There are lots of places to shop in Tanzania; in any of the big towns and cities, you would easily find well stocked shopping centers, shopping malls, supermarkets, banks and ATMs, foreign exchange bureau, cinema halls, nice restaurants, bars and open air markets. Below are some of the tips and major places to shop in Tanzania.
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Tanzania has many regions with various traditions and cultures, each region have its own unique local products, that they produce to earn them a living as well as to show case their rich historical background. One of the ways to promote and keep memories of the rich African traditions, is to buy this traditional artifacts, jewelry, carvings, precious stones, furniture, traditional cloths, music, art work among others.
No holiday would be complete without taking home some of this African souvenirs and gifts back home. The creativity of the local people and the diversity of cultures ensures that there is something to suit every taste and budget, you will be spoiled of choice.
Carved souvenirs and gifts are the most popular items for tourist and visitors in Tanzania; wood carving is popular in southeast of Tanzania (with the Makonde people). The Makonde people are well known for their creative African wood carvings; they major in house decoration and furniture, figures, masks and the Makonde art work. The Makonde art work is very popular and is one of the major wood carvings region in Africa.
Pottery is an old tradition with most community in Tanzania and is still practiced widely. Major pottery is done by the Pare and Kisi community in northeast and southwest of Tanzania; major pottery items include ceramic cups, plates and the cooking pots.
Stone carving is popular in eastern Tanzania by the Kisi people, they use the local soapstone to produce nice house hold decorations, souvenirs and gifts; the items would include animals carvings, chess pieces, egg cups, soap dishes, coasters, ash trays among others.
The Masaai jewelry and bead-work has also become famous to visitors and tourist in Tanzania; the beaded jewelries are used for physical decoration and have significant traditional meaning within the communities. The beaded items include bracelets, belts, watchstraps, sandals, mobile phone covers, ceremonial adornments necklaces among others.
One of the popular fabrics or traditional cloth is the Masai Shuka, it’s a decorative fabric made of hand woven cotton, they are found in different colors and patterns but mostly in red/black and red/blue. Normally they were worn by both men and women within the Masai community but today they also used by tourist on safari as a blanket to protect themselves from cold and dust.
The other common fabrics is the Kanga and Kikoi, they are traditional garments worn by both men and women in the coastal region and the great lake region. The Kanga has a center part called mji in swahill; mji usually contains a strip with a riddle or proverb message on it.
Most regions have their own traditional artifacts, but regions in the northern parts of Tanzania (Masai, Kisi, Pare, Sukuma) have most outstanding artifacts. This includes Gourds, Neck Pillows, Shields, Spears, bow and arrows, wrist knives, traditional swords (simis) among others.
Tinga Tinga art work, was first established in mid 1960s by the late Edward Tingatinga. He first started with simple wildlife and landscape oil paintings and late after his death in 1972 , the center was taken over by his relatives and friends. Today Tinga Tinga painting are very popular and sold worldwide. Its a great place to inspire photographers and animal lovers.
Every region have its own type of music and instruments, the most common one is the African drums; the drums comes in different sizes and shapes depending on the region, most drums are round and are covered with an animal skin, they can be flat based or three legged, they were used in traditional ceremonies or in passing sound messages. Other famous instruments are the string instruments; most popular one is the Zeze, which is similar to guitar or a fiddle and the other one is the Mariba.
If you want to watch traditional music, you can visit Alliance Francaise de Dar es Salaam or Tasuba Theatre and Conference Centerfor a live traditional music concert or organize with the locals for a concert. If you want to buy Tanzanian music; you can do so in any local music stall, shopping malls and shopping centers.
In Tanzania, there are various places to buy the African souvenirs and gift; below are some of the top places.