Forodhani House makes the very most of its breezy location on the eastern tip of Lamu island. It combines the best of traditional and modern Swahili architecture and design, and is furnished and appointed with style and attention-to-detail throughout.

Forodhani’s carved wooden front door leads directly from the Shela jetty and beachfront to a grassy front garden shaded by a spreading acacia tree. Looking onto the garden is the spacious dining room, where the house staff will be pleased to serve your choice of dishes cooked by gourmet chef Amos. The dining room features a wall of intricate zidaka niches – traditional in Lamu houses in centuries past and echoed in the carved plaster ceiling friezes throughout the house.

“This perfectly-situated house is not only idyllic but comes with excellent staff, fantastic contacts for all the fun things to do in Lamu and has the most amazing corners for everyone staying to relax in. Thank you to you all for our perfect stay – and for those yet to book Forodhani House – don’t hesitate!!”

Emma, Nairobi

Cloistered galleries with Moorish archways lead from the dining room to the airy living room, seafront terraces and freshwater swimming pool – all elevated 2.5 metres above the waterfront. Overlooking the pool and lower garden is a relaxing hardwood deck under another shady acacia.

Elsewhere on the Ground Floor are an ‘eat-in’ kitchen (ideal for children’s meals) and a Double Bedroom suite – its bathroom has large hamman-style shower and doors to the lower garden, which has built-in baraza sofas and Egyptian mashrabya window screens. On the First Floor there are three double bedrooms – two of which share a spacious bathroom and can be arranged to sleep up to six children.

“I cannot recommend Forodhani House enough. I wish it could remain my private secret hideaway, but this would be incredibly selfish and so I can but only recommend and urge my fellow travelers and those looking for somewhere idyllic to stay in Lamu to visit Forodhani House and experience sublime bliss.!”

S.A., Nairobi, July 2015

On the Second Floor is the Master Bedroom Suite – with spacious bedroom, bathroom and private veranda. Next door is a small lounge with built-in bed and bar area. The Third Floor walled rooftop (perfect for sunbathing) has spectacular 360-degree views of Shela, the Lamu channel and neighbouring Manda Island.

While Forodhani is a wonderful place in which socialise and entertain, with generous living and dining areas, gardens and terraces, there are also numerous private places in which to disappear and relax. And, while it sits in one of the most prominent positions in Shela, the house has few close neighbours and is serene and undisturbed.

“Yet another stay at Fabulous Forodhani – my third to date – we just can’t stay away from this wonderful house! Festus and co looked after us so well again- we leave Lamu relaxed and ready to face the world. See you again as soon as we can”

Susan, London

Some of the many delights of staying at Forodhani are the wonderful marine views from every floor. It is hard to tire of the ever-changing seascape and the sight of fishing boats and dhows slipping past along the channel – often just a few metres from the house.

Dhow-sailing, water sports, sea-fishing and beachcombing are all available from your doorstep, and the house staff will be happy to arrange a variety of other excursions and activities – from yoga and massage to explorations of the rich culture and history of the islands.


  • Sleeps 10+ guests in 5 ensuite double bedrooms
  • 9 metre (30ft) elevated freshwater Swimming Pool
  • Direct access to Shela’s beach, waterfront and harbour
  • Five friendly full-time staff – including gourmet chef
  • Standard rental rate – Ksh 50,000 per night

Detailed Information

Accommodation and Facilities

  • Five full-time staff and on-site manager
  • Accommodation available for nannies or other staff nearby (at small extra cost)
  • Pets Welcome


  • Kitchen, Dining Room
  • Living Room, Covered Terraces
  • Front and Rear Staircases
  • 5 bedrooms – 3 double, 2 triple, all ensuite
  • Small lounge with single bed
  • Walled rooftop
  • Wi-fi internet
  • Plasma Screen TV
  • DVD Player with selection of classic films
  • Video Projector
  • Hi Fi System with iPod bases
  • Plentiful Solar Hot Water


  • Freshwater Pool – 9m long x 2.65m wide x 2m deep
  • Upper and Lower Garden Areas
  • Seafront Terrace, Steps to Seafront


Shela Village

Lamu - Shela Village from the Sky

Shela Village from the Sky

Sleepy yet sophisticated, Shela village is probably the most relaxing and seductive place you will every visit. Sitting a mile or two south of Lamu Town, where the Lamu channel meets the Indian Ocean, Shela has a languid, undisturbed atmosphere all its own. In the past few years many of the village’s historic Swahili houses have been beautifully renovated, and a number of ravishing holiday homes and guest houses built along the pretty waterfront and jumble of narrow sandy streets.

Beyond the charming Peponi Hotel, centre of the Shela social scene, the island’s main beach stretches almost as far as the eye can see – eight miles of empty white sand facing the Indian Ocean and backed by magnificent dunes.

Peponi Hotel

Peponi Hotel

Most visitors to Shela are lulled into a sense of blissful indolence, content to stroll along the beach, browse in one of the village’s boutiques, enjoy a cocktail or two at Peponi’s wonderful bar, or simply to subside on a shady rooftop with a book and enjoy the rhythms of the day. Yoga and massage are available, and for the more energetic there is dhow-sailing, speedboating, sea fishing, scuba-diving, water-skiing, sea-kayaking, windsurfing and other water sports.

Shela Beach

Shela Beach


La Marelle House

Lamu Town Seafront

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 is renowned for the warmth of its welcome to visitors, its remoteness and tranquility, its rich and colourful history and its distinctive Swahili culture – a unique amalgam of African, Arabian, Indian and European influences.

Enchanting Lamu Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the oldest living town south of the Sahara and the best-preserved coastal settlement in East Africa. Historic and cultural attractions include Lamu Fort, Lamu Museum and the Takwa Ruins on next door Manda Island. Lamu has always attracted and inspired the spiritual, the creative and the artistic – and the island hosts regular festivals and celebrations – from the religious and cultural to the artistic and yogic.

La Marelle House

Lamu Town Square

One of the island’s many glories is its traditional Swahili Architecture – Lamu’s unique stone townhouses, many dating back to the early 18th Century, are celebrated for their intricately carved wooden front doors, imposing entrance porches and shady courtyards, the grandeur and elegance of their interiors and their beautiful decorative stucco plasterwork.

La Marelle House

Lamu – Zidaka Niches

Lamu is not a place that believes much in progress – or indeed in haste of any kind – and life is lived at a leisurely pace. Less than 10 miles long, the island has no paved roads or cars (except the District Commissioner’s Land Rover and the occasional tractor) and nearly all transport is by foot or donkey, motorboat or sailing dhow. In a world that is increasingly homogenized and harried, Lamu makes a wonderfully authentic and unhurried retreat.

La Marelle House

Lamu Town – Shopping Street

One of the many pleasures of spending time in Lamu is exploring the byways of the historic Old Town, wandering the narrow streets and alleyways and meeting the always friendly and welcoming, often highly eccentric, inhabitants.  There is good shopping for colourful kikoys and kangas, local crafts, traditional carved furniture and more along the town’s main street, one ‘block’ back from the seafront.  Taking a dhow safari or an evening’s sunset cruise is another ‘must’ for any visit to Lamu, and another charming and leisurely way to experience the islands.

La Marelle House

Lamu – Dhow Races

Lamu is also renowned for its beautiful empty beaches, and the island’s main ocean-facing beach stretches for 8 spectacular miles from Shela village to Kizingoni on the southern-most tip of the island – it is a few minutes by boat or a 40-minute walk along the seafront from Lamu Town.  Also recommended is the sheltered sandy beach across on neighbouring Manda Island, easily accessed by dhow or motorboat.

Lamu Beach

Lamu Beach

How to get there

Lamu is best accessed by air and there are usually several scheduled flights per day to and from Nairobi. Some flights also arrive or depart via Malindi. Airlines serving Lamu include –

Flights land at the airport on next door Manda Island. Manda is less than a mile away from Lamu and the boat trip across to Lamu Town or Shela Village takes only a few minutes. Forodhani Rentals include return airport transfers.

Visitor’s Book

“Everything about this place was perfect – the service, the house, the cleanliness, the hospitality. We were treated like royalty in this paradise – I would strongly recommend it.”

PF, Nairobi, May 2015

“Lamu Island is like nowhere else on earth and Forodhani is without doubt one of the most amazing houses there. Metres from the ocean, with amazing sea views in two directions, you are right above the pier in Shela. 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. The house is also one of the few in Shela which boasts a pool.”

Jerome, Nairobi, January 2015

“We have visited Lamu many times and for the last 6 years we have always stayed at Forodhani House. The grand, palatial structure will have you in awe as you arrive at Shela beach by boat – but it is the warmth and friendliness inside that will impress you the most – not to mention the spacious architectural design that is open and breezy. There is a quiet corner for everyone to relax and escape into a book with the gentle buzz of Lamu life serenading your privacy. The staff are very friendly and eager to ensure your every need is met. Your visit will be sure to leave you with a sense of beautiful serenity, enriched from your new friendships and relieved that you found a place like Forodhani House and knowing you will return”.

K.C., Mombasa, October 2014

“I cannot recommend Forodhani House enough. I wish it could remain my private secret hideaway, but this would be incredibly selfish and so I can but only recommend and urge my fellow travelers and those looking for somewhere idyllic to stay in Lamu to visit Forodhani House and experience sublime bliss. The owner, the location, the house and its magnificent views, the amazing team of staff on the ground – Babu who meets you at the airport, the water sports team, the dhow captain – as well as those who work inside the house – are utterly faultless.  Amos is by far one of the best chefs I have ever come across and possibly the man with the nicest, largest smile in Africa!  Do go and see for yourselves!”

S.A., Nairobi, July 2015


Standard rental rate – Ksh 50,000 per night

Please contact us for Christmas and New Year rates, low season rates and seasonal discounts