15 Must-Have Souvenirs to Pick Up In Tanzania
Finding the right souvenirs to take home from your holiday can be difficult, whether you are buying for your family, friends and loved ones. However, Tanzania is filled with many places filled with authentic, cultural and thoughtful souvenirs that you won’t want to go home without. You’ll definitely take home beautiful memories of the East African country. Here are some of the must-have souvenirs to pick up in Tanzania:
1. Handcrafted Leather Items
Tanzania has incredible handcrafted leather items at very reasonable prices. The items are of pure leather and are made by the skilled craftsmen from locally sourced raw materials. One of the best places to buy these authentic leather items is Arusha. You’ll find items like as belts, shoes, wallets, handbags and more.
Obviously! Tanzanite is a gemstone only found in Tanzania which makes it a unique souvenir for friends and family. It could be in rings, bracelets, earrings or whatever you want. It is cheaper in Arusha because that is where it is mined.
3. Kanga and Kitenge
Kangas are beautiful and light pieces of clothes with some writings at the bottom and usually worn by women around East Africa. They can be wrapped like sarongs at the beach or head wraps and one can come up with their own unique ways of wearing them.
4. Wood Carvings and Sculptures
Artists use their tribal myths and tales as an inspiration to creating these breathtaking woodworks. The Makonde people’s culture has inspired and influenced this wood carvings a great deal. They make them from Ebony wood and have a black or deep brown colour and are carved and polished in fine detail.
Fine artists paint glorious images of many things. From Maasai groups, Mt. Kilimanjaro, wild animals, birds, rural homes, landscapes and everything in between. If you love paintings you will be happy to pick one or two at any of the gift shops or in the craft markets.
Paintings in Tanzania
6. Ceramic art and pottery
Pottery is an old tradition that is still widely practiced in Tanzania and East Africa. In the northeast and southeast of Tanzania, the Pare people make some delightful ceramic items. You can pick up ceramic plates, cups, candle-holders, flower vases and other beautiful items.
The northern parts of Tanzania and Zanzibar have the most interesting and outstanding artefacts. You can pick up traditional swords, Sultan style knives, gourds, shields among other items.
8. Stone Carvings
Local soapstone is used to produce some nice and beautiful decorative items that you can have as gifts and souvenirs. Get some stone carvings for your loved ones form any of the local shops in the country. The stone carvings come in form of items like ashtrays, chess pieces, animal carvings, soap dishes, and egg cups.
9. Jewellery and Beadwork
Tribal beaded jewellery has significant meanings in local tradition among the communities but is also used as decorative ornaments. You can easily find any of the beaded accessories almost anywhere from gift shops to craft markets and up the streets. You can pick up beaded necklaces, bracelets, earrings, sandals, belts, and watch straps.
Jewellery and Beadwork
10. Music Instruments
Like in most African countries, communities used musical instruments to pass sound messages and also for traditional ceremonies. Every region has its own type of music and instruments and that influences the sizes and shapes of the instruments. You can pick up small drums made from the animal skin as well as string instruments closely related to the fiddle or the guitar.
11. Glassware from Shanga Shop
Down in Arusha at Shanga Shop, they make jewellery, homeware and glassware from recycled material including melted glass from liquor bottles. They put an artistic touch to it and the end products are amazing. You can buy glass ornaments, lamps and other home décor items.
12. Woven Items
You can buy cotton hand-woven blankets, shopping baskets, table mats, laundry baskets and wall hangings all as gift items. These items feature tough papyrus grass coil woven with glistening star grass and strips of locally woven cotton kitenge cloth. You will love the beautiful and functional woven items in your home.
13. Maasai Shuka
This is a decorative fabric made from hand-woven cotton of the Maasai people and is quite popular with locals and visitors alike. It is made in different colours and patterns and widely used to protect one from cold and dust during such seasons and on safari too.
Tanzanian communities of the Nyamwezi, Sukuma, and Zigua are known to have quite skilled and renowned mask carvers. The masks have distinct features depending on which community they come from and their tribal function. Collectors and mask lovers can pick some up as wall hangings and décor.
15. Food Spices
Africa is generally rich in cuisine but you probably don’t consider food items as souvenirs but they are! More so spices. It’s a good way to sample and have international food experience and share stories with friends and family back home. It also gives them a taste of a country far away from them. Zanzibar has really rich spices you can choose from. Remember to cross-check with border controls in your home country before travelling with food items.
Take a Little Piece of Tanzania Home With You
With so many souvenirs and curio items to choose from, you will be spoilt for choice when deciding what to take back home. Take a bit of Tanzania back for you and your loved ones and cherish your trip for years to come.
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