Forodhani House

  • Location: Beach / Coast
    Beach: In walking distance
    Lamu Town: In walking distance
    Tana River Delta: 70km (1h 40 mins by boat/car)
    Amu Ranch: 15 mins by speed boat
  • Manda Airport (LAU): 5km (15 mins by car/boat)
    Nairobi - Jomo Kenyatta Airport (NBO): 710km (11h 30 mins by car)
    Airport transfer included
    Car recommended
    Free parking

Lamu has so much to offer culturally, historically and architecturally, making it a UNESCO site.
You'll find your personal paradise here, with breathtaking sea views and pristine sand beaches.
Forodhani's staff will pamper you with delicious meals, massages, treatments, and fun excursions.
You should take a traditional cruise on a dhow boat and explore the nearby islands during sunset.

Time has stopped on the Lamu archipelago, take advantage of such relaxing and carefree tranquility.

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A free welcome drink and a free dhow sunset sailing cruise

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An introduction to Forodhani House

How would you describe Forodhani House in a nutshell?

Forodhani House on Lamu Island in Kenya is a beach house backed by the village, facing the beach and jetty at the very spot where decades ago stood a watch-post that controlled the ships and passengers entering and exiting the Lamu Archipelago. Its location is truly stunning! The house commands superb views of the arm of the Indian Ocean that separates the islands of Lamu and Manda. It towers over the dhows and their crews sliding out to the ocean or returning to the quiet waters after a night of fishing in the deep ocean. You have 270 degrees of breathtaking but peaceful views of the to and fro of boats entering and leaving the archipelago!

Your beach house is located on Lamu Island, in the Indian Ocean. What was your inspiration to open a vacation home there?

I have been dreaming about Africa from an early age. I get to travel or live in several countries in East and West Africa — Mali, Central African Republic, Chad, Botswana, Algeria, Senegal, Tanzania and Kenya, of course — and found a place to renovate or build and be my ‘nyumba tamu nyumba’, home sweet home.

It’s the Swahili culture and its rich cultural mix which have led us to Lamu. It was love at first sight — we fell for the Lamu Archipelago and its communities instantly! It was about three years ago when together with the inhabitants of Shella Village we decided to build our vacation house there.

What would you describe to be the spirit of your beach house and your philosophy?

We have done our best to let our vacation guests relax and be lulled by the lapping waves of the ocean. The house is white, with round or Arabic arches which frame the sea views and the sky. I always find it magic! Palm trees, ylang-ylang trees and bougainvilleas add some wonderful colours and scents.

And because of our spectacular location, there is always a show: you suddenly see a bunch of sardines jumping, trying to escape barracudas, or dolphins swimming up the channel, a friends’ dhow sliding from one arch to the other, or a fishermen boat coming from the open sea with a load of tunas. It’s both relaxing and so interesting!

How would you describe the style of the villa interior?

We built our beach house in authentic Swahili style with the best craftsmen on the island, Ali Skanda, Mr. Mbwara and his niru artists’ team... We wanted it as a joyful celebration of their ancestral talent. The architecture features zidaka plasterwork and niches, carved and painted beams, daka porch, Arab arches and carpentry work at its finest. The quality finishes make the house one of the finest modern architectural achievement on Lamu Island.

Visiting the old city is an absolute must. What else would you recommend not to miss during your vacation?

Going to Old Town is an enjoyable walk along the beach — the area is perfectly safe to walk around day and night. During your stay, try to go to the market in the town centre at least once, and of course visit Swahili House, the Fort, the National Museum and the Donkey Sanctuary.

Lamu is classified by the UNESCO for its great cultural, historical and architectural interest. You will feel the 13 centuries of history, the complex mix of Arabic-African-Indian culture, which results in the rich Swahili culture and above all its welcoming atmosphere.

Shella is also a good spot for kite- or windsurfing. As the marine life is very rich here, snorkelling or diving on the coral reefs Manda Toto or Kinika is also great. And finally, I would also get a dhow for a wonderful sunset cruise around Manda or a day cruise around the whole archipelago. In August we also have the famous Dhow Race — it’s really beautiful.

Please tell us a bit about the activities you offer, like observing Hawksbill turtles who come to nest.

Quite often you can see turtle clutches and above all turtles babies just across the channel on Manda Island — it is really beautiful! Wildlife generally is amazing here. From September to April you can swim with dolphins and from July to December it is the best time to watch humpback and blue whales — awesome!

There is also great fishing, from small-scale fishing in the channel right in front of the house, to tuna, kingfish and the legendary swordfish, a bit further out in the ocean.

To you personally, what has been most rewarding about renting your vacation house to guests?

The friendly and close contacts we have with Lamu-Shella inhabitants and with our guests. We have had so many guests who came back to stay with us again. They, too, truly fell in love with the place and the people – that is really rewarding. We feel the same and often keep in touch to share news about the house, Shella and Lamu…

Forodhani House
Living area terrace
Living area terrace
Living area terrace
Living area terrace
Living area and pool
Pool terrace
Dining area
Dining area
Outside living area
Outside living area
Lamu Beach
Shella village streets
Dhow race
Dhow race

Forodhani House rooms & rates

We can accommodate ideally 10-11 people, could be up to 13 people exceptionally. The four double bedrooms have their own handcrafted double/twin beds, huge mosquito nets, separate en suite bathrooms, a shaded terrace, and all have a view over the sea. A 5th bedroom — overlooking the Indian Ocean too — has 3 single beds, a terrace and, of course, a bathroom as well. On the top terrace, the view is just staggering: the makuti rooftops of the village at the back and the whole archipelago in front.

On the ground floor, one big kitchen, a beautiful dining terrace, a large lounge alongside the pool, different areas to take it easy in, and the garden, all offer varied possibilities for dining and relaxing. You walk from room to room through arched galleries, watching the plasterwork, niches and friezes, which ornate the walls. Of course, we also have a pool, which stretches between the garden and the ocean.

  • Forodhani House for 10-13 people / 350 m²
    800 / night
    • 4 Double bedrooms
    • 1 Bunk room
    • 4 Bathrooms (ensuite)
    • 1 Bathroom
    • 3 Living rooms
    • 1 Dining room
    • 1 Kitchen
    • 2 Extra beds (on req.)
    • 2 Baby cots (on req.)
    • Terrace
    • Sea view
Included in the rates
Rates are for the entire house per night and include airport transfers from Manda airport, 6 people staff including a chef, concierge service, housekeeping, laundry, as well as Wi-Fi + a local guests relation manager on-site to organise any activity desired.
Optional extras
Services on request: massages, babysitting.
Children & Extra beds
Children are welcome, there are 2 baby cots and high chairs available. An extra person over 10/11 pax will be charged EUR 50 per person/night
Minimum stay
3 - 10 nights (check calendar for dates)
Check in time
after 15:00
Check out time
before 11:00

Facilities & services

  • Bar
  • Terrace
  • Children welcome
  • Maid service
  • Swimming pool
  • WiFi
  • Restaurant
  • Garden
  • Babysitting on request
  • Washing machine
  • Music system
  • Honesty bar/Minibar
  • Courtyard
  • Room service
  • Iron & Board
  • Movies/DVDs
  • Pets welcome
  • BBQ area
  • Gym
  • Safe box
  • Laundry service

We have 6 members of staff to pamper you, among them a good cook. It’s really the ideal place to stay with family or a group of friends and relax.

Things to do in Lamu

  • Art / Culture
  • Shopping / Markets
  • Night life
  • Cooking classes
  • Wildlife / Animals
  • Massages / Treatments
  • Yoga classes
  • Scuba diving
  • Sailing / Kayaking
  • Boat trips
  • Fishing

This place is far more than just a simple tropical beach resort. Time has stopped here: the old town of Lamu still appears to be from the 17th century. There are no cars... you will quickly adjust to the pace of the donkeys.

Enjoy the charm of getting lost in the maze of alleyways in the village, visit the fish market and stroll along the quay in the evening. Breathtaking sea views, unspoilt nature, welcoming locals and pristine white sand beaches: if you’ve been dreaming of a forgotten paradise... open your eyes, you're there! And you will never forget it!

Quite often you can see turtle clutches and above all turtles babies just across the channel on Manda Island — it is really beautiful! Wildlife generally is amazing here. From September to April you can swim with dolphins and from July to December it is the best time to watch humpback and blue whales — awesome!

There is also great fishing, from small-scale fishing in the channel right in front of the house, to tuna, kingfish and the legendary swordfish, a bit further out in the ocean.

Forodhani House reviews

5 of 5 stars
Verfied Welcome Beyond stay
Wonderful! Our stay was wonderful, we have had THE BEST holiday. Many thanks. We will be back soon.
Claire and Robert (UK)
stayed at Forodhani House in January 2012
5 of 5 stars
Verfied Welcome Beyond stay
Great location, excellent food and stunning views! We enjoyed our stay in Forodhani House so much – excellent food and service, stunning location! We spent 10 days and had a wonderful time relaxing, enjoying the stunning views and the delicious food prepared each day by the chef. The staff are sweet and efficient. We enjoyed Lamu Town, the beach and the dhow sunset cruise. We’ll come back and highly recommend Forodhani House!
Andre and Michele (France)
stayed at Forodhani House in October 2011

The location of Forodhani House

Lamu Island is just below the equator, about 470km southeast of Nairobi or 250km north of Mombassa. The coast facing the mainland to the north is covered with mangroves, while the 12km beach which extends from our house to the south-western tip of the island is uninhabited, and lined with coconut trees, bougainvillea, and dunes of pristine white sand.

The easiest and fastest way to get here is by air. Several airlines serve Manda airport, which is located on the island just opposite the house. From Nairobi the flight is only an hour and when you arrive, Nassir, our friend and captain of the Lady Gaga boat, will be there to meet you and take you within mins to the jetty at the feet of our beach house.

If you are coming by car, you can go as far as Mokowe, where we can arrange to pick you up from the pier.

When is the best time to visit Lamu?

The raining season is usually for a month or so in June, but otherwise, the temperature and weather is very constant throughout the year — around 25 to 30 degrees Celsius. You won’t suffer from heat during your vacation because the house is constantly cooled by a gentle sea breeze, which is so refreshing at these latitudes.