Let me clear up this misconception once and for all! Some folks are under the mistaken impression that there are limited places to shop in Tanzania. But, I’m here to tell you that you can shop ‘til you drop in Tanzania. Whether it’s the small souvenir trinkets you might wish to purchase, or the large five-foot statue of a rhinoceros, it’s yours to purchase.
There are several shops located in Arusha, the starting point of your safari, where you can make small to very large purchases. The Cultural Heritage Center is the most popular, with a variety of merchandise in several shops on the premises, each lined with shelves of different items as momentos of your trip. There are inexpensive items to the very expensive items. If you can think it, it’s probably sold here.
With it’s beautiful walkways, through the grounds, the famous crocodile which everyone must stick their head in for that unforgettable shot, and the many large statues that surround the gallery, all of which tell many stories of the days of slavery, slaying of animals and the cultural heritage of the Maasai warriors.
A visit here would not be complete without a walk through one of the most elaborate, art galleries you’ll find anywhere in the world. Leisurely walk up its beautifully designed five story high spiral walkways, and marvel at the paintings, sculptures, and photography. Art from local artists, bronze statues, and exquisitely beaded furniture and décor, many from other countries in Africa, can be found here. They are not just for your viewing pleasure, almost everything in the gallery is for sale. And they are beautiful. Feel free to make an reasonable offer on anything you see. The proprietors will contact the artist and inquire if your offer will be accepted. Many of my clients have spent hours in this locale trying to make a decision.
Tanzanite, the only stone that is mined in Tanzania, is in great demand. It is found in mines at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro. These are some of the most beautiful stones in the world, and they are found in several specialized shops in Tanzania. Taking groups regularly does have privileges, and most walk away with a nice ‘trinket’ as a souvenir or gift at a ‘reasonable’ cost as compared to purchasing in the USA, which I understand is over $1,000 per carat. Chose from a lighter, less expensive color stone or go for the top of the line deep dark stone, where you’ll pay upwards of $600 per carat. Your purse may be a little lighter, but you’ll always walk away feeling like you made a great choice.
Shanga, is another shop where guests can make beautiful and unique purchases. Shanga started as a project for the disabled, and it has grown by leaps and bounds, still employing a workforce of disabled staff. The work they produce is phenomenal, from the deaf, to the blind to multiple sclerosis to many other debilitating illnesses, they find life, work and meaningfulness at this location. You can’t help but support and admire a project that makes the disabled feel like they are a productive sector of society.
There are many shops along the route leading to all of the National Parks; and Destined To Travel will take you to as many of them in the time permitting as possible. I’ve never seen anyone walk away from Tanzania without bags and bags of purchases. Many have been known to purchase a separate bag to bring their purchases back home. Yes, there is shopping throughout Tanzania. Let no one tell you differently.
If you’ve every wondered about an African safari, if you’ve ever imagined yourself here, please consider joining us in March 2016. Destined To Travel will celebrate year long its seven years in business from February 2015 through March 2016. The March 2016 trip will save you over $2500, so you’ll have a little extra change in your pocket to shop ‘til YOU drop! Be sure and contact ‘Safari’ Kay for details of the trip if you haven’t signed up yet, or you can find more details by going to destined-to- travel.com. It’s already starting to fill. Are YOU Destined To Travel?