Shopping in Zanzibar Archipelago

  • Top ChoiceShopping in Zanzibar Town

    Cultural Arts Centre Zanzibar

    Organised by the dedicated Hamad and other local artists, with an emphasis on quality and distinctiveness, this arts centre and shop provide a refreshing change from the wooden animals and tinga-tinga art found elsewhere in Stone Town. On sale are stunning paintings in traditional and contemporary styles, plus jewellery, candles, soaps and craftware items, mostly made by local cooperatives around Zanzibar. Courses in soap-making, painting, screen-printing and so on (from around TSh25,000, three to four hours – book in advance) are available here and at the connected Cultural Arts Gallery in the Old Fort.

  • Shopping in Zanzibar Town

    Moto & Dada Shop

    This shop sells products from Moto, a Zanzibar-wide handicraft cooperative that supports the island's rural economy by selling bags, sun hats, baskets, mats and other goods woven from ukili (palm leaves), and from Dada, a similar scheme helping local women sell cosmetics and foodstuffs made from natural local materials. For a greater insight into the skills involved, Moto offers a Craft & Culture Tour (US$15 per person for groups of four). Or you can join the locals on a Dada cooking course in Matemwe on the east coast.

  • Shopping in Zanzibar Island


    Jenga is a social enterprise offering Zanzibari entrepreneurs a platform (both online and in-store) from which to sell handmade products. And what products they are: bags and clutches in colourful graphic fabrics, laptop cases made from kite-surfing sails, beaded bracelets, natural beauty products and more. The main Jenga shop is on the Michamvi Peninsula, near Upendo and opposite The Rock. Jenga products are also sold in various hotels and restaurants in Michamvi, Paje and Bwejuu, and at other places along the southeast coast of Zanzibar Island.

  • Shopping in Zanzibar Town

    Upendo Means Love

    This multifaith community project builds bridges between Zanzibar's minority Christians and the largely Muslim population through its sewing school and fashionable boutique. The result: stylish ladies' and children's summerwear in funky fabrics, plus cross-cultural friendships and economic independence. Danish fashion students help keep the line fresh and on-trend. The shop is opposite Zanzibar Coffee House, or you can buy online.

  • Shopping in Zanzibar Town

    Zenji Boutique

    A well-curated showcase of eclectic Zanzibari and Tanzanian crafts displayed with details of their provenance and production. Kit yourself out with upcycled beach bags made from rice sacks or dhow sails, or choose from metalwork sculpture, pretty jewellery made from recycled plastics, and much more. It's all beautifully displayed in a dedicated shop area inside the Zenji Cafe.

  • Shopping in Zanzibar Town


    Shop and social enterprise Fahari combines traditional Zanzibari skills with the cutting-edge expertise of accessories designer Julie Lawrence to produce eye-catching bags in leather and ukili (woven palm fonds), delicate oyster-shell jewellery and kaftans fit for a Spice Island honeymoon. All manufacture is carried out in the workshop, which you can see as you shop.

  • Shopping in Zanzibar Town


    The cushions, coverlets and throws in Sasik are the work of self-taught Saada Abdullah Suleiman and her team of over 45 Zanzibari women. Their intricate vegetal designs in bright primary colours are influenced by typical Swahili and Arabian patterns, many of them originating in the carved doors around Stone Town. Buy off the shelf or order bespoke designs and colour schemes.

  • Shopping in Zanzibar Town

    Doreen Mashika

    For Zanzibari high fashion head to this store on Hurumzi St. Trained in Switzerland, Doreen has a signature style that effortlessly combines African prints and materials with European designs, producing beaded collars and cuffs, printed pencil skirts, horn-and-silver necklaces and bags in loud African prints. Any outfit can be made to measure within two to three days.

  • Shopping in Zanzibar Town

    Zanzibar Curio Shop

    The phrase 'Aladdin's Cave' can be overused, but not here. Step inside for floor-to-ceiling displays of gifts and souvenirs, and browse with no pressure. Go into the next room and then the next to find antiques, ornaments, carvings and collectables. Need a clock? Or maybe a glass lantern, brass diving helmet or enamel cigarette advertisement? This is the place.

  • Shopping in Zanzibar Town

    Memories of Zanzibar

    This place calls itself an emporium, and it does indeed have a massive range of souvenirs: carvings, clothing, books, ornaments, furnishings, jewellery, fabrics, toys and more, all in a modern environment. Everything has a price label, so there's no haggling, and absolutely no pressure as you browse.

  • Shopping in Zanzibar Town

    Hellen's Shop

    The friendly Hellen has her shop slightly off the main track, down near the Africa House Hotel. Come here to buy kangas, clothing, basketware, postcards and straightforward souvenirs in a no-hassle environment.

  • Shopping in Zanzibar Town

    Coins Shop

    Intricate and original pendants and other jewellery handmade from coins. Ready-to-wear or custom-made, modern or historic, African or international – the choice is yours.

  • Shopping in Zanzibar Town

    Real Art

    As the name implies, a gallery of good-quality paintings and sculpture. A sign outside declares 'All our artists are featured in contemporary art books'.

  • Shopping in Zanzibar Town

    Zanzibar Gallery

    This long-standing gallery has a huge collection of souvenirs, textiles, woodcarvings, antiques, contemporary art, framed photographs and more.

  • Shopping in Zanzibar Town

    Flip Flop Recycling

    Amazing multicoloured toys and sculptures created from broken flip-flops (thongs) collected from dumps and (most importantly) beaches.

  • Shopping in Zanzibar Town


    Ready-to-wear and custom-made dresses and skirts from kanga fabric (the colourful wraps worn by women all over East Africa).

  • Shopping in Zanzibar Town

    Surti & Sons

    For decades, Parvin Surti and his family have been shoeing Zanzibaris in beautiful, durable leather sandals (US$25 to US$35) in a range of understated styles in soft, natural colours. All the sandals are handstitched and made from good-quality leather, and great attention is shown to comfort and customer satisfaction. Belts and bags are also available.

  • Shopping in Zanzibar Town

    Gallery Bookshop

    A large selection of books and maps, including travel guides.