Dhow Photos – My Photographic Tribute To Madagascar

Dhow Photos – My Tribute To Madagascar

A ubiquitous wind powered sailing vessel called the dhow has sailed over the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean for over 2500 years. However, both the Indians and the Arabs extensively used the dhow throughout history. As a result, it is not certain which one of them invented it.

Ifaty Madagascar Dhow Sailing

Dhow sailing adventure in Ifaty, Madagascar

Primarily, the vessel was used for trade and could hold up to 30 crew members and 2 masts. Although in Madagascar it is primarily crewed by 1-3 sailors and has one mast.

Most essentially, this venerable sailing vessel has tremendous transportation utility. In addition, I found the dhow to be the most photogenic object in Madagascar.

Ifaty Sunrise Dhow Photos

This mastless dhow was moored on the beach right near my hotel in Ifaty. Fortunately, one morning there was no breeze blowing and this photo opportunity presented itself.  

dhow sunrise photo ifaty madagascar

Sunrise dhow photo at Ifaty beach in Madagascar.

The image of the boat is reflected on the still water and the result is a better photo. In contrast, you can see this same dhow during sunset when the wind is much more active which disturbs the water and disrupts the photo.

dhow photo ifaty madagascar

It is still a pretty good photo but my preference is for the former.

Front Lit Dhow Photos

The coastal aspect of SW Madagascar provides for a sunrise in the east and sunset in the west. In the following photos, the sunrise provides ambient front lighting for the colorful dhow sails as they sailed away from the beach in Anakao Madagascar.

dhow photos anakao madagascar

Vezo fisherman set sail in their dhow at sunrise.

dhow anakao madagascar

Back lit Dhow Photos – Anakao Madagascar

In addition, back lighting creates silhouettes. As a result, the photos are simplified into mere outlines and therefore the effect can be very enhancing when used properly.

dhow anakao madagascar

Nosey Ve in the distant background with the lone Vezo sailor in the foreground.

dhow anakao madagascar

Sunset dhow photo with Nosey Ve in the distant background.

dhow anakao madagascar

Vezo sailors coming into Anakao for the evening.

Surf Anakao Madagascar

Anakao, Madagascar excellent surfing and fishing dhow adventures

These back lit dhow photos are some of my favorite photos from Madagascar. Unfortunately, back lighting is not always a positive attribute and it only works under optimal circumstances.

However, the simmering Madagascar sunset makes it much more simple to get a grand effect. I do not use any photo enhancing color filters and all of my photos are 100% natural lighting (flash notwithstanding).

Miscellaneous Lighting

dhow anakao madagascar

The Vezo fisherman are transporting their nets out to the fishing grounds.

dhow nosey ve madagascar

Vezo sailor maneuvering his vessel near Nosey Ve.

dhow nosey ve madagascar

The Vezo are fishing for lobster and that is their spear gun propped up in front of the boat.


The essence of the Vezo fisherman is best captured with dhow photographs. I hope you enjoyed my short photographic tribute to the Vezo sailors and Madagascar.

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