Mafia Island is part of the Mafia archipelago which is located in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Tanzania, and a few miles offshore of the mouth of the Rufiji river system.
The island, the largest in the archipelago, is surrounded by a number of smaller islands: Jibondo, Chole, Juani, Bwejuu, Shungumbili, Nyororo and Mbarakuni – which collectively make up the Mafia district.
The archipelago has a population of over 40,000 scattered across the islands, with the majority of the inhabitants living on Mafia Island. The largest settlement in the archipelago is a town called Kilindoni (located on Mafia Island), which functions as the hub of the archipelago as it features a port, airport, government services (police station, hospital etc.) and various shops selling goods from the main land.
The main livelihoods of the archipelago’s inhabitants consist of traditional fishing and farming communities, however in recent years, an influx of tourism to Mafia Island has spawned new livelihood opportunities for locals. Many are employed by the lodges/hotels on the Island and others are entrepreneurs who provide a service or sell goods to tourists. Surrounded by coral reefs and sandbanks and a wide variety of vegetation, the archipelago is home to a diverse range of biology. Many species of marine life live around the coastline with many bird species and mammals.