Zanzibar or Lamu

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Nov 8th, 2005, 11:17 AM
  #1
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Zanzibar or Lamu

Having been to Stone Town and Lamu, I have a hard time trying to understand why more people do not go to Lamu. It is smaller, less hassle, better preserved and tourist friendly. Unless you are diving, can't see the attraction. I'm a diver so its through customs and out of town as soon as possible.
For that matter even Ille de Mocambique seems more interesting. They have good diving there also and the town is in the midst of being restored.

I'm interested in your point of view.

Also I took a safari a few years back from Watumu into Tsavo. That area has plenty of game and did not see any other vehicles/guests for the 4 days there. Nice little extension from Lamu.
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Nov 8th, 2005, 11:23 AM
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Robbie,

Just my 2 cents, but when we were looking for a beach extension after safari, it seemed so much easier to get to Zanzibar.

I'm not a diver, so that wasn't a concern. I did find Stone Town intense, though quite interesting.

However, now that I've seen Nyamera's pictures of Lamu--donkeys!--I really want to go. I will save it for my "explore Kenya" trip. Can't wait.
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Nov 8th, 2005, 11:45 AM
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I haven't been counting, but most visitors (those that appear here on Fodor's) are choosing to visit Tanzania, so Zanzibar is just easier.

However, for those arriving/departing via NBO, they should definitely consider Lamu as an option to Stone Town. Or any of the northern coastal areas of Kenya for their R&R/Cultural time.

Either, they don't think of it... aren't advised of the options... prefer not to go to a mainly Muslim island... their friends haven't been, and they go without friends' recommendations - beats me. Even for those who head to ZNZ, few spend more than a day in Stone Town, heading to the resorts for their R&R.

... and, staying in one country = 1 Visa.

Lamu and Malindi are good alternatives for diving (we've met quite a few visitors heading here for diving) and environment; less touristy, one gets into the local culture, food, sights and sounds.

I believe return visitors should consider the many new/different options the second (or third, or fourth) time around. There's really much more to discover than the "usual."

I'm certainly with you on this!
 
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Nov 8th, 2005, 11:51 AM
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Lamu is on my 'next Kenya trip' list too. I think for those going on or ending their safari in Tanzania, Zanzibar is an easier destination to reach as Leely said.

But I don't understand why more people who go on safari in Kenya don't stay in Kenya for their beach extension either. There seem to be many good beach options along the Kenyan coast, but perhaps Zanzibar is just more well known and conjures up more exotic images.

I went to Tsavo West but not Tsavo East in February and loved it. The landscape is very dramatic and we hardly saw any other safari vehicles.
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Nov 8th, 2005, 02:58 PM
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Hmmm...one more place to consider. Given that I will most likely be flying in and out of Nairobi en route to Tanzania, Lamu will get a look. However, up until this moment, I had never even heard of the place and still have not checked for photos & accomodations. Any over the top type Palms Zanzibar type places in Lamu???
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Nov 8th, 2005, 03:05 PM
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Been waiting for you Rocco.
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Nov 8th, 2005, 03:22 PM
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I don't know of any places similar to the Palms in or around Lamu. Mostly what you'll find are accomodations in restored traditional stone houses or thatch huts on the beach. The latter (I'm thinking along the lines of Kiwayu, Munira, Kipugani, etc.) are very exclusive but I think more rustic than what you're looking for.

For you, if you decide to spend your beach time in Kenya, I think something like Alfajiri www.alfajirivillas.com or even Funzi Keys www.thefunzikeys.com (both located south of Mombasa)
may be a better fit, though I fear even the latter may be too 'rustic'
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Nov 8th, 2005, 03:28 PM
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Heres a page that represents some of whats available.

www.wildfrontiers.com/showarea.asp?AreaInfoID=33

They are not 5 star, but it is the ambience you might like. I stayed with a friend who rented a house, so can't give a recommendation.



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Nov 8th, 2005, 03:28 PM
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Patty, funny, I was thinking, based only on my cursory Lamu research, "Oh, I don't think there's much to Rocco's taste there."

I like the look of Kijani House Hotel and Peponi Hotel--but are those too "pedestrian"?

But I'd stay anywhere. Never been known for being picky.
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Nov 8th, 2005, 03:54 PM
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Leely,
Yeah, I was definitely having a hard time coming up with some place 'Rocco-worthy'

Rocco,
This page also shows a good sampling of what's available all along the Kenyan coast -

http://www.africanmeccasafaris.com/k...beachhotel.asp

Roughly, in order of north to south, it would go Kiwayu, Manda, Lamu, Malindi, Watamu, Kilifi, Mombasa, Chale & Funzi.
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Nov 8th, 2005, 04:26 PM
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Good taste, bad taste, no taste, and Rocco's taste. We have new standards to rate by.
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Nov 8th, 2005, 04:53 PM
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Rocco:
My advice--pin down your air tickets and then put yourself in Sandi's hands for your beach extension. You won't have to break her in to "Rocco taste." She'll aleady know it.
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Nov 8th, 2005, 05:57 PM
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I do appreciate luxury but there is nowhere quite like a rustic lodge/camp that just gets it right, such as Chongwe River Camp or Kafunta Island Bush Camp.

More than anything with Zanzibar, the heat is a concern.

I am leaving at my least favorite time of year in Southern California, when it will likely experience its coolest and possibly wettest weather. The last thing I want is to go from one extreme to the other.

Being that Zanzibar will be hot & humid, I at least want to be able to enjoy my air conditioned room. It is not necessarily a prerequisite that the room be a 1,400 sq. ft. villa, featuring a private plunge pool...but it sure doesn't hurt, either!
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Feb 22nd, 2006, 09:59 AM
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I realize this is an old thread....but thought I would pull it up as I have been doing some comparsion between Lamu and Zanzibar. Can somone who has been to both correct or confirm the following impression I have from the photos: Lamu town has more character than Stonetown, but the white beaches on Zan are better than the tan/gray beaches around Lamu???
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Feb 22nd, 2006, 11:03 AM
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Cruisinred,
The Lamu and Manda beaches aren’t tan/ gray – there’s more of a very light salmon colour. I haven’t been to Zanzibar, but I know the beaches are of the typical tropical paradise kind with sugar white sand and tall coconut trees found further south on the Kenyan coast. On Lamu the tall coconut trees are in the middle of the island, on the beaches they’re smaller and there are acacias and baobabs almost on the beach –and there are dunes. I’d say the beaches have a lot more character on Lamu.
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Feb 22nd, 2006, 11:09 AM
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Hi Nyamera-
I enjoyed seeing your pictures of Lamu, which I just found recently. Thanks for sharing. I loved the look of the Lamu House, which you posted about. Unfortunately, it is closed in May and June, otherwise that would be a top pick for me...will have to save that one for another trip
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Feb 22nd, 2006, 11:31 AM
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Cruisinred,
Have you contacted Lamu House and been told they’re closed in May and June? Some hotels in Lamu close at that time, but on the website there’s a low season price from 1 May to 1 July.
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Feb 22nd, 2006, 11:44 AM
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Yes, I did ask them that...as the website has conflicting information about their closure dates....but they sent me a nice email confirming that they are closed because of the rain. I wanted to write back and say I don't mind the rain, I am going to Lamu for the atmosphere and architecture...
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Feb 22nd, 2006, 12:17 PM
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I was there at the end of June and stayed at the very lovely Yumbe House that doesn’t close for the rains, but it’s a lot more “basic” than Lamu House. Lamu Palace was open, but it’s not as nice as Lamu House. I was invited to have a look at one of the houses – don’t remember if it was Salama or Azania – that had just opened for the first time, and it was simply perfect.
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