As expected for this destination, shopping options are limited and do not include trendy, roomy, air-conditioned modern shopping malls (as found elsewhere). Instead, Zanzibar thrives on the sale of traditional merchandise (ranging from African garments, to fine wood carvings, art works, brassware and other souvenir-type goods). On that note, Stone Town is filled with such shopping options. The shopping areas to visit are along Kiponda Street (mainly textiles and jewelry), Market Street (textiles and jewelry), Malindi Street (textiles, cosmetics) Darajani Street (almost everything) and Mchangani Street (mainly hardware).
The Zanzibar Shopping Centre located along Hurumzi Street, for example, is a good source of brightly-colored folk art featuring mainly animal and bird designs. Here, you can commission a painted name plaque for a child’s room to your own design, or walk home with oil paintings of different sizes. The Gallerama Mall on Kenyatta Road has a branch of the Kenyan chain, African Heritage, packed with superior crafts from all over the continent including stunning bark lampshades sprinkled with cowrie-shells and brightly-colored beads in starburst patterns, mahogany-framed mirrors striped with porcupine quills and black soapstone box with a hornbill’s head handle.
The upmarket Tanzanite Jewelers in the Old Fort feature designs made with milky-blue Tanzanite gemstones while Muafaka Boutique, located opposite the Tembo Hotel along Shangani Street designs and produces rolls of batik cloth in peacock colors. You can also pick beachwear in natural fabrics and colors, Kenyan kikoi sarongs, Kenyan “Kiboko” label, cream-colored women’s shorts in a cotton/linen mi, stripy woven shoulder bags at One-Way boutique along Kenyatta Road.