Shopping in Mombasa

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Shopping in Mombasa can be a great activity to enjoy the skilled tailoring and basket making of many of its residents. Many of the best souvenirs that you will find here will be like many others found throughout the country in that they will be handmade and vibrant in color. For the best bargains in handicrafts and other inexpensive souvenirs, stick to market stalls and roadside stands. Some popular souvenirs when visiting Mombasa are sisal baskets, tribal beads, wood carvings and Makonde statues.

Tailored Clothing

Biashara Street is the best spot in the city to find kanga (women’s printed wraps) or kikoi (men’s sarongs). Along with purchasing traditional wear, Mombasa is also known for its skilled tailors and many are located along Nehru Road. If you are looking to have an African shirt made to order, Mombasa Tailoring Mart is the place to go. If you need a safari suit, try Umed Mode.

Mombasa Handicrafts

For souvenirs from Mombasa, stop in to any of the numerous shops along Moi Avenue and Nyerere Street. Here you will find plenty of the traditionally woven baskets as well as a wide selection of local spices. You will find numerous peddlers vying to sell you handicrafts as you walk down the street in some areas of Mombasa. Don’t feel overly intimidated by this, as there is no need to feel pressured to buy more than you want. Many of these items will be the same or, at least same quality, if purchased from different vendors. If quality is an issue for you, check out established shops selling handicrafts.

The Akamba Handicraft Association Cooperative Society is known for its animal woodcarvings, while the Bombolulu Workshops and Cultural Center are the premiere locations to pick up carvings, clothes, jewelry and other crafts.

Pricing and Bargaining

Most street vendors will quote you a price for their wares based on what they think you will pay, not how much their product is worth. Be prepared to negotiate while shopping at many handicraft shops as well as on the street. Most vendors will come down to a fair price, while still leaving themselves a reasonable profit, but it will always be necessary to bargain to obtain a lower price. Examine closely the quality of any goods you are buying before purchasing to avoid problems with fakes made of lesser quality materials.


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