There is a lot to love about Kenya, especially when it comes to travel and scenic locations, from the beaches to game drives, chasing nature trails, or hiking and camping at Mt. Kenya. There’s something for everyone to enjoy.
However, did you know that Kenya also has several islands that you can visit and experience something new? Here are the top island destinations in Kenya that you should consider adding to your bucket list – and crossing them off. Soon.
Read more about Hidden Gems of Kenya
Lamu Island is one of the best-known island destinations in Kenya. It is located on the Indian Ocean near Mombasa and boasts secluded beaches and incredible views.
Some of the activities allowed here include diving, snorkeling, and sailing to catch the perfect sunrise or sunset in a traditional dhow.
You can also explore Lamu old town, which has a heavy Swahili culture influence, from the architecture, jewelry, clothing, and even food. The most common mode of transport here is riding a donkey or walking, which is an excellent way to embrace and experience its culture.
Lamu Island is also recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site, making it another great reason to put it on your travel bucket list for the history lessons.
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Rusinga Island is one of many islands on Lake Victoria. It is well known for its beauty and cultural richness. Rusinga Island is also a favorite for bird watchers, where you can find different and rare species of birds.
It is also the home of the renowned Rusinga Cultural Festival, an annual two-day festival that celebrates the culture and way of life of Kenya’s Abasuba community.
Nested on the Indian Ocean in Kwale County is Funzi Island, which consists of four small Islands covered in mangroves. Of the four, Funzi Island is the main one. It is actually the only island here with permanent inhabitants, with one village that’s home to the Shirazi Tribe.
Although the island is mostly covered by mangrove forest, there are many creeks and inlets for fishing and surfing. While here, be sure to cross swimming on the natural sandbank.
This island is also connected to the tiny remote island of Funzi Keys by wooden paths. You can also enjoy superb beaches and great views from there.
While not as big or as well-known as some other island destinations in Kenya, Chale Island is perfect for anyone looking to get away from the everyday mundane. It is on the South Coast, close to Diani Beach.
This tiny island is mostly covered by forest, but you can still enjoy some time on the beach in some spots. It is also quite beautiful, with white sandy beaches and coral reefs all around.
There are a few lodges available here for your stay, and you’ll enjoy the exclusivity found on the island.
Here, you can indulge in activities like glass-bottom boat rides, reef diving, snorkeling, fishing, and even kayaking.
Chale Island is sacred to the locals, and so you need to follow the rules and take care of the environment while you’re there.
This island is on the South Coast. It is famous for its underwater marine life such as sea turtles and dolphins. For lovers of snorkeling, Wasini Island is the place to be.
Catch a dhow ride, chase the sunset or sunset, or enjoy fresh seafood from the ocean at local restaurants.
South of the island is the Kisite Mpunguni Marine Park and Reserve, home to dolphins. If you need a reason to hang out with these beautiful creatures, we believe you just got one.
As the only island in Kenya with a game sanctuary, Crescent Island is a favorite for adventure lovers, birds, and animals. The island features a lot of biodiversities, thanks to the surrounding Lake Naivasha.
It is only accessible by boat, and the animals mostly stay on the island unless the water levels are low enough for them to cross over. The sanctuary is open daily, and you can go there to spend time with the animals, bird watching, hiking, and even have a picnic.
Please note that there is a small fee to experience all this based on whether you are a Kenyan citizen, resident, or non-resident. One can also book the island sanctuary for school trips.
Ol Kokwe Island
This is the largest island that overlooks Lake Baringo and is part of an extinct volcano region. What makes it one of the top island destinations in Kenya is the hot springs and great views surrounding the island.
You can also take guided boat drives as you go bird watching or enjoy all the wildlife around the lake.
Mfangano Island is located on Lake Victoria and is well-known for rock art believed to have been made thousands of years ago by the Twa community. The mountainous terrains also make it a favorite destination for hikers.
Other activities that you can engage in include bird watching, boat rides, and fishing. There is a variety of accommodations on the island. You can also stay at the Abasuba Community Peace Museum, which also offers a guided tour to learn more about the island’s rock paintings.
Although it is not as popular as other islands along the Kenyan coast, Manda island is an excellent escape from the hustle and bustle of life. It is known for its dunes and mangrove forests and the Takwa ruins, a reminder of a once-vibrant city.
Here you can take dhow and speedboat rides or go to nearby Shela and pay a visit to the green turtle conservation center. You can also take advantage of the hospitality at the many private villas found on this island.
With all the beauty that Kenya offers, finding the right place to visit or go on vacation is easy. These top island destinations in Kenya will ensure that you have a once-in-a-lifetime experience, no matter which one you choose.
Looking for more island destination options? Check out our post on Top Island Nations to Visit In East Africa