The 21st edition of the Lamu Cultural Festival is anticipated to surpass its predecessors, aiming to be the most significant celebration yet.
Renowned for spotlighting Lamu’s vibrant cultural heritage, the festival has consistently drawn local and international tourism attention.
Scheduled to take place from November 30 to December 2, Lamu Governor Issa Timammy expressed confidence in the event’s success, expecting it to surpass the achievements of the previous year’s Cultural Festival.
Governor Timammy highlighted the addition of beach football to this year’s festivities, leveraging the involvement of three Lamu youths in the Kenya beach national football team to foster local talent. He also announced a unique triathlon competition encompassing swimming, running, and donkey riding.
Beyond these activities, the festival promises a rich array of cultural experiences, including the splendor of Lamu’s cuisine and the unique atmosphere of the Lamu Archipelago. Governor Timammy extended an invitation to both Kenyans and international visitors to join the celebration.
Since the last Lamu Cultural Festival, tourism in Lamu has experienced a notable upswing, with flights from Nairobi consistently booked to capacity, particularly over weekends. Lamu has successfully rebranded itself as an “Island of Festivals,” with various events, including the upcoming Yoga and Maulid festivals, contributing to the island’s appeal.
Aisha Miraj, the CEC Member for Tourism, Trade, Investment, and Culture, assured that all preparations for the end-of-month cultural extravaganza were in place. Security measures have been implemented to ensure the safe travel of guests to Lamu, both by road and air.
Miraj highlighted the diverse competitions planned for the three-day festival, showcasing Lamu’s unique culture through events such as the dhow race and donkey race.
Notable dignitaries, including ambassadors from Germany, Kuwait, and Oman, as well as Kenyan VIPs like Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi, have confirmed their attendance.
Anticipating over 30,000 visitors, Miraj emphasized the need for advanced hotel bookings and hinted at potential requests for locals to accommodate festival-goers in case of high demand.
Mohamed Mbwana, the Lamu CEC Member for Finance, emphasized the festival’s positive economic impact on the county.
Booming business for boats and vehicles during the event is expected to create employment opportunities for the local community. Mbwana also noted the festival’s role in showcasing investment opportunities in Lamu, attracting potential investors.
Kaya elder Johnson Ndokolani emphasized the significance of the festival in promoting cultural activities. He encouraged youth cooperation to ensure the preservation and promotion of culture in Lamu and the broader Coast region.
This year’s festival is poised to be the most extensive yet, featuring cultural activities from Kaya elders outside the county and showcasing various traditional Mijikenda marriage practices.