Takwa Ruins

Takwa Ruins, Manda Island

Takwa Ruins
4.5
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4.5
12 reviews
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Michael S
Coreglia Antelminelli, Italy11 contributions
Family
We went on a v hot day SMG got caught by the tide. Any boat will take you there, but haggle over the price. Fun going through mangrove canals and then a short walk to ruins.
Too hot to take most of it in, and what we saw had only vague explanations.
Worth going to the wild beach to the East of the ruins.
Because we were caught by low tide (the captain should have known better), we had to take motorcycle taxis back to Manda beach. It is possible to walk in about 2 hrs, but midday heat would make it a slog.
Adventure. Fun. Survived. Worth doing.
Written December 31, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Nory M
6 contributions
Solo
I visited Takwa Ruins on a very hot afternoon and had the place to myself. The ruins are of an old town that was on Manda Island. It was deserted due to a lack of fresh water and marauding Portugese. I was given a tour by Lali, a very good guide who showed me all the highlights and explained the layout of the mosques to me. It was an unforgettable experience, even getting there was an adventure and I recommend it.
Written December 10, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Expectmoretoday
Nairobi, Kenya102 contributions
Family
Takwa Ruins are well worth a visit. Any boatman can take you from Lamu Island. We combined ours with a trip to the Manda Island beach. the ruins provide an insight into the history of East Africa Coast and the Swahili culture, If in Lamu/Mandu, a must do visit.
Written August 19, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Zer0oo
Newcastle, Australia175 contributions
Friends
Takwa ruins itself was whatever left from a small Swahili settlement, which consisted of few ruins and well preserved small tomb. Ali, the man who looks after it, is a character of his own- having lived there for 20 years. When we found out that the island has no water supply, no many inhabitants and nothing else, really, he certainly may have some stories to tell.
We walked on a very hot day from the resorts on the island 5 km away, and it was an adventure!
There is a museum on the site, very small and had limited information.
Overall, it was good to see an original Swahili settlement since I admire Lamu and Swahili architecture and happen to be nearby.
Written December 11, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Peter Kimondo
Nairobi, Kenya52 contributions
Friends
It was a 45 minute boat ride from Lamu old town to Takwa Ruins on the southern corner of Manda Island, Lamu district in coastal Kenya. We walked across a sturdy raised walkway above the mangroves. This is followed by another section of a slightly higher bridge (made of slender sticks tied with rope) above a water logged area.

We then reached what looked like a village (settlement?). There are not many people here. Past the village is the entrance to the ruins. We paid the entrance fee at a sorry looking office (guess being remote warrants its sorry state!).

The one room “museum” has little to take up your time.

The guide explained about this once thriving Swahili town settlement. The protected Takwa Ruins today look weather beaten, aged and abandoned.

Salinity and tribal skirmishes between the Takwa and Pate people led to the decline of this settlement.

These ruins are a part of the Lamu Archipelago. This is a tranquil island and one of the four islands forming Lamu Archipelago. The other three islands are Lamu Island, Pate Island and Kiwayu Island.

It evokes memories of romantic getaways only seen in Hollywood movies that depict tropical beaches...The giant baobab trees (ever heard of mabuyu fruits?) do not allow bush and the grounds are bare.

The place reeks of ancient history.

There is evidence of Arabic occupation. The protection wall looks like it must have served to ward of enemy and marauder threats of the Pate tribes. There are even what we guess would have been sentry holes (sighting holes? scaffolding support for a wooden parapet walk?) along the three metre wall.

Rock art appears haphazardly on this wall. There’s graffiti (daggers, dhows and sail ships) on the northern wall.

Takwa Ruins has market places, mosques and tombs (I guess for kings and subjects). The great mosque (at the centre) has stood the test of time and looks better than other structures.

The pillar tomb of Takwa is a six meter high wall, unroofed rectangle on the east end. The has inscriptions call to Allah, Muhammad and first four caliphs, Abubakar, Umar, Uthman and Ali. It has an Arabic date of 1094 at the bottom.

These ancient mosques are no longer used but people from Shela visit twice a year to pray for rain.

The two wells must have supplied almost 2, 500 inhabitants.

We are informed that the main mosque is called the Friday Mosque. This is the one in the middle. Water from one well used to flow into water troughs to this mosque.

To the east is a well-built conduit and cistern. This comprises an ablutions system. There are coral foot scrappers for cleaning the feet before entry into the mosque.

A blue and white dish and another earthern dish are on the inside of the cistern.

There are two gates – north (to Manda) and south (to Kitao). There should have been four gates though it is hard to discern this due to the state of ruin.

Thanks to the National Museums of Kenya, Takwa Ruins has been protected from land hungry predators.

There is history here. And if you are seeking solitude or a romantic escape, Takwa Ruins fits the bill.

On our way out, we came to a group crouched intently over something. Always curious, I traipsed to their spot. You will not believe this group was engrossed in the African version of checkers. The chalk and bottle tops are all you need for this game played by two. I never pass a chance to test my skills and soon got into a game.

Jack had to remind me that we had a program elsewhere…

You should take a scheduled or chartered flight if you are in Nairobi to Manda Island.

You can also get here by bus. Come to this mystic hideaway by speed boat or dhow.

Enjoy the ocean from the sand dunes on the coastal beach.

Bring you better part or just the whole gang for a picnic! You can even rent the no-electricity house for overnight camping!

CARRY A CAMERA, WE FORGOT…
Written January 24, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Michael Eldon
Lavington, Kenya169 contributions
Family
Do visit the ruins of this walled village that was once home to 2,500 people - who were forced to leave it and head across to Shela where their descendants now play hosts to the world's tourists. As elsewhere in the Islamic world of centuries ago one is impressed by the sophistication of the mosque and the madrasa (including toilet, shower and resting room) and the elegance and fine workmanship of the building. Take your own water though, and - at least when we went - you must leave Shela before 9 am treturn by noon before the receding tide prevents access.
Written August 27, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Barbara A
Milwaukee, WI1,970 contributions
Couples
Half the fun of seeing the ruins is getting there. We were staying at Manda island and had considered riding a bike but it was raining most of the day so we took a boat from the Majlis hotel. It was a scenic ride past a village they called Obama. We saw the boats which transport the coral bricks to construction projects, and the scenic acacia trees that look flat which are so typical in Africa. Then the highlight was riding through the mangroves. If you come by boat, the timing has to be right (high tide) or you'll get stuck in the muddy bottom, we were told by our boat driver.
Once you arrive, the adventure begins with a walk across a raised walkway, then you are greeted by goats and barking dogs. The man who is the guide and caretaker was very friendly and showed us around the ruins in spite of the rain. He told some great stories about elephants and lions making their way to the island during low tide. He explained the village buildings, which were mostly ruins. The mosque was in pretty good shape when you consider how long it's been standing there.
The scenery is pretty amazing too if you've never really been to untouched Africa. The banyan trees were huge, and I had only seen one (artificial) at Animal Kingdom in Disneyworld, so seeing so many in real life was an experience. The guide also took us to a stunning view of the ocean from a sand dune. If it had not been raining it would have been better, but it was great overall.
Be sure to look at the map of the park before going on a walk so you can understand the layout. I think you'll get more out of the tour. It's located on your right as you enter the park in a covered area.
Written August 23, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Karin O
Kristiine linnaosa, Estonia2 contributions
Couples
The dhow trip to Takwa Ruins through the mangroves was awesome. Good day or half day trip to take while visiting Lamu and Manda.
Written November 13, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

alkenya
Nairobi, Kenya132 contributions
Friends
We went to the ruins and we are glad we did so on our own. The ruins have a great history (which we read at the entrance). There was a school group there at the same time as us and at some point we heard the guide making some crazy biblical references to the place, which were quite inaccurate. Unfortunately, the butterfly center was closed so we did not get to see the butterflies.
Written January 20, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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