Lamu town was founded in the 14th century and contains many fine examples of Swahili architecture.
The old town is inscribed on the World Heritage List as "the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa".
Once a centre for the slave trade, Lamu was on the main Arabian trading routes and, as a result, the population, although ethnically diverse, is largely Muslim.
Due to the narrow streets, vehicles are not allowed but the town is easily explored by foot, bicycle or, as many locals favour, by donkey.
Shela is a village about 2 miles from Lamu Town with less of a strict dress code, and a tad more modern
Lamu is served by Lamu (Manda) Airport