Feb 3rd, 2006, 02:57 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 31

This may be dumb stuff, but I haven't seen it discussed.

I'm doing a safari in Tanzania (12 days). I need to come home with a few unique gifts for family members.

What sorts of (small) things can one find that are clearly unique? Where does one buy those sort of things?

Specific recommendations appreciated.
boomerm3 is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2006, 07:56 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,214
Wooden and sandstone carvings of animals are one of the most popular and come in all sizes - I have tiny stone hippos that are about an inch high but have resisted the 2 metre tall wooden giraffes.

Quality varies greatly so hold out for a piece you love.

The masaai also sell some lovely beaded pieces, not just jewellery but also little purses and bowls too.

Kavey is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2006, 07:57 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,214
PS You'll see a lot of the same stuff across Tanzania and Kenya, not all of it that's touted as "made right here by my brother" actually is.

I don't worry about that - I simply look for items I love and buy only if I can negotiate what I feel is a fair price.
Kavey is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2006, 08:13 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 890
If you are staying in or near Arusha get someone to take you to a little local market down a side street near the clock tower. It's compact and intimate and you can get some wonderful batik prints, beaded jewellery, carvings etc. Bargain but bargain fair, Hmnn and ah, and then go to walk out and you'll hear, Okay brother okay friend, sister etc. DO NOT go to the Cultural heritage centre on Sokaine road - very expensive pieces, (but very nice) even small bracelets that you can buy for a few dollars you will pay 10 or more here.

Whereever you go people will approach you, always have a ready supply of low denom dollar notes and buy what you like to give as gifts. Actually a nice thing for yourself will be a local newspaper, something like Nipashe.

Take care,

Matt_from_England is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2006, 10:33 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 646
Lot to be said for shopping in the smaller local markets. However, be prepared to be literally swamped when on the street. In June 2004 during a brief stop in Arusha to check out a couple of speciality stores we were mobbed as soon as we got out of the vehicle. Obviously, we looked like tourists and I simply could not relax with so many individuals swarming around us. Everyone was quite polite but too overwhelming for us to enjoy. My wife and daughter enjoy shopping but not with so many anxious sellers around. We understand that street venders have to make a living as well as the next person. Maybe mid-June with fewer tourists around made us more vulnerable. Will try again on next visit. Does pay to compare prices between roadside venders, the heritage culture center and elsewhere.
rsnyder is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2006, 08:49 PM
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I'd go to the heritage center.....if you are looking for good quality arts and the like.....some real collectables for ur home.......yes, it's pricey but you are helping people somewhere, somehow!!!
Feb 4th, 2006, 02:30 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 890
The Heritage centre is worth a visit I agree but sooo expensive - it was the first day in Arusha when we visited it and thought, okay let's buy some things to take home. We did and spent around 200 USD. Later on further into the holiday we bought quality items for very low prices, for instance ebony carvings from the carver himself and we actually watched him finishing our piece.

If you have no other options for shopping go there, otherwise see what you encounter during the holiday and if worst comes to the worst you can always go there on the last day for an hour or so.

Matt_from_England is offline  
Feb 4th, 2006, 04:38 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 646
Double checked with Wife as to her recollection as to prices at cultural center and elsewhere. She reminded me we stopped there on way our of Arusha at beginning of safari. Got a good idea of prices which we then compared to as when we stopped at stands along the way or in the lodges (which were high). Thought we did much better at the center but we did not have the benefit of the local market downtown as Matt suggests. By all means do not pay the marked price at the center as you can knock down those somewhat. We really appreciated the items we purchased at the Masai village as we saw them being made on the spot.
rsnyder is offline  

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