Darajani Market

Darajani Market

Stone Town
Zanzibar

When you approach the surrounding of the market, the odors get intense, very intense. The light is also very intense and the humidity is very high, is hot very hot, early in the morning.
I really don’t know what I was expecting when I was crossing in the Market door capitel, suddenly was not so hot, but the smell was making a extraordinary swift, the fermented mango stench, from the outside door, was letting pass to the morbid smell of dead meat. I was in the butcher section!
Don’t was to much activity, no to much meat. Passing trough fast, for one moment I though in the Greenaway movie. Unexpected, the smell swift again, a distinguish strong saltpetre smell was involving everything. I was in the fish market section. The alley was quiet. The fishmonger displaying there products. No to many client yet. No tourist, still was early, but in the backdoor a incredible activity was taking place. A lot of fish was discharged and worker was taking it for prepared for displayed and sell it later, big bone-fish, ray, tuna, barracuda, octopuses, squid...

Equiped with only a machete, a club and the strength of there muscles this mens was working hard until all the fish was ready for display and sell. The operation was taking placed in the market backside door, where the sun was not reaching in all day, just there, facing the door, in the floor. Blood, entrails was washed away. Auctioneer was sealing the big pieces and all day customers was coming in and out, some tourist passing fast, the smell was unbearable, but easily you get used to it. It was just good fresh fish coming directly from the boats.

Thank you to the workers of Darajani Market that allow me to observe, for few days, there everyday working life.

Salvador Calaf


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The Darajani Market main structure was built in 1904 by Bomanjee Maneckjee, for the Sultan Ali bin Hamud.
Later in the night you can enjoy all this fish varieties and more seafood at the Forodhani Night Food Market.

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