Afrikable - Cooperación para el desarrollo en Africa



Getting lost in the narrow streets of Lamu, Kenya.


Afrikable´s work focuses in Lamu, an island of the north coast of Kenya. Lamu was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 2001 and it is the oldest and best conserved Swahili settlement of West Africa. In Lamu, people have managed to keep their ancient customs until now. As a result, it seems time stands still in their everyday life.

Built with coral rock and mangrove wood, the city is characterized by the simplicity of its structural forms, enriched by various elements such as inner courtyards, balconies and hand carved wooden doors.

It is placed around 250 km at the north of Mombasa, in the island of the same name, and its narrow streets full of charm have hundreds of years behind them. Lamu represents swahili culture, a cocktail of Arabic, Persian, Indian and European cultures that has gone through the island.

We suggest you to get lost in Lamu´s narrow streets and to know it in depth. Would you like to?


We start our tour in Lamu Museum. On public holidays, boys and girls from the project come here to learn about their culture. The best museum of the city is located in the seafront, in front of the pier, in an old and very well preserved swahili palace. Here, you can learn all about swahili culture and about the city history as well as admire the traditional clothing. From here, we move to the south through the seafront, enjoying the bustle of Lamu´s daily life, the fishing boats and the traditional dhows berthing along the seafront.


When we get to the pier, on the right hand side, we find the main square of the city (Lamu Town Square) at the foot of the magnificent Lamu´s Fort. The square, surrounded by stone benches and under the shadow of impressive magnolia trees, is the favourite meeting place for the local community.


Lamu´s Fort was built between 1813 and 1821. Currently used to celebrate traditional weddings, theatre places and other meetings, it was originally the base from which the Sultanate of Oman controlled all the east African coast. During the colonial period the British used it as a prison and in 1984 it definitely become a museum under the protection of Kenyan government.


On the left hand side of the Fort we see the local market where, in the early morning, the city inhabitants buy meat and freshly caught fish. We find vegetable and fruit stands everywhere, a colour and smell explosion. Here we buy provisions for Afrikable´s soup kitchen.

From the square and going to the South, this time through Main Street, we find the German Post Office Museum. At the end of 1800, before the British decided to stop the German expansion in Tangarica, the German considered Lamu as an ideal point of departure to make use of the centre of the country. As a part of their efforts, the German East Africa Company established a post office in the city and the old building is now a museum that shows photos and memories of that time.

Afrikable Fair Trade Shop

Coming back to our departure point, heading north this time through the Main Street, we can enjoy the little shops where we appreciate local art, wood carving and shops with multicoloured African fabrics. In the street you can see our Fair Trade Shop, Afrikable Fair Trade Shop, where you can buy the products made by women in our workshops.


At this stage you have probably realized you have not come across any car in the island, but tens of different size donkeys. Donkeys are, together with boats, the only mean of transport of the island. You will see donkeys all around and you must keep in mind they have to be given priority. A man without a donkey is a donkey, says a famous swahili proverb. To offer an adequate attention to those animals, some meters heading north from Lamu´s Museum is Donkey Sanctuary. This sanctuary was created by International Donkey Protection Trust, from Sidmouth, UK to improve the quality of life of those animals by offering them care and free veterinary attention.


After getting lost in Lamu´s narrow streets, you can have a chai swahili (sweet tea spiced with ginger, cinnamon and cardamom) and enjoy swahili food and its people. What a better way to end this day than having something fresh and enjoying a wonderful sunset in the floating bar.

Karibuni Lamu, Karibuni Afrikable! – Welcome to Lamu, welcome to Afrikable!

Translator: Estefanía Rodríguez


Afrikable is a Spanish charitable organisation, registered in the National Register of Associations under number 1/1/594088 and in the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AECID)'s Register of Non-Governmental Organisations under number 2033.


In Kenya our association is called Afrika Able Organization and is registered with Kenya's NGO Coordination Board under number 10976.


  • Lamu, Kenia.
    Madrid, Spain
  • +34 605 722 162