After thirty years running his own Antique Gallery in Nairobi Gillies with Fiammetta bought an old ruin on the island of Lamu in 1998. In those days Lamu seemed a small forgotten island in the top right hand corner of the map of  Kenya. Now a new tarmac road has replaced the bumpy bush track which runs up the coast from Malindi straight to the ferry terminal. The restoration of the ruin was done with local craftsmen using traditional building skills. The coral blocks were quarried by hand on Manda island and clean sand from a dry river bed brought by dhow across from the mainland.  All materials were unloaded on the beach and brought up by donkey and carried into the building by hand; no machines were used or thought necessary or even available and the buildings grew almost organically like seeds sprouting in the right place.


The Tower is named after Fatuma Ali Abu Bakar a Swahili noblewoman who lived in this sanctuary attended by five female attendants until the end of the 19th century. After her death the house fell into ruins and the magnificent tamarind tree growing in the courtyard established itself in the ruins of the fallen masonry.


Fatuma's Tower is very fortunate to have 15 long serving staff who are really delighted to make you feel comfortabe and at home; our guest book tells you how much their care and attention has been appreciated over the years. During your stay if you need anything or any advice it is they who will book all your boat or town trips and prevent you from falling into unreliable hands!


At Fatuma's Tower you are invited into the family compound of Gillies and Fiammetta Turle who hope you will experience peace and comfort in this tranquil space; they and our staff want you to feel a welcome guest.


In your room is the beautifully illustrated book Hogs Tales written by Fiammetta. It is all about her time in our tented camp in a forest on the outskirts of Nairobi; copies are available at Ksh 2,000. Gillies also had a book published in 1992 about his years moving amongst the Maasai shamans. Entitled The Art of the Maasai it is out of print but occasionally available through Amazon.



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