The Dhow harbour of Bagamoyo is where many of the town's fishermen anchor their boats and it is located on the coastline that is nearest to the old town conservation area of Bagamoyo - Tanzania. There isn't much of a structure to actually call it a harbour, rather it is just a stretch of coastline where most of the town's dhows anchor.
Despite their small size, many of the dhow's found here regularly make trips to the neighbouring Zanzibar archipelago, ferrying passengers as well as goods; However, use one of these for transport at your own risk. Further south of the same area (past the customs house), there also is a small ramp where larger cargo ferries, from Zanzibar dock.A history of the place
It is the second oldest port in the town, that arose after the one next to the Kaole ruins
became overrun by mangrove trees. In its earliest days, it was used as a loading point for slaves, heading for the Zanzibar slave market or overseas. Most of this was done via a ramp located next to the Old customs house
. When the German's took over in 1886, the place became a loading point for their goods and exploits that were obtained from further inland. Since then it has been a loading point, although only the smaller boats can get closer to the shore due to the shallow depth. This was something that caused the Germans to move their capital to Dar es Salaam and the decline of the town into what it is today.What to do there?
Nothing much, as the place is usually almost deserted during low tide, with one or two anxious fishermen tending to something on their boats or their nets; However, at early high tide or hours close to it, the place comes alive with bare chested men carrying goods, shouting, heaving and all sorts of activities. Some of the boats set out at this time whereas others come in to offload their goods.
You also can see how the traditional dhows are made, mostly in the northern section of the beach and even get an insight into the whole process if you can find a common language with the fishermen, which for most of the time is Swahili. In the hours close to high tide, you can also find out more about traditional fishing from some of the fishermen on the beach, most of whom you would find preparing to set out. Other than that just head out to the fish market nearby or the old customs house.Location of Dhow harbour
The Dhow Harbour of Bagamoyo is located at the heart of Old town Bagamoyo (Mji Mkongwe), and next to its fish Market and the old customs house. It is also within walking distance of famous historical buildings such as the Old Boma and Old fort, sharing the same stretch of coastline with many of the town's hotels and restaurants. For more information on its location please see the map below (click to start)How to get there?
If you are in Bagamoyo, just ask for directions, no need to hire transport from the town's centre rather just walk to the area. Also, it can be seen from most locations on the town's beaches.