So you love to buy souvenirs for you and your family / friends, wherever you travel?
Here are the things you can buy – and for whom to buy – in Kenya and Tanzania!
The Fashion Diva
We were going to have lunch at The Rock Restaurant, in Zanzibar, when we came across this cool looking shop, called Jenga. The lady that worked there was extremely friendly and showed us around, explaining the concept of the store. People from the community there, especially women, would make these beautiful items and sell them on the shop to have financial stability.
We then saw this beautiful necklace on display. There was a lot of other colours of fabric and beads, but Rosy fell in love with the contrast between the white fabric and the black and gold beads. If you know a fashion addict in your life, be sure to check out this store, for it has necklaces and dresses.
The Art Lover
So you have an art lover in your family or friends. Fear not! You’ll find a lot of places in this two countries that sell amazing art. From the small wooden carved charm, to the slightly bigger waxed cloth with hand-drawn imagery, to large canvas with huge landscapes and wild beasts. You’ll find anything that will appease the art lover’s heart.
We found this shop, in Stone Town, that was selling this canvas-like fabric with different themes. We chose this one, for we thought it was the most fitting to bring home from Africa. But trust us when we say you’ll find art everywhere.
We were at the beach in Nungwi, in Zanzibar, and a man was selling large paintings near the water, so if you don’t find the art, it will find you! Ahah
The Skincare Addict
If you know someone that is really into skincare, than we have the perfect suggestion for you.
In Paje, Zanzibar, there is a workshop that makes seaweed soap from seaweed that washes ashore by the waves. It is believed that the seaweed itself has good proprieties that nourish the skin. We bought soap from a shop near the beach and it’s a mix between seaweed and coconut oil – it smells great!
The Tea Lover (and coffee too!)
So you like tea and coffee? You came to the right place. Know this little tea brand called Lipton? Eheh Well one of its biggest plantation sites is in Kenya. The country is known for its famous tea plantations and potent coffee beans. When we were in Kericho, Kenya, we bought a bag of tea from a street vendor (and appeared on a music video…but that is some story for another time haha).
Tanzania also has great tea. We went inside a market that was selling this lovely Tanzanian tea pouches made from kitenge fabric. It had a wide variety of flavours, from cinnamon or cardamom to lemon and orange tea. We couldn’t decide which flavour to buy so, we just bought them all! If you’re into tea, this is the place to go!
The Interior Designer
If you like interior design and to decorate your entire house with trinkets from all over the world, you’ll have a blast in Africa. All the souvenirs shops (or Curio Shops, as they call them) sell infinite amounts of wood-carved animals, masks, bowls, you name it. In one of them we even saw a giraffe almost true-sized!
Maybe we are exaggerating, but trust us, it would not fit inside a bag, whichever the size!
On our trip to Kibera (the biggest slum in Africa), we went inside a craft shop, where two men were making and polishing lovely pieces to sell to tourists. This was a community-based workshop, where people from the slum worked there and the profits would go to sustain them financially, so they would not need to live in poverty or from begging. We bought this spoon with a lovely pattern on the handle.
The Defender of Causes
Also in Kibera, we went inside the Power Women Shop and had a lovely conversation with Rosemary. The shop only employed women HIV+. Not only does the shop financially support them and allows them to work even with kids, but it also had/has an important role in the community to bring awareness that HIV doesn’t transmit from single and shakes or commercial transactions.
According to Rosemary, it has been a successful venture and they notice that the prejudice inside the slum has decreased hugely thanks to it. They were selling a lot of handmade clothing articles and there were a lot of headbands, with beautiful patters on a table. Rosy chose this one for its warm colours.
The Culture Geek
Ok, so you know the capital of each country in the world? You read up on all the history of a state, before you travel there? And you get most excited when you know you’re witnessing a traditional event? If you answered yes to all of the above you’re a culture geek, and we say this because we’re the same!
In Kenya and Tanzania, you’ll most likely visit a Maasai tribe and see the way they traditionally dress – with shuka, often a red with black stripes cloth, and beaded necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Although the Maasai didn’t originally dress with the shuka, but rather leather and sheep skin, they’ve probably started wearing this sort of cloth to protect themselves from the weather around 1960. Still, it is a really iconic garment and we decided to buy a red shuka and a big beaded necklace to bring home with us!
Kids also like souvenirs, well all gifts for that matter. It’s always cool to show off to their friends at school, that thing their wacky uncle/aunt brought from a faraway land (well, at least we like to think that way ahah).
There are quite cool trinkets you can buy in Kenya and Tanzania for the little ones. We decided to buy colourful beaded bracelets, made by Maasai women, for the girls and little animals for the boys (although we saw some cool beaded warrior-like bracelets at the Jenga shop, but they were too big for the sizes of our nephews’ wrists!)
Ok, if you are a foodie you’re going to love Kenya and Tanzania. There are street vendors everywhere, selling delicious fruits and vegetables. Maybe, food in particular isn’t a very good souvenir to bring home (customs and all that jazz), but at least try to enjoy it there.
We had quite a number of great foods on the road, although we didn’t photograph it much. On our way to Kibera, our driver Charlie, stopped to buy some sugar-cane from the side of the road and Tigs tried it for the first time, giving it a stamp of approval. In Tanzania, we also stopped our truck to buy some red bananas from a group of women that was selling them, also great stuff, super sweet fruit.
The list could go on and on, but we’ll finish with a suggestion: if you go to Zanzibar, try the Stone Town Food Market at night and get the Zanzibar Pizza – DELICIOUS!
Comment down bellow, what you usually bring as a souvenirs from your trips!
Did you like our suggestions?
Thanks for reading! See you all on the next article! 🙂