5 Best Places to Shop in Mozambique

Machilla Magic Craft Shop Vilankulo

Fodor's choice

When you shop here, you won’t only be buying lovely handmade things such as bags, hats, jewelry, bead and metal work, hammocks, carvings and handcrafted furniture, but you’ll also be helping to support over 60 local families, who, when fishing yields dramatically declined because of netting and trawling, learned to create unique and sustainable fair trade crafts. Sandy and Snowy Somerville, who lived in the village of Macunhe, 15 miles (25 km) north of Vilankulo, started the community uplift enterprise in 2002, training the local people, and giving them tools, raw materials, and design ideas. You’ll find it hard to go away empty handed.

Artes Makonde Pemba

You'll find a wide selection of classy crafts and carvings from all over Mozambique at this gallery/craft center, particularly the famed Makonde wood carvings. And if you do fall in love with one of the arresting traditional or modern figures or sculptures, ceremonial masks, or vibrant local paintings, the gallery will safely ship them home for you by sea or air. They will also custom-make something for you. You'll find another branch of Artes Makonde at the Pemba Beach Hotel & Spa.

Avenida da Marginal, Pemba, Mozambique

Mercado Central Maputo

The safe (but always beware pickpockets) and lively covered market in Baixa, Maputo's historic city center, was built in 1901. It has everything from fresh fish and shellfish to vegetables and fruit, and is choc-a-bloc with photo opportunities. Load up on packets of fresh cashew nuts (Mozambique’s number two export)—plain, roasted, salted or peri-peri (hot and spicy). It’s also a great place to buy wood carvings, batiks, and all kinds of curios. Be sure to hone your bargaining skills before you plunge in.

Av. 25 de Septembro, Maputo, Mozambique

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Mercado Municipal Vilankulo

Have your camera ready when you visit this bustling central market known as the "old market." It's hot, crowded, and a bit squalid in places, but it's worth visiting to buy lengths of colorful Dutch wax cloth called capulanas, which the local women wear as sarongs (be sure to barter), and packets of fresh cashew nuts (with or without peri-peri seasoning). But Mercado Municipal is basically a produce and fish market where you can eyeball freshly caught sardines, squid and other local fish.

If you are self-catering, or want to see the latest catch of the day, visit at 4pm.

Tilandia Art Gallery

For something special, check out this gallery, which features excellent paintings and sculpture by contemporary Mozambican artists. They will ship your purchases home.

av. Julius Nyerere 452, Maputo, 452, Mozambique
Shopping Details
Rate Includes: Weekdays 8–6, Sat. 8–1