Visit Guide to Manora Island

Manora’s long sandy beaches, which merge into the beaches of the Sandspit and then extend several kilometers to the beaches at Hawkesbay, are a popular destination for Karachi’s. Tourist infrastructure, however, is underdeveloped.

Getting There

It is a small peninsula (2.5 km²) located just south of the Port of Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. Manora is connected to the mainland by a 12 kilometer long causeway called the Sandspit.

What to Expect

The main reason to come to Manora Island is to enjoy the sea breezes on the ferry trip out here. Boats in the harbor will also run longer trips for the right fee, but note that photography is forbidden in the harbor area. 


The area of Karachi was known to the ancient Greeks. Nearchus, who commanded Alexander the Great’s naval fleet, mentioned a hilly island by the name of Morontobara and an adjacent flat island named Bibakta, which colonial historians identified as Karachi’s Manora Point and Kiamari (or Clifton), respectively, based on Greek descriptions. Both areas were island until well into the colonial era, when silting in led to them being connected to the mainland.

According to the British historian Eliot, parts of city of Karachi and the island of Manora at port of Karachi constituted the city of Debal. Manora was mentioned by the Ottoman admiral, Seydi Ali Reis, in his 1554 book Mir’ât ül Memâlik.

Manora Fort was built by the Talpur dynasty in 1797 in order to protect the port, which handled trade with Oman and Bahrain. The fort was used to repel attacks by Qasimi pirates who threatened and sometimes raided Karachi Harbor in the early 19th century. Accounts of piracy have been contested, and piracy may have been simply used as a casus belli excuse for the East India Company to seize control of the Persian Gulf region.

On 1 February 1839 a British ship, HMS Wellesley (1815), anchored off the island of Manora. On 3 February the ship opened fire on the fort. When British troops stormed the fort, they reportedly found it guarded by 4 or 5 men, who had no gun to fire back with, and so the fort was quickly surrendered, and Karachi captured. St.Paul’s church was built in the immediate vicinity of Manora Fort in 1865. In 1888, the old fort was mostly removed, and the battery was reinforced. The Manora Point Lighthouse was designed by Canadian engineer Alain-Chartier-de-Lotbiniere Joly de Lotbiniere, and completed in 1889 to assist vessels approaching Karachi harbor.

After Pakistan’s independence from Britain, the island of Manora was selected as a main base of the Pakistan Navy, with berths for naval vessels located along the eastern edge of the island, and has been governed as a military cantonment. The opening of the new Jinnah Naval Base at Ormara, 250 kilometers away, has meant that approximately half of the naval vessels have moved away from Manora.