Taking a Dhow Trip is almost obligatory and drifting through the mangroves is a wonderful way to experience the islands. You’ll be approached by touts and would-be captains almost as soon as you arrive, but it’s worth shopping around to find a captain you like and a price you’re happy with. Prices vary depending on where you want to go and how long you go for. Groups of more than five aren’t recommended as the boats aren’t very big. Solo travellers joining an existing group to make up numbers will often be offered a great price, on the condition that they don’t tell their fellow passengers how much they paid. As this generally means the others paid the extortionate asking price, it probably shouldn’t be encouraged! Traditional dhows are built without metal using local materials and this ancient craft is still practiced in such places as Lamu today. A number of Dhows have been converted with modern techniques and given diesel engines for safe cruising with tourists.
From Mombasa a number of dhow cruises with activities are available for night and day cruises.The Tamarind Dhow operated by a leading restaurant company offers night cruises in calm inland waters with superb meals cooked on board with live music and dancing. Most day trips meander around the channel between Lamu and Manda Islands, and the price includes fishing and snorkeling, although both can be disappointing as the fish tend to hide amongst the coral during the day. Lunch is usually served up on a beach on Manda Island. Longer trips head for Manda Toto Island, which has better snorkeling. Take the opportunity to enjoy this special experience whilst at the coast.