A Dhow Ride: Laughter, Competition, and Twilight’s Enchanting Embrace at 2023 Lamu Cultural Festival

By Tego Wolasa

Lamu’s allure extends far beyond its ancient streets and vibrant culture. It lies in the mesmerizing expanse of the surrounding sea, where the island unveils its captivating beauty as day surrenders to twilight.

For those seeking a quintessential Lamu experience, a sunset dhow ride in the open sea adjacent to Shela is a must. This journey paints the sky with a fiery farewell and soothes the soul with the symphony of nature’s embrace.

Fifty-three and I, along with two jovial Caucasians (one of whom playfully dubbed herself “Honey”), set sail on a traditional wooden dhow, a vessel that has gracefully navigated Lamu’s waters for generations.

Our adventure began with a lively spectacle marking the end of Lamu Cultural Week: a diver’s competition. Contestants balanced on a slippery rod extending over the water, their eyes fixed on the flag at its end.

A sea of enthusiastic faces lined the shores, cheering as the divers skillfully maneuvered their way towards the flag. The first to reach and retrieve it emerged victorious, while those who fell elicited gasps and laughter from the onlookers.

As the diver’s competition concluded, we turned our attention to the next exciting event: a dhow rowing race. With muscles straining, rowers propelled their vessels across the water, their oars slicing through the waves with synchronized precision. The air crackled with anticipation as the boats surged forward, each rower striving to claim victory.

With the races concluded, our dhow, under Amin’s skillful captaincy, embarked on its journey towards Shela, a neighboring island that beckoned with its promise of tranquility and charm. White structures cast long reflections on the water channels as we passed.

Upon reaching Shela, we disembarked briefly, taking in the island’s laid-back atmosphere and the vibrant hues of its traditional Swahili architecture.

As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting long shadows across the water, we ventured further into the open sea. The vast expanse stretched before us like an endless canvas. The sky, a mesmerizing blend of oranges, yellows, and deep blues, reflected upon the water’s surface, creating a shimmering spectacle that mirrored the heavens above.

Lost in the enchanting embrace of twilight, we watched in silent awe as the sun dipped below the horizon, its fiery glow lingering upon the clouds, painting them in hues of deep orange and fiery pink.

The air, infused with the salty tang of the sea, enveloped us, carrying with it the whispers of ancient tales and the promise of an unforgettable experience.

Our dhow ride back to Lamu Island, under the cloak of darkness, was no less captivating. Captain Amin and his two assistants expertly maneuvered the dhow, harnessing the power of wind and engine to guide us safely back to shore.

The night sky, ablaze with stars, provided a celestial canopy, and the gentle lapping of waves against the dhow’s hull lulled us into a state of tranquil reverie.

As we disembarked, huddled close together, Fifty-three and I felt a surge of gratitude for the privilege of witnessing Lamu’s captivating beauty in all its splendor.

The dhow ride, a harmonious blend of laughter, competition, and natural wonders, had etched itself indelibly into our memories, a testament to the island’s enchanting allure and the indelible mark it leaves on those who immerse themselves in its magic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


The history of the Buruuj Training Institute (BTI) dates back to July 2006, when its predecessor, the TJ Computer College, commenced training in Sotik Town, Bomet County. In 2008, TJ computer college relocated to Nairobi.


  • +254 020 8000600

  • admissions@bti.ac.ke

  • info@bti.ac.ke

  • Helena Road, Ongata Rongai - Kajiado

  • Po Box 103384 – 00101, Nairobi


Copyright © Buruuj Training Institute. All Rights Reserved.
Design by Crablinks