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What to buy in Tanzania

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Buying Tanzanian souvenirs

Many people who plan a safari in Tanzania will often allocate a day to visiting the markets, so that they can buy some locally-made souvenirs. As with any market, it's important to shop around and to get an understanding of quality. Wood carvings made from ebony wood—particularly animal and people carvings, bowls and candlesticks—are popular and ubiquitous choices. It’s advised to shop with a local, or with someone who is familiar with the various markets, as quality and prices vary considerably from place to place. When in the market, it is common to be called friend ‘rafiki’, and to be summoned into their shop for a browse and chat. In some markets the number of vendors is overwhelming and it can be difficult to remember which store piqued your interest.
It is also possible to shop in stores that have been certified by the government as places that sell authentic, high-quality souvenirs. For the most part, the quality is noticeably higher, but this also comes at a higher price. Haggling is also restricted in these stores and, while you may be able to knock the price down a bit, it will not be anywhere near the amount you’d be able to get discounted in a non-regulated store. Tanzanian Shillings and new US bills are accepted. You may be able to haggle a bit more if paying in USD.

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