Entrance of the fish market of Dar es Salaam
What to buy: Don't buy the sea shells which are sold here.
They are seriously amazing but the collecting by the sellers kills the reefs of Zanzibar.
Collecting sea shells and corals is an illegal act and this should be respected.
A good picture of the shells gives the same pleasure when looked at when you're back home.
See it as your duty to approach potential buyers when you're there and inform them that buying the shells only increases the destruction of the reefs
What to pay: Pay the sellar a small fee for taking the picture
In the main fish market, the first shops that you will see from the parking lot are a few stalls selling sea shells.
What to buy: If you don't have time to go to Zanzibar like me, and you like sea shells, then go to the fish market and you will be amazed with the size and shapes of sea shells - many of which you probably haven't seen in your life.
What to pay: Bargain. At least half the price.
If you would like to help some poor Tanzanians, better buy from street vendors. Unlike the shops I have been to in Arusha, these vendors are ready to negotiate and they do not overprice (much). I actually had good buys. And if you think you paid more than you wished, look back and think of how the money will help their families.
What to buy: necklaces and bracelets with cowbones, t-shirts, some souvenirs made of wood
Slipway is a shopping mall complex located at the waterside of Msasani area in Dar es Salaam. It contains some fine shops, a supermarked, some restaurants and a hotel. Visitors of the Slipway are mainly expatriates and tourists. I think everything in this place was more expensive.
I also think this place is a kind of tourist trap because the taxi drivers charge you three times higher price from the place than it cost to get there. The taxidrivers say it's a fixed price, but they know that you are dependent on them because of the distance to town. Slipway is a bit isolated from other shops and public places.
Note that in the weekends there is a market where locals sell handcrafts. This is good and the price is cheap if you bargain. Look at the photos for the local handcrafts stalls.
Tinga Tinga is a type of painting found in Tanzania. If you go to the Tinga Tinga Market, do not buy anthing until you have checked out the prices in the main warehouse at the end of the road. There's lots of artists that would be willing to draw anything for you and they are much cheaper than the stalls along the road.
The narrow streets of old Dar es Salaam seemed to be crammed with small stores selling all sorts of African curios. Although I have never been much of a shopper, the sights, smells and sounds of these places were very intriguing as the venders did their best to make a sale. I had to buy at least a few statues carved out of some sort of African tree that weighs a ton. That statue on the left was one of my favourites, with the bark of the tree still showing at the top and bottom.
What to buy: A few smaller statues of Masai warriors with their spears and shields were purchased for shipment home to my parents. I also picked up a colourful 'chitengi' shirt, a cotton fabric adorned with various interesting African designs. It was very light and airy, perfect for use during my time in Zambia! It has been so long ago and the currency values have changed so much that I cannot remember what I actually paid for anything.
The biggest shopping mall of the Msasani peninsula (the diplomats quarter) is the Slipway. It consists of a western style supermarket, various handcrafts shops, a few restaurants, an (English) book store, a home furnishing shop, a hairdresser, a drug store and some clothes shops. There is also a shop offering internet access. In the weekends there is a market where locals sell handcrafts.
Visitors of the Slipway are mainly expatriates and tourists. There is a car park right in front of the mall. Though it is small, there were always some spaces left.
Situated next to the Sea Cliff Hotel, Sea Cliff Village is the no 2 shopping mall of the Msasani peninsula. It consists of a western style supermarket, some restaurants, travel agents, hairdressers, jewelry shops and clothes shops. The shops and restaurants are situated on the ground floor and first floor. The vast majority of visitors are expatriates and tourists.
Buy colorful and traditional clothing when you are in Dar es Salaam. It's comfortably to use in hot weather, and also quite cheap if you bargain.
What to pay: Expect to pay 4-8 USD