Nairobi Shopping

Nov 21st, 2005, 02:11 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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Nairobi Shopping

I thought I'd read a post on a shop in Nairobi that was popular for souvenir shopping. I thought some of the posters even said they found the prices more reasonable than those on the safari routes. I did a search but couldn't seem to find this post again. Can anyone help me out? Thanks! Lin
travellin is offline  
Nov 21st, 2005, 04:10 PM
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Hi travellin,
We were in Nairobi last June and visited an arts and crafts center called Utamaduni. It is a collection of quite a few small shops having a nice selection of art work, carvings, jewelry, etc, and is located close to the Karen Blixen museum and the Giraffe Center.
wjsonl is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2005, 04:07 AM
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Hi Travellin,

It must be this:
Nyamera is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2005, 04:14 AM
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Lin -

You're probably looking for the Collector's Den, located on the street level (believe it's Simba Street) of the Hilton Hotel in the central business district of Nairobi. All the guides know where this is or your hotel concierge can direct you by foot (depending on from where in relation to your hotel) or take a taxi to/from. The prices are good, a wide variety of items, pleasant staff. In the rear room they have more expensive items... many of which are unique jewelry pieces. They price in USD and accept credit cards which are billed in USD. It's possible they bill in Euro also, but since we've never needed this, can't be certain.

Utamanduni is located in the suburb of Karen where you will find a number of small shops under one roof... with a wide variety of items. The quality and prices of most may be higher than you'll find at Collector's Den... depends on what you plan to spend.

Nearby is Kazuri Beads (beads and pottery) made by local women's cooperative. So many great items, it can be difficult to make a decision. Their factory is next door and you can leisurely walk through, watch how items are made - each step in the process, from the small clay pieces, shaping, painting, firing in the kiln, the glazing, etc. - your questions are welcomed.

The two latter shops are in close proximity to one another and easy to visit should you also be stopping at the Karen Blixen Museum and Giraffe Center.

Of course, most hotels have sourvenir shops, with many of the same items, though prices tend to be more expensive (but not by much) than you'd find at the Collector's Den.

At souvenir stands along your safari route, prices can be ascompetitive as at the Collector's Den - some even less, but at this stops, be prepared to bargain for better prices.

So, there are many choices. But if you find something you like while on the road and the price is what you'd be willing to spend (and do consult with your guide who can advise if bargaining is appropriate) - buy it. You may not find some items elsewhere. We've shopped at all of the above and don't begrudge ourselves if we find a lower price elsewhere... it rarely amounts to more than a few dollars.

Hope this helps.
Nov 22nd, 2005, 05:33 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 331

I can highly recommendbr />
Blue Rhino in the Village shopping centre.
Banana Box
The Spinning Web

luckykat is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2005, 03:22 PM
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We are not big shoppers but when we renovated our house this summer we left one wall empty.. just waiting for the perfect souvenir from Kenya! Will check out your suggestions.
travellin is offline  
Nov 24th, 2005, 07:32 AM
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Thanks Nyamera!
That was exactly the post I was looking for!!
travellin is offline  
Nov 25th, 2005, 10:19 AM
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I usually shop for souvenirs at City Market where I also buy passion fruit. I think Iíve paid 100 shillings a kilo. Though if you live in the USA I believe youíll have problems in customs if you bring passion fruits. And maybe ďsouvenirsĒ isnít the right word for something that doesnít last.

Even though Iíve walked around a lot in Nairobi Iíve missed The Collectorís Den. I remembered the post because it might have had fatal consequences for me. As Iím having problems earning money to be able to return to East Africa, I ordered some goods from The Collectors Den that Iíll try to sell. I got a very good price Ė though shipping was expensive Ė and everything, except a broken tusk and a cracked spoon, arrived rapidly and in perfect condition. The problem is that Iím not exactly a businesswoman, but at least Iíve found a Christmas fair where I can sell.

Nyamera is offline  
Nov 25th, 2005, 01:11 PM
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Nyamera, good luck with your business venture.

I brought back several 'kiondo' for my friends and they liked them so much that I had to order 2 dozen more and they were sold within a month. However I wasn't in it for the money; just wanted to accommodate people who wante to have these beautiful and colourful woven basket-bags. I've seen them being sold here in North America for more than 4 what I sold mine for.

Do you know whether shops like 'Kenya Bunduki', 'Gems and Jewels' and the art gallery on Kenyatta Avenue (I forget it's name but it was a very popular one) still exist in Nairobi ? All these places had wonderful African Art and Crafts (and antique items) for sale.
Travellin', you might want to look them up if they are still there.

A hundred shillings for a kilo of passion fruit ? (we used to call them 'matunda') Wow, things sure have become expensive in Kenya. We had lots of bushes in our garden (we lived near Karen) and would collect the fruit - the crinkled purple ones, not the larger yellow/egg shaped fruit, though we had those kind too - and squeeze them for their juice. An ice cold glass with 'nyama choma' !

Those were the days.

Mathieu is offline  
Nov 25th, 2005, 02:24 PM
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Thanks, Mathieu.
There are so many shops and I donít remember their names. There is a gallery called Watatu on, or near Ė the entrance is somewhere behind - Kenyatta Avenue. Iíve walked past it, but Iíve never entered.

At home I would get three passion fruits for 100 shillings, but I do remember that at City Market they were cheaper last year than this. And I suppose you donít get the best price in the centre of Nairobi. The big ones were even more ďexpensiveĒ. I wanted ďnormal lookingĒ passion.

I havenít got any kiondos (viondo). Iíve got lots of wooden animals and now I really wonder who is going to buy them. I have some kikoys and Iím able to sell them a lot cheaper than at this site

Nyamera is offline  
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