Shopping in Kenya: Kenyans love to shop. In rural areas the shopping will mostly be for food and provisions, and will be done by women. In urban areas, large shopping malls have appeared, offering not only supermarkets but also coffee shops, fast-food outlets, cinemas, children’s playgrounds, day care, fashion stores, home decor stores, pet stores, book stores, toy stores, beauty salons, banks, and more.
Consequently a trip to the local mall is a favorite weekend pursuit for families and singles alike. For the visitor, the many handicraft outlets that dot the country may be of more interest. The choice of purchases is wide: carvings, baskets, woven sisal, hand woven wool rugs, hand-woven garments, knitwear, beadwork, handblown glass, metalware, beeswax candles, essential oils, leather goods, soapstone, paintings, batik, tribal masks, spears, jewelry, home décor . . .
Many of the items are produced by women’s cooperatives or self-help groups, so your purchase will help them achieve such benefits as an income stream, education for their children, the ability to start a small business, or financial independence. When shopping for crafts in Kenya it is important to remember that to bargain over the price is expected of you.
Shopping in Kenya
Shopping in Kenya will give you an opportunity to find the best from all over Africa. Throughout Kenya and mainly in its major cities, there are a range of shops, supermarkets, shopping centres, large open markets and city stores. The largest shopping centres are located in Nairobi.
As Nairobi city centre became more congested, satellite shopping malls with safe parking multiplied in the greater Nairobi area. In addition to the city centre, the shopping centres have a good range of services, including forex bureaus, banks, post offices, pharmacies and supermarkets.
Shopping Malls in Nairobi
- The Sarit Centre – Westlands
- The YaYa Centre – Hurlingham
- The Village Market – Gigiri
- Westgate Shopping Mall – Westlands
- ABC Place – Westlands
- Junciton Shopping Centre – Ngong Road
- Prestige Plaza – Ngong Road
- Crossroads Shopping Centre – Karen
- T-Mall – Langata amoung others
Supermarkets in Kenya
The largest supermarket chains in Kenya with modern stores through-out the country include:
- Nakumatt Supermarket
- Uchumi Supermarket
- Tuskys Supermarket
- Naivas Supermarket
Open Markets in Kenya
In Nairobi city centre there is the large City Market, selling a great selection of produce, including fruit, vegetables, flowers, fruit, fish and meat. This colourful Market is an interesting place to visit, and a good place to find local handicrafts.
Kariakor Market, located just outside town off racecourse Road, is another excellent market for handicrafts, in particular for good and reasonable priced sisal basketwork. This very lively market, named after the Colonial ‘Carrier Corps’ (Karia-kor) who were once stationed here. Kariakor is renowned all over Nairobi as the best place to sample real traditional Kenyan food.
There are many small shops and eateries attached to the market selling a wide range of traditional cuisines. Nairobi city and the surrounding suburbs also have many shops selling traditional arts and crafts.
Other Shops in Kenya
In Biashara street, many shops deal in handicrafts and especially cloth from the coast, with good tailoring services available. Kenya is home to many unique boutique shops, modern art objects, paintings, clothing and jewelry.