The Dhow Builders’ Yard, Zanzibar

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Zanzibar’s days of building large ocean-going dhows were on their last gasp when this photo was taken in 1999.  Hari, our guide, told us that the large dhow on the right had been commissioned by a Somali trader at a cost of around £7,000.  The building yard is on Maruhubi Beach,  not far from Stone Town, and on the edge of a mangrove forest which provides much of the construction timber. All the work is done by hand, following centuries old traditions. It is a slow and painstaking process, and dhow builders camp out on the beach while working on a big contract like this.


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