If you read any travel guide for Lamu, I’m sure they all tell you about Ali Hippy. He’s a local man makes his living inviting tourists to his home for a traditional dinner and music. He’s a good salesman and it was a nice experience visiting his thatched hut and meeting his family, mostly because of the atmosphere.
As you can see in the picture his family plays traditional swahili tunes on a variety of instruments. Some tunes were better than others, but the best part of the whole show were the local children that seemed to pop in for a bedtime song. Their little faces crowded our reed mats and they even sang a song for us.
We loved spending time on Lamu. The traditional and genuine swahili hospitality was overwhelming and we felt completely at ease and welcome on the island. It was a wonderful spot that has found balance between tourism and tradition.
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IF YOU GO: If you’re looking for a beach and a cultural experience, Lamu is a nice alternative to holidays in Mauritus or Zanzibar. The island is still very traditional, so it certainly lacks the resorts and upscale nature of other beach destinations on the Indian Ocean. Travelers should remember that the island is very sensitive to Western culture and should be respectful in both their dress and behavior more so than usual. We had a wonderful cultural experience there, its a nice relaxed place to just hang out and soak it all in.