Traveling and shopping often go hand-in-hand and there’s nothing more exciting than shopping away from home! Shopping lets you explore the local markets and helps you interact with the locals. You get to know a lot more about the culture of a place by shopping rather than just traveling around!
Home to over 40 ethnic tribes, Kenya is a great place to shop for souvenirs.
Here are a few items you should get that can only be found in Kenya:
A Kiondo is a bag made by the Kikuyu, Taita, and Kamba tribes of Kenya. The bag is hand-woven and it takes about 2 weeks to make a single bag! To make the bag, the outer layers of a plant called “Sisal” are used. The outer layers are dried and then woven together to make threads. The threads are then used to make the bag!
A Kiondo is a nice bag to take to beaches because of its color and texture! They’re available in interesting vivid colors and patterns.
Where to find: Kiondos are commonly found all over Kenya! From local markets to hotel vendors, everyone sells these traditional bags. Here are some popular places where you can find kiondos:
- The Maasai Market
- City Market
- Kariakor Market
- Adelphi leather store, Yaya Center.
Price range: The price range depends on where you get the bag from. If you’re getting it from a local market, it will cost only a few dollars but if you’re getting it from a branded store like Adelphi, it can cost $20 and up.
Kiondo, Image Source: Afrikrea.Com
Kazuri Bead Jewellery and Maasai Bead Jewellery
Kazuri beads are colorful, handmade Kenyan beads usually made of ceramic. The beads are used to make intricate pieces of jewellery like bracelets, necklaces, and earrings.
Maasai beads, on the other hand, can be made of plastic and glass. They’ve been around for centuries in the Maasai culture and traditionally, women took part in beadwork and making jewelry out of the beads to earn a living. The color of the beads also has immense value to the Maasai culture whereby red signifies blood and power and green signifies peace and success.
Where to find:
- Kazuri Bead Factory, Westgate Shopping Center, Nairobi.
- Directly from the Maasai tribe when you visit Masai Mara.
- Karaoke Market
- City Market
Price range: A few dollars.
Kazuri Bead Jewellery, Image Source: Afar.Com
Kisii stone carvings are carvings made of soapstone that are shaped into a variety of materials like plates, dishes, animal sculptures, and other decorative items. Originally, Kisii cravings came from the Tabaka region of Kenya. However, they can now be found in local markets all over the country!
Where to buy: All local markets and souvenir shops.
Price range: Differs from place to place but usually a few dollars at maximum.
Kisii Carvings, Image Source: Untilitsallgone.Com
Kitengela Glass Art
Kitengela glass art involves using recycled glasses to make intricate glass decorations like vases, animal sculptures, furniture, and painted windows. What makes these art pieces special is that they’re created by a community of disabled artists who hand-blow the recycled glass to form the various objects. Therefore, you’re not only getting a beautiful decorative piece of glass, but you’re also supporting disabled people while doing so if you buy these are pieces!
Where to find: The main place to shop for these masterpieces is Kitengela Hot Glass Ltd’s Studio, which is an amazing studio with hundreds of items on display! It’s a beautiful studio and will leave you mesmerized.
Price range: It depends on the size of the objects. Small-sized objects start at $10 while bigger objects like glass furniture can cost about $100 or more.
Kitengela Glass Factory, Image Source: 1-Day-Tours-In-Kenya.Com
This homemade beer has a fruity flavor and is traditionally prepared by the Kikuyu tribe using the Muratina fruit. Honey and sugarcane are also used at times.
Where to buy from: You can buy this beer from local markets! Make sure it’s sealed, though. If you want to try a good place, head over to The River Café in Nairobi where they also offer tasting.
Price range: Depends on where you get it from. $3 and upward!
Muratina Tree, Image Source: HapaKenya.Com
Akala sandals are made from recycled, old tyres! They’re durable and easy to wear! Most of them are versions of flipflops.
Where to buy: You can buy them from any local market all over the country! Some examples are: City Market Maasai Market Village Market
Price range: $3 and above!
Akala Sandals, Image Source: AkaladeSwagg.Blogspot.Com
Maasai shuka or Maasai blankets are traditionally worn by African men and women who drape the blankets over their shoulders. The blankets are made from wool or cotton. They have a red base and often contain one more color like blue or red. Buying a Maasai blanket is a great idea because they have so many uses! You can use them as a blanket in the winter, as a throw for your couch, and even on picnics! They have endless uses and are definitely worth buying.
Where to buy: It’s best to get Maasai blankets from local Maasai markets. Some authentic places to get these include:
- Biashara Street
- Westgate Shopping Mall
- Yaya Centre
Price range: Usually costs $2-$4 if you get them from a local market. The price range can go higher if you get them from malls!
Maasai Shuka, Image Source: Pinterest.Com
Kikoy/Kikoi are similar to Maasai shuka, except for the fact that kikoys are more colorful and vibrant. You can make dresses out of kikoys too! They’re lighter and thinner than Maasai blankets. In Kenya, kikoys are used by women to carry their babies around their shoulders!
Where to buy: You can find kikoys in all the local markets!
Price range: Kikoys are cheap. You can get them for about $1 to $5!
Kikoy, Image Source: Pinterest.Com
Kenyan Art Pieces
Kenya is home to about 40 different tribes! Each tribe has its unique art pieces that the tribesmen and women create, although it may be common to see influences of tribes that live or lived closely together. For example, Samburu beaded bowls are very famous!
Where to buy: Whenever you visit the local community of any tribe, chances are that they have a shop that sells local traditional crafts and art pieces. It’s best to buy from the community directly because they’re authentic.
Price range: The price range varies greatly according to the location, size and type of art material.
Kenyan Art Pieces, Image Source: Pinterest.Com