Shopping in Tanzania
When it comes to souvenirs in Tanzania, there’s lots to choose from. The country has the usual supply of weavings and woodcarvings, T-shirts, textiles and trinkets. Amongst the T-shirts, at least in Moshi, are a number of variations on the ‘I climbed Kili’ motif.
Witchcraft items, battle shields, Masai beads and necklaces and bows & arrows are all up for grabs in the high streets and street markets of Moshi and Arusha.
Kilimanjaro coffee makes for a good and inexpensive present for the person who’s been feeding your cat while you’ve been away; buy it in a wooden box or velvet bag in a souvenir store, or pick a simple bag of it up for a third of the price in a supermarket. Though not grown on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, the organic Africafe has been described by one enthusiastic reader as the best instant coffee in the world and an affordable souvenir.
Another popular Tanzanian souvenir is the kanga, a woman’s skirt/sarong that usually has a message or motto running through the print, or the similar but smarter and message-less kitenge.
It depends on your taste, of course, but Zanzibar is widely reckoned to have a better selection and higher quality of souvenirs in Tanzania. Some of them, particularly the carved door jambs and furniture, are lovely, though difficult to get home. Furthermore, these people are extremely tough negotiators, know the true price of everything and bargains are few.
But regardless of how awkward you feel about haggling, and how futile it might be anyway, you must do it. The seller will expect you to, and will have a lower price in his head before negotiations even begin. Because it’s normal to haggle in Tanzania, and so you should haggle too. So don’t be shy – be brave, and who knows what kind of bargain you might secure?