Kenya’s tourism is not only about the Masaimara and the rich wildlife that abounds in the nation’s grasslands. It is also about places such as Lamu, a small island off the coast of Northern Kenya and a place where 700 years of continuous inhabitance has taken place. The island is known for its Swahili lifestyle and a culture that is an unique blend of the mainland as much as being Swahili. The Lamu cultural festival is all about showcasing this culture as much as possible. Tourists can come to Lamu from November 15th to 18th and experience this first hand. “Step into another world”; that’s what Tourism Kenya would be telling the tourists coming to Lamu for the three days Lamu Cultural Festival.
The Lamu township has been continuously inhabited for the last 700 years. No mean feat which also resulted in it recently winning a place in the UNESCO world heritage site list. But that is not all in store for the tourists when they make their way to the island. They will be treated with traditional welcome, dances reflecting the Swahili style, a collection of handicrafts made by the locals, donkey and dhow races, competitions to be held on land and water, beautiful Swahili poetry and a grand traditional Swahili bridal ceremony. The music and the embellishments of all these festivities and presentations will be done by the locals.
Visitors can also explore the township of Lamu, explore pristine beaches of this lovely island, the touch of medieval history and feel the warmth of this lovely population living in this island paradise.
The island paradise is not devoid of its share of bad luck and disturbances with the unfortunate incidents from the last year being still fresh in the minds of the tourists, the locals as well as the Kenyan government. This year, the local authorities and the Kenyan government is taking no chances. A huge contingent of security personnel are going to be deployed to ensure that no untoward incidents take place. As a positive note the Australian government has also lowered the travel warning for Lamu.
Muriithi Ndegwa the director of Kenya Tourism Board explains the importance of this festival and highlights the fact that this event is going to be experienced by local and hundreds of tourists from all parts of the globe. Due to the stepped up security measures that has been taken, an increased participation from that of the last year is expected. This festival will also be a major boost to the other destinations that KTB has been trying to promote. That Kenya is not only about wildlife safaris and that there are more to explore in the areas of beaches and cultural heritage can be now showcased to the world.