I have been to Stone Town quite a few times and to be honest never really felt the calling for souvenir shopping. But on my last 2 trips there I came across a curio shop at the top of Kenyata road, so when you come out of Livingstones Restaurant you turn right up toward the Post Office. Just past the Post Office on the left hand side in front of Shangani Hotel is the little shop. It used to be the Kikoy shop, which thankfully they still have.
I enjoy the honest concept of its owners Fair world Fair Trade
Its in essence Eco Echo is a fair trade curio shop..It’s the perfect place to buy affordable and authentic Tanzanian gifts for family and friends, easy for me, and the majority if not all the stuff comes from Tanzania Women's Co operatives and the best part and I know this to be fact.....is that % of each shilling spent at Eco Echo benefits local communities by allowing them to improve water supplies and education and develop their communities.( this I know for a fact)
So I feel better. Can def recommend it. I think the Manageress is called Aisha
What to buy: They stock Exotic Zanzibar massage oils made from freshly crushed flowers, herbs and spices usually reserved for brides to be, colourful Masai bead bracelets and earrings, woven hand bags, beaded sandals and luxury kikoi bath robes and towels
What to pay: I got a small discount last time as i bought a few things.
I was surprised finding shops at the airport (including a duty-free) with a very good variety and excellent prices. They sell anything from kangas to vanilla pods.
The duty-free shop has a very good selection of books, they also accept credit cards.
What to buy: Most local craft
Soaps and oils
What to pay: Fixed prices
There were a few curio shops along the beach in the area around the hotel where we stayed. They sell very much the safe stuff that you will find in Stone Town.
What to buy: Textiles (Kanga, Ki-koi etc)
Mokondo Art (Masks etc)
Soap, oils etc
What to pay: Haggle, haggle, haggle
The winding streets of Stone Town contain plenty of shops to distract you in your wanderings, many of them selling local arts and crafts that make excellent souvenirs. If you have the money to spend you could buy a genuine antique – maybe even one of the trademark Zanzibari wooden doors (although in my view these are best left in their home town) or a piece of furniture. If you’re in the market for something like this, consult an expert about the best and most trustworthy shops, and remember to budget for shipping costs – you won’t easily fit an eight foot wooden door in your luggage allowance!
What to buy: For the rest of us on more modest budgets there is still plenty to appeal. Some suggestions:
~ wooden carvings – we bought and still treasure an elegant ebony figure
~ colourful paintings – the traditional folk art is known as tinga-tinga though this didn’t really appeal to us
~ kikoi sarongs – Chris bought me a lovely blue and gold batik one as a birthday present :-)
~ baskets, mats, fans etc woven from palm leaves
~ spices – an obvious choice on this scented isle, and very easy to pack, so they make great little gifts for friends and family
~ jewellery – from simple craft items to pieces featuring the local gemstone, Tanzanite
What to pay: A figure similar to the one we bought will cost between £10 and £15 at today’s prices, as will a small painting. Tanzanite jewellery can be expensive but folk pieces are cheaper of course. Spices can be found for just a couple of pounds and the palm-woven goods are also excellent value. At the other end of the spectrum, a carved teak door made to measure for your home will set you back about £1,000, with a further £500 to ship it home
What to buy:
On the East side of Creek road you will find the start of the sprawling Darajani Markets. The fruit & vegetable market about 400 South of the Port is where you will probably first see the markets. They have an absolute abundance of fresh fruit at super low prices. They have sunlight virtually year round and grow all of the fruit you will see either on Zanzibar or just on the mainland. If you fancy some delicious fresh fruit, I would recommend that you walk in from the road, as the first tables get a bit dusty due to the busy Creek Road. They sell bananas, oranges, pineapples. Any fruit you can think of. Enjoy!
I managed to find birthday gifts, souvenirs for family and friends, and a few little goodies for myself.......all on the first level! (Due to time constraint, I never made it upstairs!)
The staff was very knowledgable and helpful (which makes you want to buy more!) and Memories is definitely worth a return visit (set aside a couple of hours if you're a true shop-a-holic)
As you can see.....all the ladies in the group came out of there satisfied customers!
I knew I had to set aside time to add this tip for anyone planning a trip to Zanzibar. You MUST visit this Souvenir Emporium!!
Two levels of incredible African goods....from clothing, jewelry, art, books, music, I mean EVERYTHING!
We happened to stumble upon this store when strolling along Kenyatta Road.
With just a few hours before our plane departed back for Kilimanjaro, we only had 2 hours to set aside for shopping on the Spice Island. We saw our friends back at The Africa House who were nice enough to hold our luggage for us while we shopped.
You can reach Kenyatta Road from The Africa House, and there are several clothing boutiques, jewelers, and art shops were you can find souvenirs, but once I discovered Memories, I didn't need to go anywhere else!
What to buy: It was a bummer that I only had about 45 minutes left for shopping.......but probably also a blessing (any more time in that emporium and I could have done some serious damage! ;-)
I went bonkers over their collection of jewelry and stylish, casual, cool clothing (with an exotic twist).
The prices for the gemstones were nothing close to what they could charge in the U.S.....so everything you come across is a bargain.
What to pay: Prices are VERY reasonable compared to what they would charge outside of Africa.
There are plenty of Bazaars in the narrow roads of Stone Town - and the key is always to BARGAIN! These shops offer all kinds of local crafts such as souveniers, statues, batik, chess sets, masks etc. Many of them are from the mainland though.
What to buy: My recommended real true authentic Zanzibari souveniers were : the jewel boxes shaped like Zanzibari antiques, zanzibari incense and associated accessories, and of course Zanzibar Spice packs, which are attractive and useful!
What to pay: As much as you dare to bargain for!
Couldn't tick off one category only for this shop: this is a shop that carries a range of goodss for tourists, such as as beach wear, casulal and formal clothing, knic-knacks, handicrafts and artifacts. Probably low on "real stuff", but you cand find more authentic antiques etc elsewhere. You can certainly get what you need for the moment in this shop.
What to buy: Beach-related stuff.
Gifts for those unfortunates back home.
Spent my birthday doing a Dsicover Scuba dive with the East African Dive Company off Mnemba Atoll and loved it so much. Have recently completed my open water course and am now looking forward to returning to Zanzibar and doing some more diving.
A must dive place if your into diving.
What to buy: scuba lessons, scuba diving and other watersports.