Kenya is endowed with a beautiful collection of islands that are worth exploring. From beautiful coastal islands to exotic lake islands in the north and west, a trip to these heavenly slices will leave you satisfied and awed.
Lamu Island forms part of Lamu Archipelago. Its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site has made it a popular cultural and travel destination. A unique feature of Lamu is the use of donkeys to move around its narrow streets. The Lamu Museum is one great place to visit and learn about Lamu’s rich history that dates as far back as the 14th century. The best way to access these idyllic island is through the airstrip at Manda Island and then take a dhow to Lamu town. Local villages and beaches are accessed on foot. A dhow tour to other neighbouring islands is also ideal. The island is a great holiday destination with lots of private holiday homes and exclusive stays. Life in Lamu is quaint and slow paced, giving you the perfect relaxation.
What to do in Lamu:
Take a tour of old Lamu town on donkey or on foot
Dhow safaris to local villages and neighbouring islands of Manda, Pate, Kiwayu and Manda Toto that are part of the archipelago
Another way to immerse yourself in the rich heritage of this tropical island is at the annual Lamu Cultural Festival every November. The festival encapsulates a number of events such as donkey racing and dhow sailing competitions, swimming, swahili poetry, Bao competition, henna painting among others. The Lamu Yoga Festival is another great event to participate in while celebrating the peaceful vibes Lamu Island offers
A secluded tranquil island tucked in the south of Kenya’s coast, Funzi is made up of mangrove forests and waterways. The island is a breeding ground for sea turtles and is habitat to five native sea turtle species. Funzi Island is a unique getaway destination because of its beautiful sandbanks that are ideal for sunbathing and picnics.
Photo by Josh Kisamwa
The island is a spectacle for viewing humpback whales from June through December. The nearby Ramisi River is infested with crocodiles for exploration. A visit to the local villages will enlighten you more about their culture and particularly that of the Shirazi tribe.
Photo by Josh Kisamwa
This is another charming island in Kenya’s south coast. It’s considered on every diver’s and snorkeler’s wish-list. Between November and February you get the opportunity to spot whale Sharks swimming in the near distance. The island is also popular with deep sea fishing, kayaking and catamaran sailing. While at Chale Island, discover the protected forests (Kaya), hidden inland lakes, endangered wildlife such as the bush baby as well as the mangrove forests. The island is accessed by a tractor during low-tide and a boat during high-tide. Staying at The Sands at Chale Island (the island’s only resort) will make your stay at this island memorable.
Photo by Brian Siambi
This is a sparsely populated coral island near Shimoni area. It is also very close to Pemba island in Tanzania. The island is home to a beautiful picturesque coral garden with a wooden boardwalk. It is the perfect backpacker’s destination due to the budget friendly places to stay as well as the rustic feel.
Photo by Ceri Kanja
The island , though without electricity, conventional luxury and fresh water is peaceful and home to Swahili delicacies. Boat tours to the island are organized when guests are also visiting the neighboring Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park. The marine park offers dolphin spotting, snorkeling, scuba diving and dhow sailing to neighbouring islands.
The island is located on the eastern shores of Lake Victoria, the world’s second largest freshwater lake. Its rural setting is great for bird watching and riding bicycles through the rough terrain. The island gives one stunning views of the lake as well as magical sunsets. While at the island, a visit to Ruma National Park and a paleontology tour are ideal. A boat and ferry ride while hopping around surrounding areas like Mbita, Takawiri, Mfangano and Ndere will immerse you into the spectacular beauty of Lake Victoria and its islands. Accommodation in the island is available at Rusinga Island Lodge or at Lake Victoria Safari village in Mbita. The fastest way to access Rusinga is by taking a flight to Kisumu then later on connecting to the island via road then by boat or ferry.
You may want to also visit this iconic island during the annual Rusinga Cultural Festival in December.
The Central Island of Lake Turkana is one of the little unknown gems in the Northern frontier. The island is named as a UNESCO World Heritage site and is comprised of hills that conceal three active volcano crater lakes. The lakes belch sulphurous smoke and steam. The island is a great place to spend a day exploring. Overnight fly camps to the island are provided and one is able to hike the hills while also marveling at the breeding ground for the world’s largest population on the Nile crocodile. The Central Island National Park is located here. The island is accessed by boat from Lake Turkana shores or taking a charter flight to Sibiloi National Park then using a boat ride to the island.