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is a significant landmass in an archipelago which stretches along the last 100km of the Kenyan Coast
, up to the border with Somalia.
It is separated from the better known Lamu Island
by a narrow channel which is easily crossed in a couple of minutes by dhow or motorboat.
Unlike its neighbour, Manda does not have a large resident population, being largely made up of sand dunes and mangrove swamps, with little land suitable for agriculture and virtually no fresh groundwater. The ruined Swahili city of Takwa lies on the island and is of modest interest.
We very much like this northern part of the coast and often recommend it to travellers who want to avoid the more conventional beach areas to the south. These days there are some interesting accommodation options on Manda Island, which make for nice quiet bases from which to explore the area.Manda Bay Lodge
... is a long-established and relatively upmarket option remotely situated on the northern side of the island and with sixteen rooms.The Majlis
... is a rather chic and upmarket resort on the beach directly across from Lamu Island, with interesting Swahili inspired architecture and a total of 25 guest rooms.
The majority of visitors to Manda stay in one location for 4 to 7 nights, flying in from Nairobi, landing at the main airstrip for the area, which is on the island itself.
Prime coastal areas such as this are usually visited in combination with a selection of the best safari areas in the country, including Masai Mara
, Laikipia North
and Chyulu Hills