View of the 18th Century courtyard with dining terrace aboveLooking up to the Takwa bedroom terrace.
Kisimani House-Shela-Island of Lamu
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Entire home/apt

10 Guests

4 Bedrooms

10 Beds

Entire home/apt

10 Guests

4 Bedrooms

10 Beds

Per Night
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About this listing

Kisimani is a truly fascinating house in its own right. Lovers of space and architecture will be in heaven. Combine this with an island setting where there are no cars....... lovers of serenity will feel in heaven. Then add nine kilometres of beach!

The space
The space
Bathrooms: 4
Bedrooms: 4
Beds: 10
Room type: Entire home/apt


Extra people: No Charge
Weekly Discount: 31%
Cancellation: Flexible


The space

LAMU ISLAND is one of a string of remote islands on the western fringe of the Indian Ocean. It has a colorful history going back to the days of the Arab Spice and Slave trades. and the traditions of the coastal Swahili cultures who have existed here for centuries.

Life here moves at walking pace or donkey ride, up to the speed of a lateen sail, for there are no vehicles on the Island.

Kisimani House is located on the seaward fringe of Shela village & a 5 min walk to the beach. Kisimani in Swahili means 'the place of the well' and to this day relies on it's own source of artesian water.

Originally built in the days of the Caliphate,18thC Kisimani house is the only surviving example of ancient Swahili architecture in Shela. Complete with massive stone walls, carved archways and central courtyards that open up to the big blue sky.

The ancients knew what they were doing of course, creating an inner source of light , shade, air and privacy throughout the interior. This sense of space continues on up throughout all four levels of the house with each level comprising a self contained double en-suite and private terrace area.

An open stairway allows free movement between all floors without trespass. The house is therefore perfect fox a family (or two) with children, or up to four couples or (singles) with space for toddlers if needed.

On the first floor there is a communal terrace with cushioned seating area to lounge in under the shade of pink bougainvillea
in the centre of it all stands the dining table with the kitchen discretely adjacent.

At the very roof of the house there is a moon-deck terrace. With enormous views over Shela village, out towards Manda island and the shining sea beyond., a perfect place for a sunrise smoothie or a sunset cocktail.

RATES for the whole house @ US$300 per day.
Rooms may also be rented individually on a special Bed & Breakfast offer from US$50 per person per day.
the kitchen discretely adjacent.

Shela Village has a number of small Restaurants and Boutique shops as well as the famous Peponi Hotel. A wonderful base for a range of activities :-
Kite surfing,
Fishing, deep sea and creek
Water skiing or doughnutting in the creek
Donkey riding
Swimming, snorkeling, diving and sunbathing
Swimming with Dolphins
Dhow trips to other islands, historical ruins and sunset cruises.
Massages and Henna decoration ...

Guest access

Internet available in Shela village, many interesting shops, Peponi Hotel, restaurants, yoga classes, beauty treatments and massage all within walking distance from the house.

Interaction with guests

We live in Karen, Nairobi most of the year. We do visit Lamu, Shela and we could be staying in one of the rooms at Kisimani House when you are there. We also have Fred who runs the house for us and is delighted to help with any questions you might have.

The neighborhood

Shela is a small Swahili fishing village located right at the start of the islands long (12km) (beautiful)or(dune-fringed) beach.
It is very peaceful.

Getting around

There are no cars on the island sailing dhows tinga tinga (diesel engine)& speed boats. Otherwise donkeys and walking.

House Rules
House Rules

Generally, the entire house is exclusively booked for US$300 per day by a family or group of friends. There is a minimum stay of two days while there is no maximum. When the house is not occupied, individual rooms may be rented along with the use of common terraces. This is more economical if you do not need all the rooms, and don't mind sharing the kitchen and dining area with other guests. please check our individual room listing if you are interested in renting a room or two. There are several good places nearby for lunches and dinner.

Lamu is a conservative society. It is respectful to cover ones body while walking around any public area.

Safety features
Safety features
Fire extinguisher

2 nights minimum stay

Hosted by Family De Boer

Nairobi, Kenya · Member since May 2013
Family De Boer

The de Boers are a family of four. We live in the leafy suburbs of Nairobi. Husband Rob is the builder in the family, mama Fi(ona) has green fingers, daughter Jess is a qualified eco-warrior & son Alan works as an Aquaculturalist. As a family one of our favorite things is to be on safari in Africa. Rob & the kids head off on their motor bikes whenever possible. Jess & Al mountain bike, kite surf and more. We play tennis & walk lots, We like to be fit !

We bought the Barn in 1979 and slowly converted it to its present state. We believe we are very lucky to have this unique location & we hope that anyone staying there will enjoy this lovely space with its fine views of rolling unspoiled countryside that remain to this day.....happily, remarkably, still unchanged !

We then left France for a while. Later we acquired another ruin, this time on the Island of Lamu (off the Kenya coast.) The remains of an 18thC Swahili house, It is now an extraordinary house, beyond the scope of this remit (but if you want to rent something truly exotic....... contact herewith).

The Barn is now long since finished and we go there when we can and rent it when we can't. We love it there and it's part of the family. You will too, Welcome.

Response rate: 100%
(last 10 contacts)
Response time: within a day

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