Sheepskin rafts, wheat grass spur visitors to Yellow River

Video by Zhang Zihao

The sheepskin rafts floating in the Yellow River and their neighbor – the wheat grass grids fixing sand are attracting visitors from all over the world at Shapotou, Zhongwei of Northwest China’s Ningxia Hui autonomous region.

The sheepskin raft is the oldest and most primitive transportation tool along the Yellow River. With a history of nearly 2,000 years, it is called "ancient boat on the Yellow River" by local people.

The raft is made of sheepskin. The largest could be made from more than 600 sheepskin bags, while a smaller one from less than 20 sheepskin bags.

The rafts used to be vital for transport on the Yellow River. But now, they are a highlight of tourism at Shapotou.

"The wheat grass grids sand barriers" is a sand fixation method, which fixes the flowing sand dune by putting wheat grass, straw, reeds and other materials in the desert into grid shape.

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It was initiated to protect a railway line from being swallowed by the deserts. Because of the remarkable achievements on sand-fixation, this place was listed among the "Global 500" for environmental protection by the United Nations Environment Program.

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