Located in the Lamu archipelago, on its northern most peninsular, and set in a grove of mixed coastal trees, Manda Bay is an owner-managed luxury lodge whose reputation has grown exponentially in the last few years. Run by the Dyers and the Roberts – both third generation Kenyans, both highly experienced – it is beautifully cared for, and feedback from guests has been relentlessly excellent.
Built using local materials, Manda Bay is largely a wood and thatch build in the Swahili tradition, and its high roofs, open sides and low overhangs serve to provide guests with shade and – by funnelling air down and through the space – the best of the sea’s breeze.
Consisting of a bar, lounge, dining area, reading room and 16 cottages, Manda Bay is a beautiful resort, thoughtfully designed, and the style – matted floors, low seating, both formal and informal dining options, brightly printed throws – encourages in its guests a relaxed approach to the business of enjoying oneself on holiday.
Food and service
Renowned for its excellent food, Manda Bay creates delicious gourmet cuisine, using the freshest ingredients possible including a large variety of hand-selected seafood. Expect breakfasts of fresh fruit, cereals and a choice of cooked breakfasts, homemade buffet-style lunches and 3-course dinners on the beach under the stars.
The cottages are located so as to provide both privacy and a view of the sea. 11 front the beach, and the remaining 5 are set further back, slightly elevated, and among the trees. Each has a separate bathroom, a four poster double bed, a veranda and a small seating area.
The bathrooms have a shower, twin basins and a flush toilet. As with the main lodge, the decor is a mixture of Swahili artefacts, Kenyan style hangings and hand-woven rugs, while the furnishings are largely locally sourced, of which the ornate chairs and loungers are standouts. Mobile phone service and mobile internet service is available, though the signal is better in the bar and dining area than the bedrooms, while Wi-Fi is available upon request.
Activities at Manda Bay include fishing, water sports, wildlife drives and cultural heritage visits as well as visits to the resident buffalo herd and sun downer boat trips to see the Carmine bee eaters as they come in to roost on the mangroves.
Manda is a member of the Lamu Marine Conservation Trust: working with the local community and other co-owners of the Lamu district to preserve the Manda Toto snorkelling site in the vicinity of Pate Island, which is significant for its marine biodiversity and distinct coral reef ecosystem that hosts a variety of tropical fish species.
Manda supports The Northern Rangelands Trust, which is actively setting up conservancies and community projects within the Lamu Region. Since setting aside a conservation area behind the lodge ten years ago, a resident herd of buffalo have moved in.