What To Buy In Zanzibar, Tanzania

what to buy in zanzibar
Contributing Writer
| 4 min read

Comprising an archipelago, many small islands, and two large ones, Zanzibar is an autonomous region in Tanzania, situated on the Indian Ocean. It is a top beach destination in Africa for its pristine beaches and clear turquoise waters. One famous attraction that you shouldn’t miss, when you are in the area, is its capital, the Stone Town. This area has narrow streets, beautiful architecture, busy markets, and lots of small and interesting museums, which will tell you about the history of Zanzibar. Zanzibar is also home to a vibrant culture and rich history, making its artworks and handicraft unique and original. Make the most of your vacation by staying in one of the luxury hotels or luxury villas. If you’re looking for souvenirs, read on and discover our list of what to buy in Zanzibar.

1. Handmade, organic cosmetics

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

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Posted by Inaya Zanzibar on Monday, September 28, 2020

Handmade beauty products are a popular souvenir in Zanzibar. The island’s local women are famed for producing high-quality cosmetics and beauty products like handmade soaps, essential oils, kelp products, and more. The scents that these products emanate, such as cinnamon and clove, are long lasting and synonymous with Zanzibar. Do ensure that you buy them at the women’s cooperative to support the local economy of the city.

Inaya Zanzibar

Address: 62 A, Kenyatta Street, Stone Town, Zanzibar Urban/West, Tanzania

Opening Hours: Mon–Sun, 9am–7pm

Website: Inaya Zanzibar

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2. Kikoi fabrics

Source: Photo by Flickr user lucianf used under CC BY 2.0

Kikoi is a type of Sarong. It is a traditional, rectangular piece of cloth that is usually worn by wrapping it around the waist. You can also wear it as a sling to carry a baby, a head wrap, or a towel. It also comes in different colors. You can often get it for around 10 USD per piece. Your friends will surely love this traditional piece of cloth from Zanzibar, so make sure to get them one before leaving the city.

Kanga Kabisa

Opening Hours: 9am–7pm

Price: 10 USD and above

Website: Kanga Kabisa

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3. Products made from ukili (palm leaves)

Ukili product
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ramon FVelasquez used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Another popular souvenir in Zanzibar are palm-leaf products. They are typically made by hand-braiding palm leaves into bags, baskets, coasters, and more. This unique handicraft are often perceived as lovely home décor, so we’re certain friends and family back home would appreciate a product or two. Make sure to buy it at the women’s cooperative to help the locals and their economy.


Address: 62, Kenyatta Rd, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Website: Fahazi-Zanzibar

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4. Tingatinga paintings

Source: Photo by Flickr user lucianf used under CC BY 2.0

Are you an art enthusiast who is fond of bringing back home paintings from your travels abroad? If so, then you’ll probably be intrigued by the Tingatinga paintings. Each painting is made of Masonite and features tourist-oriented themes. It is also a convenient souvenir for it is small and can easily be carried from one place to another. You can often get this at the Slipway Market and the Haile Selassie Road.

Tingatinga Arts Co-operative Society

Address: Oysterbay, Haile Selassie Road, Dar es Salaam 23122, Tanzania

Opening Hours: Mon–Sun, 9am–6pm

Website: Tingatinga Arts Co-operative Society

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5. Kanga (traditional dress of the women)

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Petrberka used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

If you’re looking for a piece of clothing that is distinctly from Zanzibar, then you have to buy Kanga. The Kanga is the traditional dress in parts of Tanzania and East Africa. It is Sarong-like clothing with Swahili quotes, and love notes embedded at the bottom-most part of the cloth. You can usually get this from the local market, where it is usually cheaper.

Kanga Kabisa Shop

Address: Kenyatta Rd, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Website: Kanga Kabisa Shop

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6. Kitenge bags and cases

Kitenge bag
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Maryam Mgonja used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Kitenge is another version of Kanga except it doesn’t have the usual Swahili saying and love message at the bottom. This piece of cloth makes an excellent bag and cases for iPods, laptops, and more. It also makes a useful souvenir to give your friends and family back home, for it is cheap, durable, and very light.


Address: 62, Kenyatta Rd, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Price: 99 USD and above

Website: Fahazi-Zanzibar

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7. Maasai handmade crafts

Maasai troops crafts
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Maryam Mgonja used under CC BY-SA 4.0

One of the favorite souvenirs to buy in Zanzibar is the Maasai jewellery, which is colorful beadwork that forms bracelets, necklaces, anklets, and more. Aside from the jewellery, there are also lots of Maasai handicrafts, including baskets, wood carvings, and colorful fabrics. You can find these items anywhere in Zanzibar, especially in local markets and the Maasai Village. You can also get them at the airport or at your hotel, but for a more expensive rate.

The Souvenir Emporium

Address: Kenyatta Road, Shangani, Stone Town

Price: 9.50 USD and above

Website: The Souvenir Emporium

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8. Spices

Source: Photo by Flickr user Mathias Apitz (Mü... used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Zanzibar is also known for its abundance of spices. The common spices you’ll encounter are cloves, pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, and more. Sadly, there is no saffron available here, so if someone were to offer you saffron, be wary; it could well be a scam. Spice tours are also quite famous here. In case you’re planning to join one, make sure that you don’t buy spices directly from the farm, for they are usually more expensive than if you were to buy them at the market. You can also haggle in the market, something you cannot do on the farms.

Darajani Bazaar

Address: Stone Town, Zanzibar City, Tanzania

Price: 9 USD and above

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9. Handcrafted wooden animals

Source: Photo by Flickr user lucianf used under CC BY 2.0

Some of the best souvenirs you can buy from Zanzibar are handcrafted wooden animals. They are typically made of ebony and polished to perfection. You can also glean tribal tales and myths of Zanzibar from their carvings, stories that craftsmen use as an inspiration for their works. You can buy this at any woodcarving workshop in town and watch the process of making one.

Cultural Arts Centre Zanzibar

Address: Hamamni St, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Opening Hours: Mon–Sun, 9am–6pm

Price: 21 USD and above

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10. Zanzibari wooden chests

Wooden chest
Source: Piqsels

Are you looking for a souvenir that is uniquely from Zanzibar? If so, then you have to buy Zanzibar’s wooden chest. Just a fair warning; this item is not cheap. A distinctive characteristic of a Zanzibar chest is its being made of teak wood and with ornate brass plate. The more intricate the brass plate, the more expensive the chest is. It also comes in different sizes, so choose carefully.

Zanzibar Curio Shop

Address: 200 Hurumzi Street, Stone Town, Zanzibar City, Tanzania

Opening Hours: Mon–Sun, 9am–6pm

Website: Zanzibar Curio Shop

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The Zanzibar bazaar experience

Streets of Stone Town (7928137792)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Rod Waddington used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Apart from white, sandy beaches and clear waters, Zanzibar offers a variety of unique arts, superb handmade products, and delectable local cuisines. In case you want to bring home a part of Zanzibar with you, make sure to follow our list of what to buy. Do consider staying in one of the best hotels and vacation rentals as well, so you can take your time checking out each bazaar.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Michelle, a devoted writer and travel enthusiast, endeavors to make a living through her love for words. Her objective is to explore the world, connect with diverse individuals, and motivate others...Read more

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