The seed must be placed in a non-empty pit in the player's inner row.
As of today, the oldest Bao board is supposed to be one from Malawi, exposed at the British Museum, and dating back to no earlier than 1896.
In Zanzibar and Tanzania there are two versions of Bao.
The main version, which is also the most complex and most appreciated, is called Bao la kiswahili ("Bao of the Swahili people").
Bao is based on a mancala board comprising four rows of eight pits each—in Swahili, pits are termed mashimo (singular: shimo), meaning "holes".
Each player owns a half of the board comprising two adjacent rows.