An Unexpected Shopping Paradise – A Look at Tanzania’s Markets



When you think of Tanzania, you might conjure images of Mount Kilimanjaro or the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti. But ever heard of a shopping paradise in Tanzania? Think of incredible traditional artisanal crafts, unique clothes, amazing food, and all kinds of trinkets and souvenirs to take home with you.

The markets in Tanzania are bustling with activity and color, and offer an exciting glimpse into the culture of this fascinating country. In this article, we’ll give you all the insider tips for navigating these markets like a pro—from what to wear and what to watch out for to where to buy your souvenirs or pick up something special for yourself. Get ready to embark on a shopping journey unlike any other!

Local Shopping Tips for an Unforgettable Experience

As a tourist visiting Tanzania, you’ll want to get the most out of your shopping experience. From traditional garments and souvenirs to local produce, there are lots of treasures to be found. To make sure you don’t miss out, here are few tips:

  • Be prepared with small change. Most local retailers will not have change for large notes and ships, so it’s worth keeping a supply of cash on hand in smaller denominations.
  • Ask questions. Some of the stalls will be proud to show off their wares and tell you about their culture, whereas other vendors may be more taciturn. Either way, it’s good practice to ask about cost before making a purchase and many Tanzanian vendors won’t expect bargaining either—so simply be sure to ask!
  • Be mindful. When taking pictures in the markets or interacting with locals, treat them as you would like to be treated if the situation were reversed. Respect each others’ privacy and personal space at all times.
  • Don’t forget the plastic bags! Many of the stalls won’t provide bags for your purchases so it pays to carry a couple of plastic bags when you visit the markets just in case they are needed.

How to Have a Sustainable and Meaningful Shopping Adventure in Tanzania

If you’re heading to Tanzania, you want to make sure that your shopping experience leaves a lasting, positive impression — both on the environment and the local community. Here’s how you can make that happen:

  • Support Small Businesses: Shop at small markets and stalls in the street rather than large chain stores—not only will this help keep money within local communities and avoid putting strain on the environment, but it also offers a more intimate shopping experience. You’ll have time to speak with vendors about their products and learn about local customs.
  • Go for Quality, Not Quantity: Don’t buy something just because it’s cheap. Instead, invest in a few quality products that are made to last. This is good for both your wallet and the environment—plus you get to support artisan businesses!
  • Bargain Ethically: From spices and crafts to fabrics, haggling is expected in many Tanzanian markets. Have fun with it—just remember to keep things respectful and always be willing to pay fair market prices for items.


Tanzania is a country filled with unexpected treasures and cultural experiences, making it the perfect place to explore and shop. From the bustling markets of Dar es Salaam to the romantic lakeside island of Zanzibar, there are endless opportunities to find unique and one-of-a-kind items. Whether you’re looking for colorful clothing, intricately-crafted jewelry, or hand-made souvenirs, you’ll find there’s much more to shopping in Tanzania than meets the eye.

So if you’re ready to explore the world of Tanzanian shopping, what are you waiting for? With a little bit of bargaining savvy and an adventurous spirit, you’ll find the experience unforgettable. Whether you’re a local, a tourist, or just a curious explorer – when in Tanzania, do as the Tanzanians do and explore the markets.