By Azure Lee
Tanzania is a land of contrasts, from the vast plains of the Serengeti to the sparkling waters of Zanzibar's beaches and from the rugged peaks of Kilimanjaro to the bustling streets of Dar es Salaam. But it's not just the stunning scenery and abundant wildlife that draw visitors to this East African country. Tanzania is also a shopper's paradise, offering a wealth of unique and authentic souvenirs that are sure to delight travelers of all tastes and budgets. With markets, bazaars, and shops scattered throughout the country, shopping in Tanzania is an adventure in itself and an opportunity to discover the rich culture and history of this fascinating country. In this article, we'll explore the best things to buy in Tanzania when you go there.
Famous Things To Buy In Tanzania: Top 6 Must-Have Souvenirs
Tanzania is a destination that offers a wealth of unique and authentic souvenirs for visitors to take home. Here are the best souvenirs from Tanzania, and you can make the most of your shopping experience and bring home a piece of this beautiful country to treasure for years to come.
Kanga and Kitenge
There are fabrics that are particular to each African nation. And Tanzania is also not an exception. No matter which tribe a Tanzanian belongs to, there are two main traditional fabrics that adorn their clothes. The names of them are Kanga and Kitenge (Ki here is pronounced chi-tenge). The Kitenge is more common in East Africa and is heavier and larger in size than the Kanga, which is more local to Tanzania and is constructed of a lighter cloth.
Whether you're looking for a colorful scarf, a stylish dress, or a unique piece of home decor, Kanga and Kitenge fabrics are definitely among the most famous things to buy in Tanzania. They are fairly inexpensive and available at markets and shops throughout Tanzania, and you can even find them in designer boutiques that have given them a modern twist. Many of the fabrics even include the Tanzanian flag and are brightly colored with distinctive swirls and patterns. Kanga and Kitenge make great gifts or souvenirs to take back home, as they are not only beautiful but also represent the rich culture and history of Tanzania.
Kanga and Kitenge fabrics are definitely among the most famous things to buy in Tanzania
Tanzanite is a rare blue-violet gemstone that is found only in Tanzania, making it one of the highly sought-after souvenirs from Tanzania for visitors to the country.
Tanzanite is often used in jewelry, and you can find it set in rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets at jewelry stores and markets throughout Tanzania. The gemstone comes in a range of shades, from light violet-blue to deep blue-purple, and its rarity and beauty have made it a valuable investment for collectors and jewelry enthusiasts. While being extremely pricey, it is less expensive to purchase it straight from Tanzanian mines, where it is obtained. Because of its proximity to the mine, Arusha is the best location to purchase the gemstone at a reasonable price.
When shopping for Tanzanite in Tanzania, it's important to be aware of counterfeit stones, as this is a common problem in the market. To avoid being scammed, always buy from reputable dealers and ask for a certificate of authenticity.
Tanzanite is one of the highly sought-after souvenirs from Tanzania for visitors to the country
Handmade Wood Carvings
Handmade wood carvings are one of the many unique things to buy in Tanzania. The country has a rich tradition of wood carving, with skilled artisans producing beautiful and intricate pieces. From Tinga Tinga-style carvings of brightly colored animals and landscapes to Makonde carvings of human figures, there are many styles and designs to choose from.
These wood carvings can be found at markets and art galleries throughout Tanzania, and they come in a wide range of styles and designs. Many of the carvings feature animals such as lions, elephants, and giraffes, while others depict traditional Tanzanian symbols and patterns.
Knowing the sort of wood used is crucial when purchasing handcrafted wood carvings in Tanzania. Ebony and mahogany, which are both hard and sturdy woods that are ideal for carving, are used in several of the sculptures. Many carvings, meanwhile, are produced from less expensive, softer woods, which could not endure as long.
Tinga Tinga Paintings
The nature and vibrant culture of Tanzania are shown in the Tinga Tinga paintings. This is for everyone who enjoys art, especially those who appreciate works with rich historical context and significance.
Originating in the 1960s, this style of painting is characterized by bold colors, simplified forms, and whimsical depictions of animals and landscapes. Tinga Tinga paintings are typically created using enamel or acrylic paint on canvas, and they are often small for convenient transportation. While there may be mass-produced knockoffs available, an authentic Tinga Tinga painting will have a unique style and quality that sets it apart. The price of Tinga Tinga paintings can vary widely depending on the size, style, and artist, but they are generally affordable and make for a great addition to any Tanzania souvenirs collection.
Tinga tinga painting workshop and store selling Tanzanian style painting, Kendwa, Zanzibar
Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices are useful and practical things to buy in Tanzania, and they are a great choice for those wondering what souvenirs to buy in Tanzania. The country's fertile soil and diverse climate make it an ideal location for growing a wide variety of herbs and spices, including cloves, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and black pepper.
Zanzibar, which is often called the "Island of Spices", is the best place to buy herbs and spices in Tanzania. Here, you can visit spice farms and markets to see how they are grown and processed and to purchase high-quality, fresh spices to take a taste of Tanzania home with you. Popular Zanzibar spices include cloves, which are used in everything from curries to chai tea, and vanilla, which is often used in desserts.
In addition to Zanzibar, there are also many markets throughout Tanzania where you can buy herbs and spices as souvenirs. These markets offer a wide range of products, from whole spices to pre-made spice blends and teas. Make sure that you're purchasing high-quality, fresh products. Look for vendors who store their products in a cool, dry place and who can provide information on the sourcing and processing of the spices.
Herbs and spices are useful and practical things to buy in Tanzania
Tanzanian Woven Towels
Last on our list of the best things to buy in Tanzania is Tanzanian woven towels. These towels, which are traditionally referred to as Kikoi, are colorful, vibrant, and created with recognizable stripes. These are long pieces of clothing that are woven into luxurious towels with a variety of uses.
Kikois can be found in markets and shops throughout the country, particularly in coastal areas like Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar. They are frequently used as decorative throws, tablecloths, and even as wall hangings, in addition to being used as apparel.
One of the unique features of kikois is their versatility. They can be worn as sarongs, skirts, or dresses, and can even be used as scarves or headwraps. They are also lightweight and easy to pack, making them a great souvenir to bring home from Tanzania.
When To Shop Souvenirs From Tanzania: A Guide To The Best Seasons For Things Hunting
If you're planning a shopping trip to Tanzania, it's important to consider the timing of your visit. The ideal time to visit Tanzania for shopping largely depends on what you're looking to buy and where you plan to shop. For instance, if you're interested in purchasing handmade crafts or wood carvings, the best time to visit is during the dry season, from June to October. This is when many artisans and craftsmen set up their stalls in popular markets and trade fairs across the country. If you're interested in purchasing Tanzanite, the best time to visit is during the peak tourist season from December to February, when prices are generally higher, but there are more options available.
Regardless of when you choose to visit Tanzania, be sure to pack light and bring an empty suitcase, as you'll likely find plenty of items to bring back home. Ready to start planning your shopping trip to Tanzania? It's important to make sure you have all the necessary documentation in order. This includes obtaining the appropriate visa for your travel.
By using our service through the Tanzania Immigration Services website, you can apply for a Tanzania visa online, which saves you time and hassle. The online process is simple and easy to follow, and you can expect a quick turnaround time for your application to be processed. Contact us today to learn more about our travel services and how we can help you plan the perfect shopping trip to Tanzania.