Lamu is my favorite! I'm obsessed with donkeys! If you can get over the donkey shit, and the annoying beach boys, it's really a gem. Shela is indeed more quiet, cleaner, and you will get harassed less, but I still prefer Lamu’s authenticity and grunge to Shela’s tourist charm.

To be honest, shopping isn’t that great, but there are some gems within the town:

Saba Furniture: Central St Martin’s architect grad has moved to Lamu to create simple but exquisite hand carved furniture

Slim Silversmith: The second of the two brothers (You know which one he is because his front stoop has pieces of porcelain in it) who make China and silver jewelry

Afrikable: Run of the mill social enterprise shop but really cute jewelry

Aman: Expensive and boutique but a really beautiful shop

Hapa Hapa makes the most amazing mango smoothies, with cheap, consistent food. Lamu House is good drinks, but the food is also meh. Sunsail’s food is mediocre, most things on the menu are not available.

My favorite is Cook with Love, a shop/resturant called “Luq Tabassam”, with a single owner/head chief. Walk in the alley right next to Peponi and you’ll find the charming place. Best to go in the early afternoon to let Lukman know what you want to order, go to Peponi for a drink, and then dinner will be ready for you. From fish curry to samosas, everything is flavorful and rich.

For an intimate 3-course dinner, call into Subira House to book your place. They have their own Shamba, so you’ll get tons of organic veggies, and homemade chutneys like spiced mango and lemon.

Looking on Airbnb, booking, or other websites, most of the houses look the same. While

I prefer the actual historical ones like Amu House (great internet, good for a budget), Subira House (my personal favorite-- intimate but well-renovated), or Batil Aman (also good food). Swahili Dreams has two bedrooms, and EPIC pool. Masjilis is beautiful yes, but also way too touristy and caters to Kenyan politicians.

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