Zanzibar is a great place for shopping and
bargain hunting. You will inevitably come across the odd ashtray
carved out of a coconut shell, but there are enough locally made
arts and crafts to fill a whole suitcase with tasteful
The main shopping area is Gizenga Street, which is lined with
shops stocking Brass-Studded Zanzibar Chests, Tinga Tinga
Paintings, colorful pairs of Kanga and Kikoi, Woven Mats, Fans
and Food Covers, hand-embroidered Cushions and Pillow Cases,
Clay Pots for burning Incense and Candles, Mobiles made from
coconut shells and Spice Baskets. Coconut massage oil with
lemongrass, bitter orange soap and other locally produced
products are affordable and often unavailable anywhere else.
Antique stores are well worth digging around in. Almost all sell
Stamps, Coins, Currency Bills, Furniture, Metal Advertising
Signs, Antique Clocks and Ceramic Bowls left over from the
colonial era, as well as Copper and Brass plates and other dusty
relics from Zanzibar’s past.
Resist the temptation to buy products made from endangered
animals, such as sea turtles, or souvenirs made from coral,
shells or other marine life, some are protected under Zanzibari
law and many are collected from the reef while still alive,
causing untold damage to the delicate ecosystems. Finally,
although some bartering is expected and part of the fun,
remember the Zanzibaris have to make a living too.