The bulk of the waraqas from Oman and Zanzibar involve transactions that deal in local property: Zanzibari waraqas in particular frequently mention houses and shambas in neighborhoods around Zanzibar and Pemba. This is unsurprising, considering the majority of the waraqas were drawn up on these two islands. For a creditor looking to secure a loan, local property would have made good sense.
Less frequent, although still common, are transactions that involve property a little further away. Waraqas from Zanzibar were especially likely to include properties on the East Coast of Africa. To access credit, borrowers in Zanzibar drew on property in nearby coastal towns like Bagamoyo, Dar es Salaam, Mombasa, Pangani, Saadani, and Tanga, but also in ports slightly further away: Lamu, Bweni (on Mafia Island) and Kismayo all appear on waraqas, as do properties as far away as the Comoros Islands. Because of the central place of Zanzibar in the regional economy, one would expect that property on the East African coast would enjoy wide representation in the waraqas.
Despite the distance between Arabia and East Africa, properties in Oman furnished creditors with ample security against loans taken out in East Africa. However, the inverse is not true as there are no examples of Omanis accepting East African properties as security for loans in Oman. People drew on properties located in their hometowns: towns in ‘Ibra and Al-Sharqiya feature prominently, as do properties in Rustaq. Creditors taking property in Oman as security would often have to appoint agents to collect rents, but for borrowers who had recently arrived in East Africa – or those with lucrative holdings in Oman – mobilizing property across the sea would have been an attractive option.