Jim Allen's House

Three fascinating and historic properties in the heart of Lamu – a large 19th Century house, a spacious traditional Swahili house and an atmospheric walled garden with ancient ruined mosque.

In total the plots have an enormous ground floor area of 480 sq metres (approx 5170 sq ft), and any purchaser would have the opportunity to create a really substantial and unique home out of these three distinctive and diverse properties.

Main House

Formerly the residence of James de Vere Allen – scholar of Swahili history and culture and founding curator of Lamu Museum, a large and imposing house in an elevated position close to Lamu’s main street and dating back to the 19th Century.

The house sits on one of the old town’s nicest and most historic streets – very close to the fort, town square and seafront.  The whole property is bordered on two other sides by quiet alleyways.  On the ground floor there are six interconnecting rooms, on the first floor five interconnecting rooms, and on the second floor two very lofty makuti-thatched rooms and a spacious open terrace with sea views.

The house is in good structural condition, and features several beautiful antique carved doors and numerous shuttered and louvered hardwood windows and doors, but is in need of some renovation, redecoration and modernisation.  The owner, himself an architect, has detailed plans for the improvement of the house, the installation of new kitchens and bathrooms etc

Swahili House

A big single-storey building built in traditional Swahili style, consisting of two large, long and particularly high-ceilinged galleries, together with two bedrooms, shady courtyard, bathroom, kitchen area and store.  The Swahili house adjoins the main house and is linked by a staircase and a large flat-roofed area.  It also has its own separate entrance close to Lamu’s main street.  

Again the property is strongly built and well maintained and could be renovated and extended as much or as little as one might want to.  It would be possible to link both houses together on the ground and first floors, and to extend the Swahili house upwards by one or more storeys.  Alternatively it could remain as spacious self-contained accommodation - or find use as an artist’s studio or other workspace.


A large and really atmospheric ‘secret garden’, containing in part of the remains of a historic mosque dating back to the 16th or 17th Century.  The garden adjoins the main house and consists of a variety of levels and terraces and paved areas and balconies, with attractive coral rag walls and ancient archways, steps and seating areas. 

It has a separate entrance from the street with huge and impressive wooden double doors. The whole garden area is planted with mature trees and flowering plants including coconut palms, frangipani, neem trees and pink and white bougainvillea.

Price - 315,000 Euros


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