If you’re looking to buy local arts and crafts in Arusha, Tanzania, you won’t have too much trouble finding a shop that sells them. In fact, even if you can’t find a curio shop, an overly helpful local will be happy to guide you to one. As I was walking into the center of town on my first day in Arusha, I had plenty of “help” from the locals who wanted to direct me to their shops.
I’m not all that interested in buying souvenirs when I travel, but I do love checking out local handicrafts and markets, so when I found out about the curio market in Arusha, I knew I had to go and check it out.
To get to the curio market, head to the clock tower in the center of town and turn down School Road. The market is located directly across the road from the school.
The market has an enormous amount of stalls selling all sorts of local arts and crafts, from paintings to jewellery and wood carvings, but to be honest, most of the stalls sell similar things. If there is one stall selling jewellery, there will be another twenty stalls selling exactly the same jewellery, and every one will claim to have the best price and the most authentic items.
If you’re not fond of crowds and confrontation, you will probably find Arusha’s Curio Market to be a little uncomfortable. You need to be able to say no and to continue walking if you don’t want to go into a stall. There is a lot of competition in this market, so every shop keeper will try to get you into their stall to have a look. Don’t let this deter you though. The people are still very friendly and it is a great experience, especially if you do want to buy something. Haggling and grabbing a bargain is always a whole lot of fun!
Although Arusha Curio Market can be a little full on and at times, quite annoying, it is definitely worth while checking out. There are some really great arts and crafts for sale, many of which are made right there in the market, and the prices were quite good compared to most of the curio shops that I visited in the area.
Do you like buying local arts and crafts when you travel? Where do you think are the best places to buy them?