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A Step Back in Time

Lamu, Kenya

In today's materialistic and technologically driven world it is difficult to imagine a society where life is not concerned with such frivolous matters, and is a throw back to a time all but lost. But nowhere in the world have I found such an uncomplicated, yet culturally rich place as Lamu - the small world heritage island just off the coast of Kenya that is, for those after the unpretentious life, a little corner of paradise.

Walking down the quaint streets, there are only two of them, one can't hear the rumble of engines or honking of horns but rather the clip-clop of hooves - that's because here there are no vehicles, just donkeys and the odd bicycle. It takes a little getting used to at first, especially having come from the chaotic Mombasa where the streets are a jam of assorted vehicles, but once adjusted it is impossible not to love Lamu and it's way of life.

It has spades of character, and around every corner lies a new discovery - be it a one of the countless yet equally intriguing Swahili buildings, a gathering of locals engrossed in a political debate, or just a couple of donkeys meandering along - it's impossible not to be drawn in to the uniqueness way of life in Lamu. Maybe it's my desire to live in a more simplistic world, or just the magic of Lamu itself, but either way it makes it into my top three destinations in Africa thus far.

When I set off on this trip it was to experience as many different cultures as possible, no matter what they entailed. So, having ridden cows, horses and elephants in my time, I thought it only right I should take a donkey for a jaunt around the streets, which was an interesting experience to say the least. Aside from being the most uncomfortable animal I have ever ridden it provided the locals with plenty of entertainment. Apparently, according to several locals, long hair, a beard and the riding of a donkey gives one a liking to a certain Biblical character.

Sadly I was unable to turn water into wine, or feed the masses with just a few loafs and some fish and was thus cast aside as a scruffy traveller in need of a hair-cut. For those who are in agreement let me just say if you saw the hair dressers here you would also be keen to avoid having a trim, unless you are a fan of the not so appealing army cut that is.

Rather than wax lyrical about this amazing place I will leave it to the more adventerous among you to go and disocver its delights for yourself.

permalink written by  MarcusInAfrica on November 5, 2009 from Lamu, Kenya
from the travel blog: Cape to Cardiff
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