Shopping on Zanzibars beaches does not offer much more than what the hotels and the beach boys are offering. So if you pass Stone Town, that is your best chance.
In Stone Town, the shopping is focused on two shopping streets where small shops are stuffed with basically the same things – but there are a few special things to be found. The vendors are quite pushy but if you accept the challenge and keep the mood and laughter you can have a fun time and get a good price. But be fair and remember you contribute to the people and country´s development.
The best buys
The best buys are clothing, handbags and wallets, etc. in the colorful patterned kitenge or kanga, spices (vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper), and all the stubble and straw-like materials: mats, baskets and more. Beautiful natural beauty products such as coconut oil, coconut soaps, etc. can be found on Mrembo SPA or Inaya Zanzibar. In Stone Town the only “real” store is Memories that keeps all that is available in Zanzibar but priced and clear. And with ok prices.
Tinga Tinga paintings are typical for Tanzania and on Zanzibar there are lots to choose from. The paint is not always in oil so check what kind of color so it does not crack when you roll up the painting.
Bargaining can be fun if you make it fun! And you are expected to haggle. You can start with half the price of what the salesman says, and you might even land there somewhere. If both buyer and seller are satisfied afterwards so the price is right.
Be and buy fair
Avoid large hotel chains and go directly to the manufacturers or the small shop. There are countless of that kind to support in Stone Town.