The Coastal town of Lamu is also referred to as the Island of Festival is one of Kenya’s must-visit locations. Right from Manda airport, an aura of coastal life and culture welcomes you to this Unesco Heritage city.  The Archipelago is a host to several islands that include Manda, Pate, Kiwayu and Lamu.

Festivals offer tourists an opportunity to indulge in the local Swahili people’s culture and history.  We highlight the festival held in Lamu.  It’s a chance to sample and enjoy some relaxation along the Kenyan Coast while learning about the people of Lamu.

New Year’s Day Dhow Race

Should the New Year find you in Lamu, then you are bound to experience the New Year’s Day dhow race.  The Island is unique in that dhows and donkeys are their main mode of transport hence a dhow race is only as prudent as the people appreciate them. It’s quite an existing way to welcome in the New Year.

the festivals of lamu

Art and Music Weekend

The Art and Music weekend takes place in February.  It’s a weekend full of activities, with participants showcase their prowess in art.  There are all kinds of artistic arts on display from interesting hats made from recycled material picked from the Ocean to paintings, and carvings coupled by music and finally culminated to a dhow race. Enjoy a party at the diamond beach and at the Lamu square where the energy is electric with music that works for everybody both old and young.

The Festivals of Lamu Island

Food Festival

This is a festival full of pomp and colour that showcases Swahili foods.  There are all kinds of coastal foods dishes showcased as well as a cooking competition where women present their best dishes.  Sample street foods and snacks, attend a cooking class or just sample the various delicacies on offer.

Lamu Food Festival: Photo credit

Lamu Yoga Festival

Are you a yoga enthusiast? Then this is your chance to visit Lamu.  Bring your mat, and enjoy yoga along the beach. The festival brings together all forms of yoga.

Photo credit: Nomad magazine

Lamu Cultural Festival

Held annually in November, The Lamu Cultural Festival brings together both local and international tourist as well as Corporate that are main sponsors of the four-day event that culminates with the famous dhow race.

The Sights and Sounds of The Lamu Cultural Festival

Read more here on our experience at the festival in 2018.

Maulid Festival

The four-day festival that celebrates the birth of Prophet Mohammed that includes music as well as religious recitals.

Maulid Festival

Kenyatalii’s Verdict

For first-timers, attending any of the above festivals will you experience the culture of Lamu in various forms.  It introduces you to the islands of Lamu, her heritage and her people leaving you with a reason to return even after the festivals are over.  It also leaves you with a spirit of yearning to learn more about this specular Coastal town of Kenya.  Why not plan to attend and visit the Island of festivals.


  1. […] world are flown in to make art on the island for a month. There is also a hat contest, a food festival and every Friday evening there is a pizza and open-air film evening on the beach. […]


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