Our Story

When Monika, a Dutch woman on her world travels in 1997, visited Lamu, she fell in love with the beauty of the island and with a beautiful man, named Banana (Mohamed Ali Mbarak). It was the beginning of a romantic and successful love story. Banana and Monika started, with the little money they had, a small bed and breakfast in their own house. Banana cooked delicious seafood, Monika was the host – and together they entertained many guests with stories about the Swahili culture, life on Lamu and the beauty of the island. After a few years, and two kids later, they were able to buy a great plot in a quiet corner of Shela, close to the waterfront. There was no doubt that Banana would build his own private guesthouse and that the name should be Banana House. The idea of building the wellness centre came from Monika after she felt the need to give something back to the island and its inhabitants, which has been so generous to her since she came to Lamu more than 10 years ago. Monika is very involved in a variety of projects, yoga, the art of living, caring for the village and the environment. She wants to offer Lamu a centre where people from all religions and cultural traditions who are curious, interested and open to experience the beauty of life, are able to learn, share and take responsability for our world and environment. Banana is a not only a real entertainer, always full of stories, but also a great fisherman who loves to take you out on his boat for big game fishing like Marlin, Tuna and Sail Fish.