Brief history of faza

Faza is a settlement on the North coast on Pate Island, within the Lamu Archipelago in Kenya’s former Coast Province. It was known by the name of Ampaza by the Portuguese dating back (at least) to the 14th century.

 In 1587 Faza was destroyed by the Portuguese as the then local Sheikh had supported Mir Ali Beg, a notorious privateer who had earlier played a key role in ousting the Portuguese from Muscat. The Portuguese arrived from Goa with some 650 men on their punitive expedition, and unleashed their fury on Faza. Everybody they could find was killed, including the local Sheikh. The Portuguese preserved his head in a barrel of salt for display in India. After 4 days of looting they invited Fazas arch-rivals from Pate town to take away anything that they liked from Faza.

Faza was later resettled. The Portuguese in Faza constructed a chapel there, however, nothing remains of it. In the 18th century Faza again fell into decline due to the rise of Pate. The English Consul Holmwood visited the place in 1873 and found it “dirty and infected with diseases.”

On 5 September 2009, a tragic fire took place, destroying 430 houses leaving 2500 homeless. The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) have provided housing and thousands of items of emergency needs, including blankets, sanitation equipment, tanker loads of water etc., to some of those affected.

Nowadays faza is referred to as the land built on ashes. The construction is still ongoing.

Faza settlement.

How to get to Faza

My journey started from Mombasa town where I boarded a bus (you can also use air.) When you board a bus from Mombasa you pass through among other big towns; Kilifi, Malindi, Minjila, Witu, Hindi and lastly Mokoe. The distance is approximately 350km and about 6hrs journey.  However, there are many stop overs due to current insecurity in the region (where the police does the frisking of passengers in order to avoid allowing a security threat to pass) so you might take much longer. But you are escorted by the police to protect the passengers from Al shabab attacks. so you don’t have to worry or fear.

The bus lastly stops at Lamu port from where you can board either a speed boat or a motor boat to Lamu Island. The difference is charges and the speed. The charges ranges from ksh.150-250 and the journey takes between 15-30 minutes.

From lamu –shela you board another boat that passes through Manda and Pate islands. It takes about 2-5 hours (again depending on the type of the boat used and also whether) from Lamu to Faza.

Why should you go to Faza?

There are so many reasons why you should travel to Faza Island; just to explore the world, to have a taste of a different culture (there is famous Tchundwa dance and Faza Island Festival), you can go for a honeymoon, among others.

 It is also a place with a rich history and so it a good place of doing a research especially for historians.

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