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“Good place, nice owner” 4 of 5 stars
Review of JamboHouse

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JamboHouse
PO Box 131, Lamu Island 80500, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #5 of 28 Lamu Island B&B and Inns
The Hague, The Netherlands
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Good place, nice owner”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2013

The most expensive room (2400 Ksh) was quite nice, with a
small balcony and windows on three sides which gave it an
airy feeling. Smaller rooms looked to me a little bit dark and
stuffy.
The house itself, located in the maze of streets behind the fort,
boasts a nice terrace on the top floor. An excellent breakfast
is served here in the morning and tea and coffee are freely
available in the afternoon.
People who insist on hot water should avoid this place; but
rest assured: the cold water on this tropical island is quite
bearable.
Arnold, the nice German owner, and his excellent staff will do
their utmost to make your stay here an enjoyable and
memorable one.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Giriama, Owner at JamboHouse, responded to this review, April 29, 2013
Dear karvam, thank you for your review. We upgraded the room you were staying in just one year ago. It's bigger than the other rooms and has a private balcony. Most of the time of the year tap water is quite warm because we have the water tanks on top of the roof. Most of the guesthouses in Lamu don't have hot water. Just today I came back from a trip to Seychelles and I was happy to have warm water on Mahe Island (water was coming from the mountains) but In Lamu our fresh water comes from the sand dunes. Greetings from Lamu Island. All the best!! ARNOLD
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109 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
Date | Rating
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English first
Hawaii
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2013

Consider this 6 reviews. I just got back from a visit with my family and we occupied the upper floor of Jambo House for 4 nights.

I must say that Lamu is changing, but Jambo House is as awesome as ever. Arnold is the same, charming, helpful guide/host/friend as always. Breakfast is awesome (best eggs ever) and you can't beat the location or the price. Being a bit away from the main street is really nice. The smell is abated, it's less noisy in the mornings, and being farther away makes the whole experience feel a lot more authentic.

Arnold, thanks so much for another awesome stay. We hope to be back again really soon!

Room Tip: Matandoni is the best room, in my opinion
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Giriama, Owner at JamboHouse, responded to this review, February 21, 2013
Dear cajang, thank you very much for your review. We try to keep our good standards so that our guests can fully enjoy their stay with us. Lamu is changing but it's still a great place. We already had some guests who visited Lamu first time during the 70ies (of course not at JamboHouse; we are operating since end of October 2008) and when they came back to Lamu recently they said not much changed and it's still the same relaxed place. Myself I'm also enjoying to be in Lamu.
Thank you again for staying with us and we hope you could make it again to stay with us before you are going back home. All the best from JamboHouse Team.
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Witten
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2013

We stayed for 10 days at JamboHouse - after 2 days we wanted to extend our stay because Lamu is a great place and JamboHouse is very good guest house. There is everything you need: a clean bed- and bathroom, a nice roof terrace where you can meet other guests, good breakfast and very friendly staff. The price-performance ratio is very good. We were very content with our choice!
Laura and Johanna

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Giriama, Owner at JamboHouse, responded to this review, February 21, 2013
Dear Johanna, thank you for your review. Quite a lot of our guests extend their stay because they like Lamu (and JamboHouse) so much. We are looking forward to see you again in April. Best wishes from JamboHouse Team
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porto heli, greece
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2013

We had a fabulous stay on Lamu Island and a lot of the credit has to go to Arnold & his team at Jambo House. We only had a few days here but thanks to Arnolds (the owner) excellent map and local knowledge we felt we made the most of our days whilst still having time to relax. He made both restaurant and day trip reservations for us and offered us lots of tips on the best places to go for various things.
For the price of the accommodation we were very happy, though were woken very early in the morning by local 'traffic' as our room was just below a busy alley way. If we have the luck to go again we would try & book a room on the 1st floor to avoid this. The breakfasts were simple but filling tasty and healthy, perfect to set you up for the day. The cool box of soda & beer on the terrace in the evening was a great touch as well. We would definitely return! Thanks Arnold & your team!

Room Tip: Certainly I'd book a room on the 1st floor. However the noise we experienced in the grtound floo...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Giriama, Owner at JamboHouse, responded to this review, February 9, 2013
Dear poseidonsailors, thank you again for staying with us. Just last month I designed a new map with all the interesting places to visit/shop/eat in Lamu Town. Also, the people I'm working with (boat captains, tour guides,...) I know them since a long time and so I'm sure that our guests are enjoying the activities in Lamu. Some of the walking tours/excursions I did them by myself first and then I was talking to my guides to offer these tours also to our guests. Hope you are coming back to Lamu and JamboHouse. You also live in a beautiful place and I'm sure you are enjoying your job there.
All the best, greetings from JamboHouse-Team Lamu,
ARNOLD, Damaris and Adam
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Amsterdam
Top Contributor
76 reviews 76 reviews
70 hotel reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
96 helpful votes 96 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2013

I booked Jambo House for 8 nights in December and a very good rate was offered. My room was very nice. I had the best room in the house, with balcony. Really recommended this room. The bathroom is open, which was ok for me, since I was alone, but maybe less suitable for 2 friends sharing the room.
I found the location allright. It is a little at the end of town, but Lamu is so small, that it is only 5 minutes walk to the seafront, where all the activity is taken place.
The location is very quiet for African standards. There is some streetnoice in the early evening, but after the last call for praying, Lamu becomes very quiet.
Arnold is a great host and can help you with everything you want to do on Lamu and advise on how to get there. One small thing I didn't like so much and that is the use of plastic tables and chairs, in the room and on the (for the rest lovely) terrace.
I would love to go back to Lamu and probably for the good price-quality I would choose Jambo Guesthouse again. Keep it up Arnold!

Room Tip: The room with balcony is definite the best!
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Giriama, Owner at JamboHouse, responded to this review, February 9, 2013
Dear Malkia, thank you for your review. And it's also good to get feedback from a collegue. About chairs, today I talked to a carpenter. I will replace the chairs on the balcony from the room you were in. On the terrace we already have wooden sunbeds and a typical swahili bed to relax. We hope to see you again at JamboHouse, and myself, I try to visit Zanzibar, too. It's on my wish list.
All the best!!
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los angeles
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2013

I think if you are looking for a lower budget option, and location isn't an issue then Jambo may be for you. But I have to say it wasn't really for me. If you are looking for the beach experience then Jambo may not be for you.

We arrived at Lamu airport and were greeted by our Jambo contact and were taken in a taxi. We arrived on the side of that island that has no beach, but docks crowded with donkeys and people. After walking thru donkey poop filled streets and being told by many locals how "safe" we were, we were greeted by Arnold. Arnold is very welcoming, this is true, he in fact has no reflection on my review. The rooms were small and very minimal - no AC - keep in mind Lamu is very hot. The safety box is a tackle box. The view from the deck does not look like the pic posted. The furniture is old and worn the view is over run down homes. I felt as if Arnold was a bit crushed when we said we were checking out as he offered us a welcome drink, but staying here would have completely changed my Lamu experience, the shore near here was in shape for laying out, nor the water for swimming.

Again this place was not for me. I left and went to their other side of the Island Sheila beach and checked into another hotel that was a 5 minute walk to the beach, spacious clean rooms with safes for my personal belongings. The experience was night and day. There were less donkeys, less noise, less hustling, no one spoke of my safety and that side of the island was much, much cleaner. Jambo is very very bare bones, - if that works for you, then you are set.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Giriama, Owner at JamboHouse, responded to this review, February 9, 2013
Thank you for your review. Let me just clarify a few things: JamboHouse is located in Lamu Town - it's never being advertised that we are located right on Shela Beach. I remember, before you left you took some pictures from our rooftop terrace because you liked the view. Well...
Generally, 98 % of our guests are very happy with their stay at JamboHouse, we have a lot of repeat guests, quite a lot of guests extend their stay at JamboHouse.
About air conditioning, in this price range you don't find any hotel or guesthouse in Lamu with AC. As far as I know, in Lamu you find AC only at hotels which charge from around 6000 KES/night.
Yes, it's true, on the streets in Lamu Town you find donkey poo. Lamu is a living city with a unique culture. In Lamu there are only very very few cars, transporting goods is mostly done by donkeys or handcarts. True, Shela Village is more clean, but, as most of the houses belong to foreigners (with few locals living in Shela) you don't find the typical Swahili Culture there. Even some people say, Shela is like "little Europe", "sterile". It depends what you want. If you want beach location (although there are very few places right on the beach), then Shela is the better place. But if you want to experience the unique culture in Lamu, then Lamu Town is the place to be. What is also true, there should be more done in environment. From time to time there is a beach clean-up. What I personally do, I collect empty plastic bottles which leave our guests in the rooms and give it to people who have use for that (eg. ladies who are selling fresh milk on the streets).
I wish you all the best,
ARNOLD
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1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2013 via mobile

Can only recommend this hotel to anyone going to Lamu. Nice rooms, nice breakfast and great service. Simply excellent, especially if going to Lamu for the first time since the owner, Arnold, really gives you tips on things to do and places to see, and not to forget, the best resturants to eat.
Hotel management can set you up with all kinds of activities such as boat trips, guided tours or massages, among some things.
We stayed for 8 nights and enjoyed every minute of it!


/ william & camilla

Stayed January 2013
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Giriama, Owner at JamboHouse, responded to this review, January 27, 2013
Dear Camilla, Dear William, thank you for staying with us. We are happy you enjoyed you stay with us, you enjoyed Lamu and the different activities you booked with us. We hope to see you again in the future and wish you all the best.
ARNOLD
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Additional Information about JamboHouse

Address: PO Box 131, Lamu Island 80500, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Coast Province > Lamu Island
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 28 B&Bs / Inns in Lamu Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In JamboHouse we provide in our 5 friendly in Lamu Style furnished rooms an enjoyable stay at reasonable rates. All our rooms (with mosquito net & ceiling fan) have private bathrooms. JamboHouse is ideally located to explore the Old Town of Lamu. From there it’s just a three minute walk through narrow lanes to Town Square with Lamu Fort. When you book JamboHouse we wait for you at the airport or at the bus terminal. ... more   less 
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