LAMU IS READY TO HOST THE 2015 CULTURAL FESTIVAL THIS WEEKEND
(Posted 25th November 2015)
Lamu Tourism, supported by the Kenya Tourism Board and the Ministry of Tourism, now again headed by Najib Balala, is ready to host this weekend’s 15th edition of their Cultural Festival, which combines the archipelago’s past with the present, providing a blend of the historical with contemporary performances.
Highlights of the weekend are the traditional dhow races on the water and the camel races on dry land, besides a vast variety of poetry recitals, performances of the songs of the Swahili culture which is best preserved on the island of Lamu anywhere in Kenya. A Bao game competition is also held, this being one of the ancient board games played not just in Lamu but across the Swahili culture area which once upon a time was predominant along the Eastern African seaboard and the islands as far as Zanzibar.
Visitors can also see how henna paintings are drawn on the skin of those who like to take a living souvenir back home with them and how the henna paste is being made. Food of course also plays a major part in the festival giving visitors the opportunity to sample the spiced dishes the Swahili culture is known for.
Lamu was particularly hard hit when failed Inspector General of Police Kimayo slapped the island with a curfew two years ago, which his successor then promptly lifted, as Lamu itself has always been considered a safe haven in an area which admittedly, due to its closeness to Somalia, had suffered security problems. As a result did tourism to the island all but collapse but has since began to revive, and the festival is once again an opportunity to showcase Lamu as a place which takes visitors back in time.
Lamu Tourism, apart from holding this festival, now offers a range of other smaller festivals, the next one being in January when the Islamic Maulid Festival is held between the 03rd and 07th of January, then followed by the Lamu Art Festival, the Shela Hat Contest, the Lamu Yoga Festival and the Lamu Food Festival in February, March and April respectively.
|Lamu Cultural Festival||CULTURAL||27-29 November, 2015|
|Lamu Triathlon||ART||5-6 December, 2015|
|Maulid Festival||RELIGIOUS||3-7 January, 2016|
|Lamu Art Festival (Featuring Shela Hat Contest)||ART||13-14 February, 2016|
|Lamu Yoga Festival||ART||2-6 March, 2016|
|Kite Festival at Kizingoni||ART||27-29 March, 2016|
|Lamu Food Festival||ART||15-17 April, 2016|
New Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, himself from the Kenya coast, who has in the past gone flat out to help promote the festival, is expected to make his first public appearance as the new tourism boss when flying to Lamu for the opening of the event.
Lamu, while connected by road from Malindi, is most easily accessible by scheduled flight from Nairobi where Safarlink and Air Kenya operate daily flights from Wilson Airport with Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft while Jambojet, the Kenya Airways low cost subsidiary, flies from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Lamu using a Bombardier Q400NextGen. For more information about Lamu click on www.lamutourism.org or visit the Kenya Tourism Board site www.magicalkenya.com and follow the links to Destination Lamu.