Manda Island is an island in Kenya’s beautiful Lamu Archipelago, lying across the channel from Lamu Island, opposite Lamu town and Shela Village.
Manda Island is well known for its two ruined ports of Takwa and Manda town, both of whose original inhabitants probably abandoned the towns for lack of water. Since the Kenyan Department of Agriculture initiated the construction of jabias in the 1960s, families moved onto the island again and farmed cassava, cotton, maize and simsim.
The Manda town ruins lie to the northwest of the island. The town began in the 9th and 10th centuries due to trade with the Persian gulf, which was probabaly conducted in ivory and mangrove poles. Excavations of the town revealed its historical prosperity, finding Chinese porcelain, Islamic pottery and glass. The population of Manda is estimated to have been 3,500 at its peak.
Takwa, which lies to the south of Manda town, is easily accessible from Lamu town. It was never as large as Manda town, having been founded around 1500 and abandoned around 1700. The well-preserved remains of the Mosque at Takwa indicate that the place may have been a site of religious importance.