You can take home more than just memories of your trip to Kenya. Kenya has on offer a wide range of diverse and unique products that make ideal gifts. In many hotels, lodges and camps throughout the country, you will find well stocked gift shops offering a wide array of traditional artifacts, jewellery, Kenya’s famous tea and coffee, all purpose fabric wraps to beautiful stone and wood carvings all inspired by the diverse range of cultures within Kenya’s borders.
Modern Nairobi, the safari capital of Africa, is a perfect place to combine the safari and shopping experience. Nairobi is a place of great contrasts where diverse cultures all become components of a unique Nairobi character. The city hosts several separate open markets on various locations around the city commonly christened the Maasai Market.
A stroll on the streets of Nairobi one is bound to find several streets lined with shops selling a wide selection of gifts and other memorabilia to crown your safari experience.
This marketplace offers a wide range of local arts and crafts from all parts of the country in one single spot where you can look around and bargain at will. These colorful markets are interesting to visit and a good place to find assorted indigenous gift items suited for this festive season and all year round. A quick enquiry from your hotel or tour agent can reveal where this rotational markets are held and on which days. Nairobi undeniably has numerous options for the ardent shopper.
Kitengela Glass Studios, located just outside the city of Nairobi, provides the perfect location for a day trip, ideal for the entire family. Here you can truly combine the safari and shopping experience. The studio borders Nairobi National Park, the world’s only wildlife capital. Visitors can take a game drive through the park on the way to the studios.
The ambience at the studio, complete with sculptures, unique architectural designs, mosaic pathways and a backdrop of the thriving modern Nairobi city is an unforgettable one. For those who do not fear heights, a walk across the suspension bridge linking Silole Sanctuary and Kitengela Glass provides the added thrill to the whole experience.
Visitors have the opportunity to see the artistic styles of the local skilled artisans as they transform recycled glass and scraps of other materials into beautiful works of art, jewellery and home-ware. The patience and skill devoted to the entire process is simply remarkable as is the final product.
Recycled materials form the bulk of the medium used – nothing is wasted.
Melted scrap glass is meticulously shaped to form beautiful glass pieces, walls and walkways lined with bottle tops and scrap glass pieces creating astonishing mosaics. Steam injected oil is used to power the furnaces, all aimed at getting the most out of the materials used and striving for a low lifetime energy consumption. The wide variety of glass hand made products available at Kitengela make exceptional gift items. Here’s a good guide on getting personalized gifts you can use when picking something for your loved ones when you visit Kenya.
Located on part of the farm once owned by Karen Blixen of ‘Out of Africa’ fame, at the base of the Ngong Hills in the leafy suburbs of Karen Nairobi is Kazuri Beads. Kazuri, which is Swahili for small and beautiful, has perfected the art of using clay as a medium in the making of beads, finished jewellery, tableware and pottery. The distinct and beautifully designed jewellery and ceramic pottery is delicately handcrafted by local women in a process where attention to detail is everything.
To add to the overall shopping experience visitors to the workshop in Nairobi can take a guided tour of the factory to see the work that goes into producing these unique beads. Just watching the detail the glazers put in each bead as they hand paint each one with such precision is simply amazing. The now colourful beads are then sorted according to colour and design combinations. Threading of the necklaces is done using fishing line and brass spacers available locally.
All products are of the highest quality and make ideal gifts for friend and family. A number of international celebrities have adorned jewellery from Kazuri whose products are readily available online.
Nairobi has an endless and colorful array of shopping malls and markets with plenty on offer for travelers. You will find anything from the best umbrella stroller for your toddlers, to nice sweaters for the cold weather and beginner DJ equipment for your kids, among other things. Many of the major shopping malls in the city such as the Sarit Center, Village Market, Yaya Center and the Junction have a variety of stores well stocked with a wide assortment of authentic Kenyan gifts for you to take home.