Destinations Eastern Africa

Top 5 Islands in Kenya You Should Visit

Chale Island
Written by Abraham Odhiambo

Kenya is a small paradise teeming with beautiful landscapes, rich culture and breathtaking sceneries, not forgetting some of the best islands. These idyllic islands provide a distinctive safari experience and are a perfect destination for anyone looking to create lifelong memories. Just imagine strolling along white sand beaches as turquoise water washes upon your feet.

Most of Kenya’s islands are nestled along the country‘s long Indian Ocean coastline. However, there are some located in its inland lakes. As you dream about your ultimate safari in Kenya, here are five of the best islands you should consider exploring before leaving the country.

1. Lamu Island

Lamu Island

Lamu Island. Photo/ Amboseli National Park.

Located 150 miles from Mombasa, Lamu is one of the most popular Kenyan islands. This is the place where natural beauty, diverse culture, breathtaking architecture and history come together to create an unforgettable experience to the visitors. From Kipungani Beach to Shela Beach, Lamu Island is known for its stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters.

Lamu, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, will amaze you to the core if you are visiting for the first time. The small town has amazing sceneries that you will view on your way to the nearby archaeological sites such as Manda, Pate, Kiwayu and Siyu.

2. Chale Island

Chale Island is, without a doubt, one of the best islands in Kenya. The small, secluded island is located 10 kilometres south of Diani beach and is surrounded by warm turquoise waters, lakes and mangrove forest. It is home to a diverse range of animal species, sulfur mud-springs, birds and butterflies.

The northern part of Chale Island is just a stone’s throw from the mainland and is occupied by the Sands at Chale Island. Meanwhile, the southern part of the island is an ancestral village site covered by indigenous forest.

Chale Island

Chale Island. Photo/

3. Wasini Island

Only about three miles long, the tiny island of Wasini is an ideal destination offering visitors a chance to experience the natural beauty of Kenya’s Coast. The island, which is populated by local fishermen, emits a laid back feel that makes you want to relax all day on its white sand beaches.

Visiting Wasini Island offers you an opportunity to enjoy snorkelling, canoeing, scuba diving, sunbathing and kayaking, among others. You can also spot dolphins and humpback whales in the immediate surrounding waters.

4. Manda Island 

If you want to fall off radar but still in Kenya, Manda Island is the place to go. Located on the Lamu archipelago, this island is known for its stunning beaches, lush tropical vegetation and crystal clear waters.

Manda Island

Manda Island. Photo/ Africa Odyssey.

If you are visiting the island for the first time, you can relax on one of the many white sandy beaches or explore the rocky cliffs and mangrove forest. From high-end resorts and private villas to low-budget resorts, Manda Island has variety of accommodations to offer travellers.

5. Mombasa Island 

Well, you can’t talk about the best islands in Kenya and fail to mention the famous Mombasa Island. Discovered in the 16th century and ruled by a series of kingdoms, Mombasa exhibits the culture of the Arabs, British as well as Portuguese.

Mombasa Island, which is East Africa’s largest port, is connected to the mainland by Nyali Bridge. Visiting the island guarantees a lifetime of memories since you will come across many beautiful sceneries. Fort Jesus, which is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kenya, is located in Mombasa Island.

Mombasa Island

Mombasa Island. Photo/ Tourism Update.

Which Is the Largest Island in Kenya?

Lamu Archipelago is made up of several large and small islands – the largest being; Lamu, Manda, Pate and Kiwayu Islands.

What Is Lamu Island Known For?

Lamu has hosted major Muslim religious festivals since the 19th century and has become a significant centre for the study of Islamic and Swahili cultures.

Are There Any Islands in Kenya?

While Kenya is famous as the birthplace of safari, this breathtaking country also boasts a smattering of pristine islands. Majority of Kenyan islands are scattered off Indian Ocean coastline. However, there are some islands found in its inland lakes such as Lake Victoria.

What Is an Example of an Island in Kenya?

  • Mombasa
  • Lamu
  • Manda
  • Pate
  • Kiwayu

About the author

Abraham Odhiambo

Abraham Odhiambo is a writer with interests in nature, travel, African safari and sports. I'm pursuing a bachelor's degree in Media and Communication at Egerton University.

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