History of Manda Island


History of Manda Island  : Manda Island is one of the beautiful destinations at the coast of Kenya found in Lamu Town (next to no water), the island was recently uninhabited but now it host several new luxury homes and a couple of boutique resorts. The island has allure of the pristine beaches making it a perfect destination for beach holidays, also the island hosts the location of the old ruined town of Takwa which is a favorite destination of the dhow-trip operators.

Manda Island is a significant archeological for the ruins of Takwa and Manda, the island is also the location of the fabulous Manda Bay Lodge situated on the north side of the island.


Manda Island is an island of the Lamu Archipelago in Kenya famously known for the prosperous 9th century ports of Takwa and Manda Town, the town owes its origin to trade with the Persian Gulf during the 9th and 10th centuries with the chief trading commodity being probably elephant ivory. Mbutangrove poles were probably also important during the trade.

The Manda Town ruins on the Northwest Coast of Manda Island were first explored by the archaeologist Neville Chittick in 1965, Manda Island is now linked by ferry to Lamu and is a home to Manda Airport. Both Manda Town and Takwa were abandoned in the 19th century due to lake of water, the Manda Toto Island lies to the west of Manda Island which is separated from the mainland by the Mkanda Channel.

History of Manda Island
Manda Island

The early inhabitants of Manda Island used to construct buildings with burnt square brick and stone and set with a lime motor, these building techniques are only found on islands and coastal areas of Kenya. The brick and motar technique of construction is unique to the islands and coastal areas of Kenya whereas the bricks averaging about 18 cm are unique for East Africa for this period of time and are likely to have been brought to the island from sohar, the modern-day Oman. These bricks arrived to Manda Island probably as ballast in sailing ships entering the port, from the mid-9th century to the early 11th century, buildings were constructed from coral known as coral rag cut from dead coral reefs.


Sunset Gaze

The Manda Island which is mostly inhabited provides the best spots for watching the wonderful African sun sets as it sets behind the Land Island, the sun set is enjoyed across the channel from Shela.

From the village and the Fort of Shela along with the palm-fringed, vast, empty and unspoilt beaches of the Ras Kitau, the gem of the Lamu area. Having a colorful sundowner experience in a lovely setting at The Majlis is a memorable retreat to lookout for when you visit Manda Island.

Visit the Ruined City of Takwa

The City of Takwa was once held as one of the Kenya Coast’s largest settlements, the Manda Island is once-thriving community abandoned the town in the 17th century. Up to today, the cause is not yet clear but the reason must have been probably was the depletion of fresh water on the Island. Today the coral stone ruins are one of the most popular destinations to visit during a one day trip from Lamu or Shela.

The Beaches & Water-sports

The Manda Island has endless beaches offering the visitors of the island a unique beach experience and entertaining water spots such as sailing, wind surfing and wakeboarding. The region around the Manda Island is known for its excellent sport fishing for fish species such as Marlin and Sailfish.

Shore fishing on the Manda Island is suitable for avid anglers, on these activities you will be able to discover the interesting historic town of Lamu and the Ruins if the Manda Settlement which are surrounded by ancient Baobab trees. If you are a tourists who feels like beach and water sports are too, then you can just chill and soak up the sun during your Kenya beach holiday on Manda Island.

History of Manda Island
History of Manda Island

Wildlife Sightseeing 

Manda Island is full of wildlife and vegetation where game drives are conducted, during the game drives visitors get an opportunity to spot an astounding numbers of birds and animals including civets and mongoose. Birdlife to lookout for on Manda Island include Mouse-coloured Sunbird, Collared Sunbird, Black-crowned Tchagra, Water Thick-knee, African Bare-eyed Thrush, Spotted Morning-Thrush, Red-fronted Tinkerbird, African Fish Eagle, Brown Snake Eagle, Ayer ‘s Hawk Eagle, Crowned Eagle, Osprey, Ruddy Turnstone, Lesser Crested Tern, Greater Crested Tern, Caspian Tern, Common Tern, Lesser Noddy  among others


Manda Island is a all year round destination meaning it can be visited any time of the year, for travelers visiting the Island for a beach holiday – the best time to visit the island is during the dry and sunny day. The drier months at Manda Island are experienced from the end of June to December and January – February, this period is excellent to go to Manda after a Kenyan Safari in a number of Kenya national parks. During January to the end of the June of the rain continues into June.

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