The Bajuni Islands

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Bajuni Islands are located off the Indian Ocean. They are home to the Bajuni people.

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Bajuni Islands were the ancestral home of the Bajuni people, until Somalis pushed out this community out during the political strife of 1991. This community grew crops, built ships, traded in the mainland and went fishing in the Indian Ocean. The enchanting region they called home comprises of six main islands and other smaller ones. The main ones are Chandra, Chovaye, Chula, Koyama, Ngumi and Darakasi.

Koyama has three villages while Chovaye has two. Presently, Chula Island has one inhabited village and it is said to have the largest population.

The islands stretch out from Kismayu in Somalia to Kiwayu Island in Kenya. They are also known as the 500 Islands or Dundas Group. These land masses do not form a straight line. On the contrary, there is a southern and northern group. Settlement was on the islands facing the mainland because the land is fertile. Presently, there are only ruins of earlier settlements in a stretch off the mainland from Buri Kavo to Ras Kamboni.

This area was under the British rule before the First World War, but Italians took over later. The Bajuni people inhabited this area as early as from the 14th and 15th centuries.

Bajuni Islands are coral formations with vegetation over comprising of bushes, scrubs and palm trees. Most of the previous settlements are now ruins that explain a lot about the life of the Bajunis. Names of these islands and major villages in them have changed with time substituting Bajuni names for Swahili or Somali words.

Map of The Bajuni Islands

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