Tuktuks, boda-bodas threaten Lamu Old Town’s Unesco status

A tuktuk in Lamu Old Town on January 14, 2020. The presence of such automobiles is threatening the status of the Old Town as a Unesco World Heritage site since it might end up being delisted due to westernisation.

The hope of Lamu Old Town retaining its original state as a Unesco World Heritage Site continues to fade as tuktuks have now made their entry into the historical town.

Tuktuks have joined boda-bodas in the public transport business in the town.

These are a form of westernisation that directly threatens the culture and heritage of Lamu Old Town.

A survey by the Nation has established that there are currently over 200 boda-boda riders in Old Town and at least three tuktuks with five others expected to arrive on the island before the end of the month.


The situation is worrying the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) and other stakeholders, including those in the tourism sector who have, for years, been at the forefront in ensuring the historical town retains its traditions as a world heritage site, having been listed by Unesco in 2001.


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