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10 Notable Islands in Kenya

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Kenya is blessed with an abundance of islands, each with its unique personality and allure. If you’re looking for an unforgettable island escape, look no further. In this post, we’ll introduce you to 10 of our favorite islands in Kenya. From the secluded beaches of Lamu to the uninhabited wildlife paradise of Ndere, there’s an island that catches your eye on the list below. Read on for details about notable islands in Kenya. 

1. Mombasa Island

Mombasa island, one of the most famous islands in Kenya
Fort Jesus, one major attraction on Mombasa Island

For an incredible island getaway, look no further than Mombasa. The port city on the coast of Kenya is a major tourist destination in Kenya. It boasts sandy beaches, tasty Swahili dishes, coral reefs, historic sites, and welcoming people.

Some points of interest on the island include Fort Jesus, Mama Ngina Waterfront, Old Town, and Mombasa Tusks.  

2. Manda Island

Kenyan islands. A fishing boat passing by Ras Kitau on Manda Island.
A fishing boat passing by Ras Kitau on Manda Island

Manda Island is one of the lesser-known gems on the Kenyan coastline. With its lulling ocean breeze, mangrove swamps, fine-sand beaches, and crystal-clear waters, it’s easy to see why the island is a favorite destination for adventurous locals and tourists alike.

What makes Manda Island unique is its history. The island is home to the Takwa Ruins, which are among the oldest ruins in Kenya. Dating back to the 15th century, these ruins offer a fascinating glimpse into the island’s past.

3. Lamu Island

Seafront builds and boats on Lamu Island. This island in Kenya dates back to the 12th century.
Seafront builds and boats on Lamu Island

Visit Lamu Island to experience great Swahili history and culture. Dating back to the 12th Century, this Unesco World Heritage Site is believed to be the cradle of urbanization in East Africa. 

This island lets you travel back in time. No cars operate on the island. Narrow alleys, friendly people, tasty Swahili dishes, and thrilling festivals make the destination more charming. Lamu Yoga Festival and Lamu Cultural Festival are some events attracting thousands of tourists from Kenya and beyond.

4. Pate Island

An abandoned fort at Pate Island
Siyu Fort on Pate Island

Pate is set northeast of Lamu Island and is surrounded by mangrove forests. The fastest way to access the island is using a speed boat, which takes about 45 minutes. You’ll find Nabahani palaces, houses, and mosques dating back to the 16th Century around the destination. 

As tourists are rare on the island, the locals depend on dhow making for their livelihood.  

5. Chale Island

Chale Island. This is among the serene islands in Kenya.
A section of Chale Island in Kwale County. Image by Paolo Ferrante from Flickr.

Chale Island is a peaceful hidden gem on the northern edge of Msambweni Bay. Its unspoiled natural beauty makes the island special. Chale Island has been largely untouched by development, which means you can enjoy its natural wonders with little or no people around you.

The Sands At Chale Island, a 4-star hotel on the islets, is famous for hosting honeymooners, families, and solo travelers. If you’re looking for a quiet and relaxing island getaway, Chale is the place for you!

6. Wasini Island

Fishermen off the coast of Wasini Island. Best islands in Kenya.
Fishermen off the coast of Wasini Island

Are you after a place that keeps your mind and heart at peace? Visit Wasini Island, and you won’t regret it. You’re free to engage in snorkeling, dolphin watching, and sunbathing while touring the island.

After all the activities, settle down for fresh seafood. Moreover, the locals are welcoming, making it the perfect place to relax and unwind.

7. Mfangano Island

Mfangano Island on Lake Victoria. Leading islands in Kenya.
Fishermen preparing to go fishing at Mfangano Island

Mfangano Island on Lake Victoria attracts nature lovers and curious travelers. So why should you visit Mfangano Island? First, there’s not a lot of activity on the island, so it’s a great place to relax. It boasts a pristine shoreline, lush vegetation, and a variety of wildlife, including hippos, monkeys, and flamingos.

The island has vantage points where you can take in views of Lake Victoria, too. Don’t leave the island without sampling fresh fish from the lake.

8. Migingo Island

Migingo Island, a 0.49-acre island in Kenya. Famous islands in Kenya.
Migingo Island. Image from Twitter.

This island measures about 2,000 sq m (21,530 sq ft) and is densely populated. Both Uganda and Kenya claim ownership of the island. With its location in Lake Victoria, the island boasts an abundance of fish, especially Nile perch.

It’s largely inhabited by fishermen who sometimes frequent local cafes and bars for refreshments.

9. Takawiri Island

A sandy beach on the shores of Takawiri Island. Notable islands in Kenya.
A sandy beach on the shores of Takawiri Island

Out of all of the beautiful islands in Kenya, Takawiri Island is one of the most special. The island has a coastal feel, although it’s perched in the western part of the country. Gear up to sample fresh fish from Lake Victoria, soak your feet in white sand, and laze beneath a coconut tree. 

That’s not all. Victoria Sands Lodge is waiting to offer relaxing accommodation on the island.

10. Ndere Island

Ndere Island viewpoint overlooking Lake Victoria. Discover some of the best Kenyan islands
Ndere Island viewpoint overlooking Lake Victoria

Last but not least, we come to Ndere Island. This beautiful island in Lake Victoria is famous for its incredible birdwatching opportunities. Over 100 species of birds have been recorded on the island, making it a paradise for bird enthusiasts. Besides birds, the island is home to impalas, hippos, and Nile crocodiles.

Lush green vegetation and picture-perfect sunsets also make this tourist destination more appealing. You can hike and camp here as well.

Discover some of the best Kenyan islands

Kenya is home to some of the most beautiful islands on the planet, and each one has its unique charm and attractions.

If you’re after a tropical getaway that’s different from the typical beach vacation, consider visiting the islands on our list. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your Kenyan island adventure today!

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