Swahili House Museum
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Kenyatta Rd · interesting places nearby
Swahili House Museum information
If the Lamu Museum stokes your interest in Swahili culture, this beautifully restored traditional house tucked away off to the side of Yumbe House hotel will put you firmly back in the past.
Inside Swahili House Museum you'll find a recreation of a working Swahili home, with cookware, beds and other furniture. The attendant will give you a whistle-stop but informative tour in between small talk, including some fascinating descriptions of the regimented lives of Swahilis in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Traditional Swahili homes were built along rigid social lines, with separate quarters for men and women and audience halls that allowed men to receive guests without infringing on the privacy of their womenfolk. Among other unusual details here are the ceremonial death bed, where deceased family members lay in state before burial, and the echo chamber, designed so women could receive visitors without being seen when their menfolk were away. The museum is well signposted from Kenyatta Rd.