Tanzania is known for some rare and unique items that can be found only in this East African Country. Places like Zanzibar, Arusha, and Dar es Salaam are filled with curio shops, bazaars and local markets that sell items of African origin. Cultural as well as art festivals are organized every year to promote the pan-African products to the rest of the world. Upbeat cities like Dar es Salaam is known for some swanky shopping malls as well as the local souks. Shopping in Tanzania is an amazing recreational activity that gives a peek into the culture and lifestyle of Africa.
10 Best Places For Shopping In Tanzania
Here is a list of the places where one can buy as souvenirs and African handicrafts on their way back from a trip to Tanzania. Which of these would you visit first?
1. The Tanzania Experience
Tanzanite is a blue-violet colored semi-precious gemstone that can be found only in Tanzania. The gemstone is mined from the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. Shopping in Arusha, Tanzania is never complete without picking up this blue diamond from a reputable jeweler who provides an internationally recognized gem certificate.
Arusha sells the gemstone at cheap prices compared to the other parts of Tanzania because of its proximity to the mining field. A museum in Arusha called The Tanzanite Experience organizes a visual tour of experiencing the mining, cutting, polishing and grading processes of this rare gemstone and they have stores from which one can buy a certified gem.
Location: Blue Plaza, India Street, Arusha, Tanzania
What to buy: Tanzanite jewelry or just the gem
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2. Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society
The tinga tinga paintings are a form of art that was established by Edward Tingatinga in 1968. These paintings depict the wildlife of Serengeti in bold colors making it the perfect souvenirs to buy in Tanzania for kids. Edward Tingatinga’s family have come up with the Tingatinga Arts Cooperative Society to provide livelihood to the painters of this wonderful art. The Society building also houses galleries as well as workshops.
Location: Oysterbay, Masaki, Dar es Salaam.
What to buy: Tinga Tinga paintings
3. Maasai Market Curio and Crafts
Tanzania shopping starts with the products of the Maasai community such as the beaded jewelry, woven baskets, paintings and the red checked blankets. One can buy the fabric/sarongs worn by the Maasai men and women called kangas and kikois. The fabric of the Maasai culture is bright with bold patterns that gives a distinctive look for a bag, cushion cover or clothes in general. A place in Arusha called Maasai Market Curio and Crafts is a perfect one-stop shop to buy some Maasai souvenirs.
Location: Fire road, Arusha
What to buy: Baskets, beaded jewelry, blankets, and fabric
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4. Coffee plantations in Arusha
Coffee production plays an important role in the economy of this East African Country as they are the largest exporters of coffee in the world. They are widely grown in the shades of Banana crops on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru. Bourbon, Kent, and the Blue mountain are the most famous variety of coffee to buy in Tanzania. Any plantation in the region of Arusha gives a tour of the processing of coffee beans and sells them. It is a perfect family day out where one can learn about the rich African coffee while shopping in Tanzania.
What to buy: Blue Mountain, Kent, and Robusta coffee
5. Kizimbani and Kindaichi Spice Plantations
Zanzibar is often called the Island of spices. Plantations of spices such as cinnamon, clove, ginger, and nutmeg can be seen all along Stone Town. Guided tours are organized just outside the Stone Town in the plantations at Kizimbani or Kindaichi. The spice tour includes a meal at a local farmhouse and ends with a visit to the Persian bathhouse or an evening at one of the beaches. Local souks in Stone Town are filled with the rich aroma and exciting flavors of the spices. Cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, pepper, and lemongrass are the most famous things to buy in Tanzania.
Location: Local bazaars of Stone Town, Zanzibar
What to buy: Lemongrass, saffron, nutmeg, cloves, pepper, and cinnamon
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6. Msasani City Mall for High-end Boutiques
Built to meet the International Quality Standards on Products, Msasani City Mall has the best clothing shops in Tanzania. It is the first Brand Shopping sector of Tanzania that has revolutionized the retail experience. For fashion clothing and accessories for men and women and kids, Msasani City Mall is the main shopping center in Dar es Salaam. A terrace lounge is run on the top floor of the mall where one can enjoy some refreshments while enjoying the surrounding view.
Location: Msasani city, near the American Embassy, Dar es Salaam
What to buy: Fashion clothing and footwear
7. Mwenge Woodcarvers Market
Tanzania shopping guide is incomplete without the mention of the exquisite wooden figurines. Mwenge woodcarvers market in Dar es Salaam is a huge co-operative society that hosts 200 woodcarvers specializing in Makonde carvings in Africa. Unique products such as wooden masks, African drums, wooden sculptures, antiques, and other artifacts are sold here. Prices are often negotiable. It is advisable to surf through all the open air stalls before zeroing on an item. Workshops are set up next to the stalls where one can view the men at work.
Location: Sam Nujoma Road, Dar es Salaam
What to buy: Wooden masks, Makonde figurines and African drums
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8. Memories of Zanzibar
The memories of Zanzibar is an emporium of souvenirs. It is a one-stop shop for all the best shopping in Tanzania. At reasonable pricing, this emporium offers choices for books, ornaments, clothing, furnishings, and crafts. They even have an expansive collection of African music CDs in the store. It is at a walking distance from all the major hotels in Stone Town. This two-story showroom is colorful and vibrant with cheerful staff. Local coffee and tea, spices and other local snacks are sold here. The whole of East Africa can be experienced in this small place in Zanzibar.
Location: Kenyatta Road, Shangani, Stone Town, Zanzibar
What to buy: Music, books, and other artifacts
9. Fahari Zanzibar
Fahari Zanzibar is a retail store where high-end leather bags, jewelry, and other accessories are manufactured and sold. All the products here are handmade with local materials such as wood, cow horn, oyster shells, sterling silver etc. A local African print fabric called Kitenge is made here whose designs vary from season to season. The fabrics and accessories of Fahari Zanzibar have been showcased in many Fashion shows such as Swahili Fashion week and South African Fashion Week. It is an NGO providing livelihood to the craftsman of certain communities. Fahari literally means to have a sense of pride in Swahili and was founded by a London designer- Julie Lawrence.
Location: 62, Kenyatta road, Zanzibar
What to buy: Leather handbags and silver hoop earrings
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10. Shanga Shanga Cultural Tour
It is a foundation started as an income generation initiative for the disabled in Tanzania. Visitors are free to visit anytime and watch the craftsmen weave beautiful things out of glass and leaves. Visitors can try their hand at making beaded jewelry from recycled glass powder beads. Around 55 mute and deaf are housed here and are provided employment. Apart from the beaded jewelry, these creative individuals make silk, chiffon, and voile fabrics. A workshop for glass bowling is also conducted. Purchasing items here and encouraging their creative skills provides a perfect end to the Tanzania shopping.
Location: Arusha Coffee Lodge, Arusha
What to buy: Glasswares, jewelry, colorful fabrics
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Tanzania is very rich in culture and heritage. This can be unmistakably seen in their products that make them the perfect souvenir gifts. Shopping in Tanzania makes surely gives one a good respite from the endless safaris and mountain trekking that the country offers to all its visitors. Book your trip to Africa today and get a taste of its rich culture by engaging in an unforgettable shopping experience here!
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