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Zanzibar > Pictures and travelogues > Dhow building in Nungwi, Zanzibar

Pictures from dhow building in Nungwi, Zanzibar.

Dhow shipyard in Nungwi, Zanzibar
Dhow shipyard in Nungwi, Zanzibar Island.

A dhow is a traditional Arab sailing vessel with one lateen (triangular) sail. Large dhows may have more than one mast. Dhows are built entirely by hand. In Zanzibar, traditional dhow building takes place mainly in Nungwi, the fishing village that has developed into a major beach resort in the northern tip of Zanzibar Island. Generations of skilled craftsmen have built here on the foreshore strong dhows, using only the simplest of tools.

The shipyard is located next to the fishing village, outside the tourist areas. A dozen boats are here under construction or restoration.

In Nungwi, dhow builders use mainly mahogany from Z
anzibar Island and mangrove from Pemba Island. Building a dhow by a team of 2 or 3 craftsmen takes on average about 3 months. The construction of a large "Jahazi", the length of which may reach 15 meters, becomes rare and of course takes more time.

Dhow building in Nungwi, Zanzibar
Dhow building in Nungwi, Zanzibar Island.

Dhow builder in Nungwi, Zanzibar
Dhow builder in Nungwi, Zanzibar Island. Using of ancestral tools: a bow drill.


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Travel guide and travel directory to Zanzibar with many pictures.