In this post, we’ll be taking you on a shopping journey through the vibrant and colorful countries of Kenya and Tanzania. From bustling markets selling traditional crafts to chic boutiques selling contemporary fashion, there’s something for every shopper in these East African nations. Get ready to discover unique handicrafts, hand-woven textiles, and more as we explore the shopping scene in Kenya and Tanzania. So grab your shopping list and join us as we uncover the best places to shop in Kenya and Tanzania.

Imagine a shopping experience at a busy tourist stop off of a gravel road offering drinks, snacks, and a bathroom break. To get to the bathroom, one must go through the shopping area. This large shed had a dirt floor and wooden tables covered in wood carvings of animals and masks of all sizes!  Next to the outhouse (that’s actually what it is, don’t forget your small bathroom kit!) was a smaller tin shed with the woodcarvers working. They chat with everyone in line. A small radio is playing in the background. If you’re on a safari in Kenya, this will probably happen, and it’s a great experience, enjoy!

It’s a far cry from the diamond dealers in the big cities or the luxury fashion shopping, but the roadside shops have a unique experience and have some awesome options!

What do you buy in Kenya & Tanzania?

I always say shop til you have to buy a second suitcase! This can be hard if you have a small weight limit or a safari backpack-only trip, but there are still small awesome things, and for a safari, I try and pack things I can leave there and take home new things in my pack. 

Favorite purchases from Kenya & Tanzania:

  • Maasai blankets are $18-30
  • Ceramic beaded jewelry, price varies 
  • Hand-woven blanket $50
  • Screen printed art $10
  • Painted wood panels $15
  • Batik panels $10
  • Acrylic paintings $25

There are so many amazing, unique souvenirs you can purchase in Kenya or Tanzania, lots of people buy spices, wooden figurines, and masks, and I buy art and earrings that remind me of my trips daily, it’s all a personal preference. Consider stopping at a fashion mall in Tanzania and Kenya, they’re clean and have good food and reasonable prices for great fashion, home goods, and grocery items. They have amazing security, and places for the kids to play. It’s something different than you’ll see on any cultural tour or safari, and you’ll get to mix with locals. 

Tanzania

Arusha had the best and most diverse cultural and shopping options in Tanzania, if you’re stopping in a few cities, consider doing your big shopping here.

Shanga

A fair trade village that produces everything from woven textiles, blown glass housewares and decor, ceramics, and more. If you don’t stop here, try and stop at one in another city. They’re cool to tour, hear the history, and see them hand-make everything they sell.

The Cultural Heritage Center

Nice, modern facility offering artifacts from over 100 different tribes, along with gemstones, carvings, beads, clothing, and books. There is a large display of paintings from current and traditional Tanzanian artists and the outdoor area has a sculpture garden. To be honest, the art here was incredible, we could have easily spent more time here, they had a restaurant and very clean bathrooms.

Plantations

Visit the coffee and spice plantations, not only do you get all the best smells, you get a tour of the grounds and how they do their processing and harvesting. Cheap souvenirs abound and it’s a great place for kids to run around and for the whole family to stretch their legs.

Coffee tours

Spice Tours

Kenya

The Kazuri (Swahili for beautiful) bead shop in the Karen area of Nairobi has three rooms of beads and beaded jewelry, they say they have a bead for every mood, and it’s true! It’s a famous bead shop, and worth a 30-minute stop. They also have carvings there that are small works of art.

Nairobi 

Shopping Mall

Go to a shopping mall in Nairobi, they are quite fun. You can get to the area you are staying in and find one nearby if you have children with you, quite a few of the malls have arcades and even rides and elaborate playscapes. They’re very clean, and they have a high level of security. I love hitting up grocery stores, most of their malls have them,  and buying some authentic things, from shower gel, sides, dessert, alcohol, etc. I still have pesto from my Italy trip and am now addicted to Neutro Roberts Shower Oil Wash from that trip. 

Gikomba Market

Nairobi’s largest flea market, crowded aisles of everything from glassware to fabric. It’s best known for the clothing sold there, there’s sooooo much! I love how colorful everything is in Africa, shopping at Gikomba Market shows this off. It’s loud and crowded and such a fun experience. 

Mango Farm

A 20-acre organic and sustainable farm, with a small art gallery on-premises, they offer private visits where you can fill up a basket with fruits and vegetables from the farm. Great place to take kids, especially if you’re staying in Nairobi and have a place you can cook these gorgeous veggies up!

Langata Link Shopping

Stop here for a light lunch and shopping, the fashion, and wellness beauty products are perfect. It’s a very well-curated shopping experience, all the boutiques are arranged around a central courtyard, the business has done so well, they’ve expanded into boutique travel experiences and real estate.

Biashara Street 

Biashara Street in Nairobi is the best place to go fabric shopping and to have clothing tailor made. If you haven’t experienced have a shirt made for you, I recommend trying it. Typically costs about what a normal mid level shirt price is, not walmart prices, more Macy’s, but you pick the fabric and style and they make it and typically deliver it to you in less the 48 hours. It’s impressive and is a truly unique item to bring home. 

Masai Villages

Maasai villages offer some awesome shopping, after the tour and traditional dancing presentation, the women set up tables selling brightly colored blankets, ceramic jewelry, and traditional batik scarves, and in every color you can imagine. Visiting the Masai villages are typically part of a longer safari, but day trips can be found easily on Viator from quite a few cities in Kenya or Tanzania. Do some googling, this is an experience you don’t want to miss. 

Obviously, you’ll have plenty of time built into any tour you take, so, take a bit of casual Africa time and enjoy browsing each one, because they are truly different and the staff are so fun!

We hope this travel shopping guide for Kenya and Tanzania gives you a better idea of how to plan the most important part of your trip – shopping, darling.

For more information on the ultimate trip to Kenya and Tanzania, check out our other guides:

Your Ultimate Guide to Kenya and Tanzania Safaris

What to Pack for Kenya and Tanzania

Visiting the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Nairobi Kenya, Africa