Just near the Stanyley Hotel is Safari Kit Ltd within the Fairview Hotel. Shop No 2
What to buy: Good quality and well designed art and craft piences, things for your safari, and post-safari mementos.
I bought some bird and animal field guides to Africa here.
What to pay: On the expensive side, but some of the things were quite unique and some of the books apparently with no competition so you pay what it takes.
there are several of the so-called massai markets - open air markets where small traders gather on the ground of a parking lot surrounding one of the malls, places where lots of tourists and expats hang out at. There is one on the parking roof of Westgate shopping mall every Tuesday and another one on the parking lot of Yaya Center every Sunday. There is also a permanent massai market in the little street triangle at lower Kabete near Sarit Center in Westlands.
What to buy: At all of the stalls you' ll find the usual mix of shukas, kikoys, carved animals, beaded jewellery, wooden masks, kisii stones etc. Haggling about the price is part of the fun. The traders are usually not overly pushy and aggressive.
What to pay: it all depends on your negotiation skills - I' d recommend to have a look at some of the places with fixed prices first so you get an idea how much you are expected to pay
there is a Massai market on Sundays at the parking lot of Yaya Center in Kilimani, open till afternoon. Besides, there is a kind of permanent massai market (a number of stalls) opposite Sarit Center in Westlands. Both are located relatively close to the city centre, and if you cannot agree on prices with the traders (you need to haggle), you can shop in the malls or nearby shops like Spinners Web on Wayaki Highway for African/Kenyan craftwork
Obama rocks - especially in kenya, the home country of his late father where many people see him an an inspiration and the tourism industry is hoping to make some money with his name. It did not take long after his election until his face appeared on the traditional cloth, the kanga
What to buy: the "Obama kangas" appear in a number of colors, and by now there are different patterns - some are more traditional, others follow the taste of Western tourists to increas sales
What to pay: these "special" kangas cost no more than the usual (though a shopkeeper told me they are sold for 22 $ in the US), so expect to pay about 350 KES (about 4,5 $)
the RaMoMa art gallery in Parklands should be a good spot to start when looking for contemporary art. They also help young artists to exhibit their works open air on their grounds - I think it is usually on the first Saturday of the month - and have a good reputation. There is also a website: http://kenya.africancolours.net/
both Alliance Francaise and Goethe Institute sometimes organise meetings with artists
The Nakumatt is a major store in Nairobi... it actually is similar to the American WalMart. It contains jewelry, food, candy, electronics, a nice bank and several other amenities. This was a great place to stop and get a taste of home while visiting the area.
What to buy: The store had little ethnic items and mostly merchandise from Britain. It is better to buy British goods while in Africa because the price is lower but watch out for product seals. If you buy such goods from anyplace else in Africa, the product may not be genuine and the seal could be broken.
What to pay: Little to lots... depending on what you desire.
Tusker Mattress is much like Nakumatt, but is in general cheaper in price. If your looking for everday staples like beer/wine, rice, fruit, vegetables, meat, etc you can find it here. The bottom part of the store is usually groceries while the top half has clothes, books, games, and appliances. You can pick up a pair of US brand jeans for the equivalent of $7 US here! There are about 12 or more just in Nairobi proper.
Be aware that depending on when you arrive, the pickings may be slim for fresh fruit and vegetables and you may be left with sticky or not so healthy looking fruit. Other then this, Tusker is one of the better deals in town for groceries(Uchumi tends to be a rip-off).
What to buy: Good place to buy groceries, cheap tailored shirts, and a crummy Daniel Steele novel. I personally found a sweet pair of Diesel men's Jeans here.
What to pay: Expect a average grocery trip to cost you around 500-650 Ksh or less. This is at LEAST 100-200 shillings less then Nakumatt.
Not exactly a masaai village, this.
The Village Market is a big shopping plaza and department store. Very chick and everything is spick and span. Expensive, but they've got what you need in terms of luxury items and western goods, books, toiletries, clothes etc.
It is a bit far out, and not much for the backpacker, really. But for travellers who miss Europe or America, this is the place to go, and also people looking for modern art.
Good food in the food court. They do excellent salads in the Italian Restaurant.
The shopping scene here was dominated by women, a rainbow of colours, so I think they were expat home staff and expat staff wives...
What to buy: I bought a nice picture frame - - -but that's not why you travel to Africa, is it?
What to pay: Up, up, up, but still cheaper than Europe.