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November 06, 2012

The Lamu Cultural Festival

By Ingrid Skjong | Travel

The Lamu Cultural Festival
Courtesy of Kenya Tourism Board

Lamu, an island located within the Lamu Archipelago near the northern coast of Kenya, is one of those tranquil spots that many travelers may not know. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001, its old city is considered the eldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa—and its Lamu Cultural Festival, held November 15 to 18, showcases its heritage.

Marked by idyllic charm and a rich commitment to Swahili architecture and history, Lamu has brought a slice of island life to festival-goers since 2000. Expect traditional dances, local crafts, dhow boat races, a Swahili bridal ceremony, poetry, music and a food bazaar of traditional Swahili cuisine—all held throughout the town at landmarks like Lamu Fort, Mkunguni Square, Zahidi Ngumi Hall and the seafront. “Lamu: 30 Years Ago,” an exhibit by Okoko Ashikoye, a photographer with the National Museums of Kenya, helps orient guests even further, bringing a fascinating African destination into even clearer focus. Magicalkenya.com.