Sunrises and sunsets are two things probably taken for granted by many people as it is assumed that nature must, after all, take its course.

However, domestic and international tourists are spending a fortune just to catch a glimpse of the beautiful sunrises and sunsets on the various islands across the Lamu Archipelago.

It has become a common sight to encounter rows of boats and dhows full of tourists, beautifully lined up on the beaches of Shella, Manda-Diamond, the Majlis Hotel, Ras Kitau, Wiyoni, Matondoni, Kipungani, Kiwayu, and Kitangani among others, specifically at dawn and dusk.

You are likely to spot some with cameras and binoculars in hand, as thousands scramble to enjoy the breathtaking sunrises and sunsets.

SuperboxTravel recently caught up with some of these tourists at the renowned common points in Shella and Ras Kitau beaches where both sunrises and sunsets are visible.

Ella Willian, a tourist from Norway, says she has always ensured she visits Lamu as frequently as possible just to enjoy the spectacle.

She notes that in her homeland, sunsets are not common.

Norway is part of Europe situated in the Arctic Circle.

“This makes my country lack such unique sunrises and sunsets that I enjoy every time I visit Lamu especially here at Ras Kitau. I always spend not less than Sh2 million just to come to Kenya, particularly Lamu for a three-month vacation. I am here until July,” offers Ms Willian.

Asked why she adores sunrises and sunsets, Ms Willian said gazing at them puts her in a better mood.

“I always feel satisfied in life just by watching the sun come up early in the morning or going down late in the evening. It’s therapeutic for me. I can’t miss such scenery while in Lamu,” adds Ms Willian.

Oliver Benjamin from Canada says together with his family, they spend two months every year in Lamu and during that period, they always make time for the sunrises and sunsets.

“We spend a lot coming to Shella in Lamu every year, especially between May and August when there’s always no sunset witnessed in our country. Just looking at the sun rising or setting relieves me of life stresses. I always make a date with sunrises and sunsets while in Lamu,” says Mr Benjamin.

Foreigners visit Lamu as frequently as possible just to enjoy the spectacle./Kalume Kazungu I Nation Media Group

Fathima Ahmed, a native of Lamu says she has also developed a trend of waking up early in the morning to watch the sun rise and set in the evening.

“It’s unfortunate that Lamu is blessed with these beautiful sceneries but we as locals don’t see the need to watch them. Many feel it’s a waste of time. For me, I feel like my worries are fading away and I become fresh,” says Ms Ahmed.

Monika Fauth, a Netherlands-born tourist who has established a base in Lamu for over 25 years now, terms sunrises and sunsets crucial to human beings as they always calm the mind.

Ms Fauth, a well-being expert and founder of Lamu Yoga Festival, says they have sessions where participants are incorporated into sunrise and sunset watching.

“I encourage people to embrace watching sunrises and sunsets. It isn’t a waste of time at all. In times of stress, we need to calm our minds down, and immersing ourselves in nature like being glued to sunrise or sunset can indeed help us calm down. And of course, people shouldn’t forget some breathing exercises,” explains Ms Fauth.

Mr Andrew Masama, a psychologist and the chairperson of the Kenya Counselling and Psychological Association (KCPA) Lamu branch, revealed that watching sunrises and sunsets results in better sleep and also helps one get vitamin D which strengthens bones that in turn helps fight certain diseases.

According to Mr Masama, sunrises, and sunsets increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin.

Serotonin is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused.

“Exposure to sunlight can also benefit those with other types of depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and pregnant people with depression,” he explains.

He adds: “There is the spiritual meaning of sunset versus sunrise where the sunrise is symbolic of birth, growth, a new beginning of all kinds, and resurrection. The sunset tends to be symbolic of endings, death, and all things associated with darkness. So, all these are important for human nature.”

Lamu Tourism Executive Aisha Abdalla Miraji said the county boasts of having unique and beautiful sunrise and sunset scenery, particularly at Ras Kitau Bay on Manda Island.

“We have quite a number of tourists coming to Lamu in recent times just to enjoy sunrises and sunsets. They spend quite some money and that’s good for the tourism sector. So, sunrises and sunsets are among the unique things or tourist attractions that my docket is trying to promote for a better Lamu,” said Ms Miraji.

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