Escape to East Africa’s most enchanting island…

Nestling against the beautiful, unspoilt Indian Ocean coast of northern Kenya, Lamu Island is one of the most beguiling places on earth.

Little changed in centuries, Lamu has long been renowned for the warmth of its welcome to visitors, its rich and colourful maritime trading history and its distinctive Swahili culture – a unique amalgam of African, Arabian, Indian and European influences.

Unique and unpackaged, tranquil and traditional, sleepy yet sophisticated – in a world that is increasingly rushed and regimented, Lamu remains a wonderfully authentic and unhurried retreat.

“Lamu is a tiny island filled with hot, hot days, perfect sea breezes and empty white-sand beaches. It has crumbling Arabic houses, narrow twisting streets, hectic marketplaces, stunning sunsets…. in short, it is wonderful.”

THE TIMES

Handpicked Holiday Homes

Staying in a fully-staffed private house is one of the best ways to enjoy a visit to Lamu, and here we present a selection of our favourites. They range in style from the simple and rustic to the elegant and luxurious, and we are pleased to recommend each as a special, distinctive and authentic place to stay.  At all you are assured of a memorable and relaxing break in gorgeous surroundings.

Lamu Town

Lamu Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the oldest living town south of the Sahara and the best-preserved settlement in East Africa.

Shela Village

Sleepy yet sophisticated, Shela Village sits two miles to the south of Lamu Town at the start of the island’s wonderful 8-mile beach.

Manda & Kiwayu

On the beautiful and low-key desert islands of Manda and Kiwayu, beach life is even more relaxed and laid back than on Lamu.

Kizingoni Beach

Situated on the remote and unspoilt South West coast of Lamu, at Kizingoni Beach peace, seclusion and beautiful sunsets are guaranteed.

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Lamu Town

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Manda Beach

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Shela Village

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Kizingoni Beach

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Manda Bay

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Manda Airport

Boutique Beach Lodges & A Magnificent Dhow

Get even further away from it all at a laid-back and luxurious beach lodge – here are three of our favourites. Or explore all the pleasures of the archipelago from the deck of ‘Tusitiri’ – a unique and beautifully-appointed ocean-going dhow whose home port is Lamu.

Manda Bay, Manda Island
The Kabanas, Kizingoni Beach
Mike’s Camp, Kiwayu Island
Tusitiri Dhow, Lamu

What our guests say…

“One of the best houses in one of the most magical places in the world – Lamu island is like nowhere else on earth and Forodhani is of the most amazing houses there. Metres from the ocean with amazing sea views in two directions – the dhows sail past so close to the terrace it feels that you should be able to reach out and touch them.  The staff are incredibly friendly and the chef is among the best in Shela”

Jerome, Nairobi, on Forodhani House, Shela

“We had a wonderful stay at Maridhiya House and felt very much part of the community as the house is located within the old town. The house has been beautifully restored and the people of Lamu are so kind and friendly and welcoming – Kahindi and Dixon are amazing chefs and fantastic hosts! Thank you for answering all of my many questions – we would definitely visit again.”  

Barbara, Canada, on Maridhiya House, Lamu Town

“What a beautiful house and wonderful staff! We could not have had a better place to stay. Hopefully we can make another trip to Gaba Gaba House again soon.”

Dharma, Sweden on Gaba Gaba House, Shela

“Our stay on Lamu was really incredible – such a beautiful, interesting and accessible island to explore! And Nyota House was wonderful – the pictures did not disappoint!”

Katherine, Rwanda on Nyota House, Lamu Town

“Maridhiya House is spacious, comfortable and tastefully decorated down to the smallest details – we all appreciated the comfortable baraza benches on the first and second floors –  perfectly positioned to catch the cooling sea breezes. We went sailing, fishing and snorkeling to Manda Toto, had endless walks along Shela and its dunes, watched the sunset and moonrise from our terraces, rode donkeys and picked sand dollars… Kahindi and Dickson served us lovely breakfasts and were always more than happy to please. Thank you all for turning our little break into a memorable holiday!”

Angie and Ludo, Diani on Maridhiya House Lamu Town

“What a great place this is! We stayed for six days but I could have easily stayed longer. The house is a heaven of tranquillity – we specially enjoyed the amazing rooftop which has a great view and very comfortable lounge area. There is also a constant breeze so it never feels hot on the rooftop, which made it our favourite place. The house manager was very friendly and resourceful which was a great asset for our holiday. I would definitely recommend Nyota House and I’m hoping to come back again soon. Thanks so much!”

Dieter, Nairobi on Nyota House, Lamu Town

“Just 20 minutes by boat from mainland Kenya, Jahazi House overlooks a deserted golden Indian Ocean beach. Constructed from coral blocks, traditional plasterwork and palm-leaf thatch, this spectacular house has a private courtyard pool for laps under blazing skies, a roof terrace and five Swahili-style bedrooms. The latter have four-posters and intricately carved door frames. Best of all are the accommodating staff, including boat captain with speedboat and private chef. It’s tempting to just read, relax and dine sublimely on local organic produce.”

Harper’s Bazaar on Jahazi House, Kizingoni Beach

Properties for Sale

We present an enticing selection of Lamu properties for sale – from building plots to fully-restored historic houses to luxurious beachfront villas.

Building & Design

We have been involved in designing, building, renovating  and restoring several properties in Lamu and here we present a selection of our projects.

Swahili Architecture

Lamu’s unique stone houses are celebrated for their intricately carved wooden doors, the grandeur and elegance of their interiors and their beautiful decorative plasterwork.

All About Lamu

Everything you need to know about East Africa’s most enchanting island – from the best places to eat, drink and shop to the historic and cultural attractions of the archipelago.

For handpicked holiday houses, boutique homestays, private safari camps and other unique and special places to stay all around the region please see our East African Retreats website.