Lamu Traditional Dhow Safari

Lamu Traditional Dhow Safari - 4 nights / 5 days

The image of the iconic triangular sail of the traditional Swahili dhow clipping along the East African coast has changed little over the past 2000 years—a scene that takes you back to a land before time. And now it’s your turn to taste the rich history of this fascinating culture. This customized sea safari aboard a majestic 60ft dhow, that takes you on an immersive exploration of the magical Lamu Archipelago with its giant fiery sunsets and exotic animal life, is unrivalled in any part of the world.

A secluded and fun safari for the whole family, you will venture to a place where Persian and Oman traders travelled the coasts of East Africa from as early as the 6th Century. The architecture, the culture, the food and the whole experience seep with the rich traditions of this ancient culture.Along your journey you will discover the extraordinary and less-known coastal and marine worlds of Northern Kenya, passing through remarkable mangrove forest channels, extensively rich seagrass beds, unexpected sandbars, resilient and unusual coral reefs and untouched beaches.

Bring your binoculars, as these beaches are teeming with wildlife. The Lamu Archipelago is a critical nesting ground for a variety of turtles—the green, hawksbill, and occasionally, the olive ridley. The islands are steeped in history, some are inhabited, and others are home to unfamiliar wildlife including the striped hyena, northern bushbuck, warthog and porcupine. I love nothing more than sharing the knowledge I have gained of this remarkable archipelago through the years of working with communities there.

On this unique sea safari you live on board a refitted 30-ton dhow, called a ‘Jahazi’, which once traded on the East African Monsoons. The designers have created an enchanting combination of simplicity and indulgence, and it is the perfect way to discover the exceptional seas north of Lamu. Nights are spent on deck under the stars, meals are served either on deck or on some beautiful beach.

During the sail there are a range of amazing activities. Guests can snorkel and dive on the protected coral reefs, and view some old coral transplants we planted in the early 2000s; walk the beaches and hike the islands; fish the deep seas; water-ski or wakeboard in the mangrove channels; sail or kitesurf; if lucky, swim with dolphins; watch humpback whales and witness turtle hatchlings emerge from their nests. With planned stopovers along the way, guests can appreciate the trading history of the archipelago through visits to some of the old forts—Shanga, Manda and Ashwei. If you wish, we can arrange a flight over this stunning paradise, and arrive by fixed wing plane to some of the most secluded areas of the world. A visit to the northern Kui Island is a must, weather permitting.

On the ground you can connect with our conservation efforts and meet the managers, community members, scientists and women whom I worked with to found Ocean Sole, the Flipflop Recycling Company. In between activities and sailing, have a leisurely bike ride along the beaches of Shela, maybe just kick up your heels and have sundowners with Mike, at his exclusive Robinson Crusoe style camp at Kiwayu Island, or enjoy an ‘old pal’ at the iconic Peponi Hotel in Lamu.

This is a true Kenyan sea safari offering luxury, connections with extraordinary people, and a chance to explore an astonishing landscape, a UNESCO world heritage site steeped in history and a globally recognized landscape with species of special concern.

When to go: Aug – Apr- Every month there is something to offer at sea.

Nov to Mar/Apr  - best for scuba diving and deep sea fishing

Apr– Sep – best for turtle hatchlings

Jun – Sept – best for whales

Oct – Apr – best for snorkeling