The number one thing to buy in Kenya is a traditional African handicraft. You can quite often buy these straight from the creator, ensuring that they receive 100% of the profit for their work. Wooden African masks and soapstone sculptures are popular choices for travellers. Another cultural gift to take away is a Maasai shuka, a brightly coloured strip of fabric that can be used as a scarf, tablecloth or picnic blanket.
If you’re looking to spice up your wardrobe a bit, Kenya is renowned for its brightly coloured jewellery, guaranteed to make a statement back home. A kiondo, a handwoven tote bag, is also a great fashion accessory and can be found in markets throughout the country. If you’re more into interior design then pick up a piece of batik art for your wall or some Kitengela glass to adorn your light fixtures.
Of course, no trip to Kenya would be complete without coming home laden with one of their most popular exports – coffee. It is recommended to buy it as whole beans rather than ground as it will keep its freshness for longer this way.
Is bargaining acceptable in Kenya?
The vast majority of market vendors in Kenya will expect you to haggle and, as a consequence, will often quote an outrageously high price at the outset. Don’t be put off by inflated prices as this is all part of the process of bargaining. It is important to remain polite throughout the transaction and to understand when it’s not worth haggling anymore and to just accept the price – negotiating over a matter of pennies doesn’t look good and they could do with the extra more than you. It is equally important to know when to walk away if a seller won’t budge on a price that is clearly too much.