Shopping in Botswana & Namibia

  • Top ChoiceShopping in Windhoek

    Penduka

    Penduka, which means ‘wake up’, operates a nonprofit women’s needlework project at Goreangab Dam, 8km northwest of the city centre. You can purchase needlework, baskets, carvings and fabric creations for fair prices and be assured that all proceeds go to the producers. Ask about their places to stay as an alternative to the city's hotels. To get here, take the Western Bypass north and turn left on Monte Cristo Rd, left on Otjomuise Rd, right on Eveline St and right again on Green Mountain Dam Rd. Then follow the signs to Goreangab Dam/Penduka.

  • Top ChoiceShopping in Windhoek

    Namibia Crafts Centre

    This place is an outlet for heaps of wonderful Namibian inspiration – leatherwork, basketry, pottery, jewellery, needlework, hand-painted textiles and other material arts – and the artist and origin of each piece is documented. We like the root carvings.

  • Shopping in Botswana

    Lentswe-la-Oodi Weavers

    The village of Oodi is best known for the acclaimed Lentswe-la-Oodi Weavers, a cooperative established in 1973 to provide an economic base for women from Oodi, Matebeleng and Modipane. At the workshop, wool is hand-spun then dyed using chemicals over an open fire (which creates more than 600 colours) and finally woven into spontaneous patterns invented by individual artists. Most of the patterns depict African wildlife and aspects of rural life in Botswana. The women can also weave customised pieces based on individual pictures, drawings or stories if requested. By car, get on the highway from Gaborone towards Francistown, and take the turn-off for Oodi village. Follow signs for another 7.5km to the workshop. Any northbound bus from Gaborone can drop you at the turn-off for Oodi, though you will have to walk or hitch the rest of the way.

  • Shopping in Gaborone

    Kalahari Quilts

    These stunning quilts are made by Batswana women, overseen by the engaging Jenny Healy, and are a unique craft to take home. Each one bears an individual imprint, although all do a good job at capturing the primary-colour-heavy palette that is Botswana’s sensory assault. There’s a lot more than quilts: baby slings, cushion covers and the like are all for sale. The actual shop was closed when we visited but should have reopened by the time you arrive: contact it via the website to make sure.

  • Shopping in Botswana

    Gantsi Craft

    This cooperative was established in 1983 as a craft outlet and training centre for the San. It’s an excellent place to shop for traditional San crafts, including hand-dyed textiles, decorated bags, leather aprons, bows and arrows, musical instruments and woven mats. Prices are 30% to 50% lower than in Maun or Gaborone. All proceeds go to artists from 15 San settlements across the western and southern Kalahari. There's a small museum at the back of the shop.

  • Shopping in Swakopmund

    Cosdef Arts & Crafts Centre

    This worthy project supports local artisans and unemployed people by providing a shopfront for their work. The quality is high and the overall message, one of building sustainability in local communities, is one that deserves support. For an idea of what's available, check out https://namibiacraftcollections.wordpress.com or its Facebook page. Opening hours were in a state of flux at the time of writing, at least on weekends.

  • Shopping in Gaborone

    Botswanacraft

    Botswana’s largest and best craft emporium sells traditional souvenirs, including pottery from Gabane and Thamaga, San jewellery and baskets from across the country, at fixed prices. It also has books, jewellery, carvings and textiles, but most of these are from elsewhere in Africa, from Mali to the Congo. There’s also the good on-site Courtyard Restaurant.

  • Shopping in Greater Gaborone

    Pelegano Village

    Pelegano Village, established in 1982, is a wonderful artisan complex that offers local crafts such as hand-fired ceramics and wine bottles recycled into dinner glasses. Run by the women of Gabane, who are often the only breadwinners in their families, this is small-scale rural development at its best. They may even let you try your hand at the potters' wheel.

  • Shopping in Windhoek

    Old Breweries Craft Market

    This hive of tourist shopping euphoria contains a heap of small and large shops with a range of African arts and crafts on offer. A couple of our favourite shops are Woven Arts of Africa, with some wonderfully fine weavings in the form of wall hangings and rugs; and ArtiSan, a small, poky shop with genuine Bushmen crafts.

  • Shopping in Swakopmund

    Peter’s Antiques

    This place is an Ali Baba’s cave of treasures, specialising in colonial relics, historic literature, West African art, politically incorrect German paraphernalia, and genuine West African fetishes and other artefacts from around the continent.

  • Shopping in Maun

    African Arts & Images

    Next to the Bushman Craft Shop on the road near the airport terminal, this upmarket shop has an impressive range of books about Botswana and high-quality photographic prints by owner June Liversedge.

  • Shopping in Gaborone

    Exclusive Books

    Easily Gaborone’s best bookshop, this large outpost of a respected South African chain has literature, nonfiction and travel books, with excellent sections focused on Africa.

  • Shopping in Swakopmund

    Die Muschel Book & Art Shop

    Swakopmund's best bookshop, with German- and English-language books. It's great for guides and maps, and esoteric works on art and local history are also available here.

  • Shopping in Windhoek

    Post St Mall

    The throbbing heart of the Windhoek shopping district is the bizarrely colourful Post St Mall, an elevated pedestrian walkway lined with vendors selling curios, artwork, clothing and practically anything else that may be of interest to tourists. Scattered around the centre of the mall is a display of meteorites from the Gibeon meteor shower, which some time in the distant past deposited upwards of 21 tonnes of mostly ferrous extraterrestrial boulders around the town of Gibeon in southern Namibia.

  • Shopping in Namibia

    Kunene Craft Centre

    Opuwo’s brightly painted self-help curio shop sells local arts and crafts on consignment. You’ll find all sorts of Himba adornments smeared with ochre: conch-shell pendants, wrist bands, chest pieces and even the headdresses worn by Himba brides. There’s also a range of original jewellery, appliqué pillowslips, Himba and Herero dolls, drums and wooden carvings.

  • Shopping in Kavango

    Ncumcara Community Forestry Craft Centre

    Very reasonably priced woodcarvings from a sustainable source are on offer at Ncumcara Community Forestry Craft Centre, a neighbourhood craft shop. The carvings are high quality with proceeds going back to the local community. It’s 35km south of Rundu; if the shop is unattended, just wait for someone to show up and open the gate.

  • Shopping in Damaraland

    CmArte Gallery

    This arts-and-crafts outlet has some really good crafts, including some from local artists, alongside imported antiques from both Angola and the DRC. It’s worth sticking your nose in here and having a good rummage around, as you just may find a gem. We like some of the black-and-white wildlife sketches, both framed and unframed.

  • Shopping in Greater Gaborone

    Botswelelo Centre

    Thamaga is home to the Botswelelo Centre, which is also known as Thamaga Pottery. This nonprofit community project was started by missionaries in the 1970s and now sells a wide range of creations for good prices. Tours must be booked in advance. Buses run frequently from the main bus terminal in Gaborone (P20, one hour).

  • Shopping in Namibia

    Tsumeb Arts & Crafts Centre

    This craft centre markets Caprivian woodwork, San arts, Owambo basketry (also some great basketry from the San), European-Namibian leatherwork, karakul weavings, and other traditional northern Namibian arts and crafts. There’s a very helpful, jolly lady overseeing what is a small but interesting selection.

  • Shopping in Okavango Delta

    Shorobe Baskets Cooperative

    This cooperative draws together around 70 local women who produce Ngamiland-style baskets with beautiful and elaborate patterns. It’s right next to the main road through town and signposted. If it’s closed, ask around (at the nearby shop, for example) and someone should be able to track down the key.