The dhow – the lateen – rigged sailing vessel unique to the Indian Ocean – is one of the symbols characteristic of Zanzibar. The white sail of these vessels, seen floating above turquoise waters, may be the first image to strike the visitor to the island.  But the dhow is more than just a utilitarian sailing boat; it is an emblem of the historical and cultural evolution of the Island and the coastal communities nearby.

As part of the maritime economy the dhows used to bring people on to the Island. Their crew mixed with locals and from this was born the Zanzibar culture.

Up to the 1960s, dhows made commercial journeys between the Persian Gulf and East Africa using only sails as a means of propulsion. The freight was mostly dates and fish to East Africa and mangrove timber to the lands in the Persian Gulf. They sailed south with the monsoon in winter or early spring and back again to Arabia in late spring or early summer. Today they are still widely used in trade and transport, but often make use of motors.

Additional Dhows

Additional Dhows can be arranged at your request. The maximum number of guests on each Dhow is set at 16, allowing your guests to enjoy their Dhow ride in comfort and safety. The cost for an extra Dhow includes wine, beer, soda and water.