Shela, Kenya
Fast Facts
Swimming / Beaches
Historic Interest
Boat Tours
Religious Site
Tourist Attractions




Kid-Friendly Hotels
Points of Interest Nearby

Shela, Kenya


Photo by Alfredo De Simone

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The scene of a great battle and massacre in the mid 18th century, Shela (also spelled Shella) is today a refuge for well-heeled tourists in the know. Situated on the northwest tip of Lamu Island, this tiny village with but a minaret is in the throws of a high-end tourist boom. The old houses, many of which have been bought by foreigners, are now extravagant holiday homes. And while many have been stylishly refurbished, there is only way to describe others, kitsch. But don't let the jet set deter you; the trek along the dirt lane from Lamu leads you right to the beach, an endless stretch of sand that is accessible to everyone.
History & Culture
A family trip to Lamu Island provides an opportunity to introduce the kids to Swahili culture and the history of the archipelago. Learn about Lamu's prominence in Arab East Africa and its decline, which followed the abolishment of slavery in 1907. Discover the Islamic Festival of Maulidi held here each year.
Maps are a great way to get the kids involved in family vacation planning. Use online maps to plot your route along the Kenyan Coast and find your way around Lamu and Manda Islands, even with kids.
Books are a great way to introduce younger children to your family vacation destination and get teens and tweens ready for a family trip. Get recommended readings lists for travel to Kenya and whether your interest is novels or non-fiction embark on a journey through books. Read book reviews and annotations on children's books about Africa. Learn about Ernest Hemingway's travels to African countries such as Kenya and find out how his experience influenced several of his short stories and books.
Music & Sound
Music is a great way to introduce children to a local culture and embark on a journey through sound. Discover Swahili songs, a fusion of African, Indian and Arab music, and listen online.
Read Kenya newspapers online and brush up on Kenyan current events from politics to economics and sports to entertainment before you depart on a family trip. Read Kenya news online and find out what the locals are reading.
Kids' Stuff
Thanks to Disney's 'The Lion King' and 'Timon and Pumbaa' cartoon series you probably already know how to pronounce hakuna matata, the Swahili phrase meaning no problem. Learning key phrases such as jambo (hello), habari (How are you?), and sante (thank you) will add to the fun.
Associations and non-profit organizations can be a valuable resource as well as a means to get involved. Find out more about the entities working to protect Lamu's cultural heritage.
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Travel Trivia
The age of the Saguaro Cactus is determined by: