Lamu is a town, and island and an archipelago. A visit to Lamu town is like a step back in time. Settlement dates back to the 14th century and Lamu was a flourishing trade center in the 1800’s. There are no cars or electricity on the island and the narrow, winding streets house private homes and shops, workshops, coffee houses and even a factory. There is evidence of the former glory and luxury in the large and elegant Arab houses. A small but interesting museum houses several rare treasures in the former home of the colonial district commissioner. Shela beach, a 12 kilometer stretch of pristine simplicity begins about a 45 minute walk from town. It’s also accessible by boat as are the outer reaches of the island and a myriad of smaller islands which make up the archipelago.