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 loads of locally made arts and crafts to fill a whole suitcase with souvenirs!
The main shopping area for curio shopping is Gizenga Street, which is lined with shops stocking brass-studded Zanzibar chests, Tinga Tinga paintings, colourful pairs of Kanga and Kikoi, woven mats, fan 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 infused 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.
Try and resist the temptation to buy products made from endangered animals, such as sea turtles, or souvenirs made from coral, shells or other marine life as 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, do remember that the Zanzibaris have to make a living too.