectural detail catches the eye around every turn. When you enter this location through its magnificent garden, you recognise you have discovered a one-of-a-kind and beautiful haven to rest and unwind.

Angelika Schuetz, who has resided on Lamu for over twenty years, owns and manages Fatuma’s Tower. She is a key organiser of the Shela Beach ocean litter clean-up campaign, and her collective efforts in collecting plastic waste have allowed residents and visitors to continue to enjoy the area’s natural beauty. Her husband Martin and their rescue animals, two dogs, Toffee and Oscar, and two cats, Tinka and Ilse, live on the farm.

The rooms

Fatuma’s tower  rooms are furnished with a Swahili-style, carved, high-frame bed and white cotton sheets. The exposed timber beam ceilings and white painted walls provide a basic and relaxing atmosphere. There is a writing desk, side lamps, and secondary chairs to allow you to relax or catch up on some work in your own quiet area if necessary. The floors are polished and painted tadelakt from the region, and the rooms are tidied up each day after breakfast, with mosquito nets ready before sundown.

All the rooms contain a multi-speed fan over the bed, a mini fridge, two glass, filtered water bottles, a safe that can house a laptop, and room-specific Wi-Fi. The power source is 13 amps and has a three-pin UK socket, bring an adaptor if necessary.

The shower rooms have largely lime finished polished walls and are equipped with shampoo, conditioner, and body wash so you don’t have to bring them. They also provide thick, white pile towels for your comfort and a colourful kikoi with a towelling inside for pool or beach use.

The spacious acacia room on the third floor offers a huge double bedroom and shower room, as well as steps leading up to a private, covered rooftop patio with views across the roof tops and trees to the adjoining island of Manda. A large acacia tree occupies all of the windows on one side, while a massive tamarind greets visitors to the terrace. Everyone describes this roof-top suite as “high but heaven.” This bedroom provides enough space for a single bed for a youngster who shares the room with the parents.

Garden and plunge pool

Fatuma’s garden is full with beautiful trees and plants. Mature baobabs, decorative and coconut palms, cactus, bougainvillaea, and a diverse range of indigenous Kenya plants that attract insects, birds, and monkeys are all available such as Flamboyant, Walking palm, Frangipani, Ginger, Heliconia, Hoya, Hibiscus, Croton, Desert rose, Basil, various ferns, and a variety of ornamental palms are among the plants.

Tourist attractions to visit in Lamu

Lamu Old Town

Lamu Old Town is an ancient city on the island of Lamu, in the Lamu Archipelago off Kenya’s coast. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the ancient and best-preserved Swahili regions in East Africa.

The town was formed as a Swahili trading station in the 14th century and expanded to become an important gateway for ivory, spices, and slaves. Lamu evolved a distinct culture that mixed African, Arab, and Indian elements over the centuries. Visitors to Lamu Old Town can now wander through narrow lanes dotted alongside conventional Swahili houses, mosques, and markets. The Lamu Fort, Lamu Museum, and Donkey Sanctuary are among the significant monuments.

The usage of donkeys as the primary form of transportation is one of Lamu Old Town’s distinguishing traits. The town has no vehicles or motorcycles, so visitors can explore the town and its surrounds on donkey rides.

Lamu Old Town provides a look into a rich and intriguing cultural heritage and is a must-see site for anybody interested in East African history and culture.

Manda Toto Ruins

The Manda Toto ruins are on the adjoining island of Manda, which is only a short boat trip from Lamu. These ruins are thought to represent what’s left of a Swahili town from the 14th century, and they provide an intriguing view into the island’s history.

At the ruins, a series of stone foundations and walls have primarily been found by archaeologists. Among the recognised buildings are a mosque, an outstanding palace, and various homes.

With the aid of a local guide, it is possible to tour the Manda Toto ruin complex. The tour guides can explain the significance and history of the ruins as well as point out some of their most notable features, like the intricate carvings and paintings on the structures.

A preview of Fatuma’s tower in Lamu
A preview of Fatuma’s tower in Lamu

Along with the remains, the surroundings attract research. Tourists to Manda can take a leisurely stroll through the mangrove forests or go swimming in the warm Indian Ocean. Manda is known for its stunning beaches and diverse flora.

Those curious about Lamu and Swahili culture should make the trip to the Manda Toto ruins.

 Lamu Museum

On the Kenyan island of Lamu, there is a well-known tourist destination called the Lamu Museum. The museum is situated in a historic Swahili home and features exhibits about the history and culture of the island and its inhabitants.

The museum has displays about Swahili tradition, Lamu’s past, and the island’s ecosystem.  Traditional Swahili clothes, antiques from ancient Swahili villages, and exhibitions on local wildlife are among the museum’s features.

The display on the typical Swahili house is one of the most interesting exhibits in the museum. Visitors may observe how these houses are built and equipped, as well as learn about the individuals that live in them on a daily basis.

The Lamu Museum also provides guided tours, which are an excellent way to find out more regarding the artefacts and the island’s history. The guides are informed and enthusiastic about their topics, and they may provide knowledge of the local culture and way of life.

Anyone keen on the long history and heritage of Lamu Island and the Swahili people should pay a visit to the Lamu Museum. It provides an enthralling view into the island’s past as well as a peep into its present as well as its potential.

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