More and more foreigners are buying or renting houses on Lamu - paparazzi spotted Sienna Miller, Ewan McGregor, Sting and Kate Moss; Barack Obama is a regular on the island and Princess Caroline of Monaco and Prince Ernst of Hanover own several large houses. Other celebrities or just rich Europeans and North Americans are visiting the island, boosting the prices and giving a hope for easy dollar for the locals. Understandably, they were not happy about the ideas of extending protected areas of the island to include mangrove swamps and oceanic coast and to create an open-air museum there where locals could sell a land for building more posh houses.

Lamu island is situated in Indian Ocean just on the coastline of Kenya, only 45 minutes from Mombasa international airport. This is one of the most interesting places on Eastern Coast of Africa. Separated from the mainland by a narrow straight, it managed to conserve its character and cultural traditions of Swahili-speaking tribes. During the Medieval Age, this was a busy trading center, competing against Zanzibar.

Since 1890, Lamu was under the British protectorate until 1963, when it finally joined the independent Kenya.

Lamu was covered in the press, mostly with advertising in mind. Even the article from Telegraph is describing it as a low-profile place that is yet to discover mass-tourism, here is their article, Overseas property: Laid-back in Lamu

View in a larger map