Handcrafted Souvenirs You Should Buy When You Visit Tanzania

Tinga tinga art paintings
Tanzania is home to some of the most unique handcrafted souvenirs in Africa. Let’s take a look at some of the items you can buy when you visit Tanzania and bring home along with you.

Millions of tourists flock Tanzania every single and when they leave, they take home authentic Maasai handmade crafts like wood carving, woven baskets, colorful fabrics, and jewelry.

Maasai Items

A masaai wearing tribal jewelry
Take home authentic Maasai handmade crafts like wood carving, woven baskets, colorful fabrics, and jewelry. A favorite souvenir to pick up is the Maasai jewelry, usually made of colorful beads. You’ll find them in bracelets, necklaces, and footwear. The thumb rule is to haggle for a price that you can afford to buy a particular item. The airport and hotel’s shops can be a little expensive, but you can find affordable Maasai crafts at the local markets and Maasai villages.

Kangas

Khangas (kangas) are beautiful sarong-like pieces of cloth with Swahili sayings and messages of love embedded at the bottom. They are mostly worn by women in Tanzania and East Africa. You’ll find Kangas at the local markets across Tanzania. If you are in Dar, you can buy kangas at the Kariakoo market, around the south end of Jamhuri St, or Uhuru St. in the Mnazi Mmoja district near Kariakoo. You can go to the market with a local who is familiar with kangas to get it at an affordable rate.

Tinga Tinga African Paintings

Painting of a lion drinking near the ngorongoro crater
If you love African paintings, you will be fascinated by the Tinga paintings. These fantastic local paintings are found in the alley off of Haile Selassie Road on the Peninsula or at the Slipway market. Above is a Tingatinga African painting of lions and buffalos near the Ngorongoro Crater.

Asilia Leathers

When in Arusha, you can purchase authentic and unique handcrafted leather items such as wallets, shoes, handbags, belts and more. The items are 100% pure leathers made with locally sourced raw materials.

Carvings and Crafts

Crafts and carvings in Tanzania
The Mwenge Carvers’ Market is where you can buy first handmade crafts in Dar. You can watch artists make astonishing crafts. Handmade carvings are sold in the local markets throughout Tanzania. The sheer volume of similar crafts sold in many stalls can be confusing, but you can meet any of the local artists to produce a customized craft for you.

Swahili Furniture

There are several companies and shops in Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, and Arusha, which specializes and features furniture pieces made with old wood materials including woods used in making dhow boats. Zamani Dhow Furniture and Nzito Furniture are some of the best places to purchase unique pieces of Swahili furniture made from old abandoned dhow woods such as tables, chairs, and cabinets.

Tanzanite

Tanzanite
When it comes to purchasing this expensive gemstone, Tanzanite, you can visit Arusha where it is sold cheaply because it is mined there. Tanzanite can only be found in Tanzania, making it a unique souvenir for friends and families at home. If you are not familiar with the gems, you can make your purchase from some reputable shops in the country.

Schwari stores in Arusha and Dar es Salaam offers a wide range of locally-made items such as handbags, pouches, clothing, pieces of jewelry, boots, and flats, beach wears, and scarfs. There is a craft shop at the Boma museum, where you have an assortment of crafts and gifts items such as scarves, wraps, notepads, books, fabric-hanging storage, and soft toys. Items like candles, soap, lip balm, and honey wine are also some of the things you can buy in Tanzania.

This history and culture of Zanzibar make it a great place for hunting for artifacts; antique Persian and Arab style furniture, old clocks, marine and ship decorations and carvings, intricate wood carvings, wooden door frames, exquisitely designed, ornate lights and chandeliers fit for royals. The Cultural Art Centre in Stone Town has a shop where you can buy stunning traditional and contemporary paintings, craft ware items and wooden animals. Most of the handmade crafts are made by local handicraft cooperatives in Zanzibar.

The cultural center, Cultural Heritage located on the outskirts of Arusha boasts a variety of curio shops, art gallery, jewelry boutique, and a bargain center where you can purchase some ornaments, antiques, jewelry, local crafts, quality clothing as well as precious stones such as emeralds, diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and opals.

Prior to buying souvenirs, hopping on Tanzanian tours will give you an unforgettable African adventure. Check out these tours in Tanzania you might like!

10 Days Tanzania Luxury Sky Safari

8 Days Serena Safari Package with Cultural Hike

Written by: Branded Africa