The Maasai market in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, has become a popular name throughout East Africa, especially for tourists. The market sells a wide range of African antiques and has become a convergence zone for locals and tourists searching for authentic African artisan products.
When traveling, we often look for affordable, gorgeous, colorful souvenirs to take home. Maasai Market is the best place to shop for your souvenirs while on your safari or beach holiday in Kenya. It is an open-air market with a broad selection of products to shop for, including African pots and pans, artwork, jewelry, shoes, purses, garments, and utensils.
The Maasai Market is named after the Maasai people, one of the most famous tribes in Kenya.
Where is the Maasai Market?
The Maasai Market rotates around the city each day of the week. However, the most popular Maasai Market among many locals is located in the city behind the Hilton hotel at the high court parking lot. It is always open on Saturdays.
If Saturdays are not convenient for you, you can visit the Maasai market on the other days of the week in the different locations.
The market moves around the city on different days of the week, typically operating from 8am to 6pm at each location.
Tuesday: Westgate Shopping Mall in Westlands (the upper car park) relocated to Kijabe Street opposite the Norfolk Hotel
Wednesday: Capital Centre on Mombasa Road near the airport
Thursday: Nakumatt Junction Shopping Mall on Ngong Road
Friday: Village Market in Gigiri (the upper car park)
Saturday: The High Court parking lot in the city center (behind the Hilton)
Sunday: Yaya Centre in Hurlingham
The Maasai market operates from about 8 am to 6 pm every day except Mondays as it is closed.
What to Buy at the Maasai Market?
Artwork and Carvings
The Maasai market is always full of great art, and most of it has an African feel. You can get some decent items for a reasonable price in the market, but if you want something more distinctive, you can visit one of Nairobi’s art galleries. The market also has a good selection of wooden carvings, bowls, baskets, and dolls to bring Kenyan culture into your home.
Masai blankets, also known as Maasai Shukas or Kikois, come in various vibrant colors. The shukas, which carry the Maasai culture, are one of the most incredible ways to remember your trip to Kenya. They can also be used as a bed cover, a picnic blanket, or an extra blanket on a cold day.
The Maasai market is famous for its variety of jewelry, from earrings to bracelets and necklaces, all of which are usually vibrant and come in various colors. You may discover some great and unique products for a reasonable price here. Popular pieces are bracelets adorned with beads in Kenya’s official colors
The Maasai market is brimming with Maasai leather and beaded sandals. They come in various designs and colors, so take your time looking for a pair you like. These sandals are quality and are perfect for a beach holiday. They are a must-have.
Tips for visiting the Maasai Market
Just like any other market, the Maasai Market might be overwhelming. Unfortunately, it can be a little too much with the hordes of customers, vendors calling you from every corner, and hawkers stopping you from checking out what they have to sell. Here are some tips to help in your visit to the Maasai market.
Bargaining and language
Bargaining is a fun part of the Maasai market shopping experience, but if you are not a local, you should expect to be charged a much higher price and be prepared to bargain firmly and respectfully. But, again, knowing a little Swahili will help you come out as someone who knows what they’re talking about and does not want to be taken advantage of.
Have local currency
When shopping in any city worldwide, changing your money to the local currency is essential. Additionally, it will also be cheaper when you shop using the Kenyan currency. There are numerous foreign exchange bureaus in the city center, but you may also exchange money at the airport or any of the city’s banks.
Avoid crowded market days.
Shopping can be stressful when too many people are jammed into the market’s tight alleys. On crowded market days, it is tough to navigate, and you can miss out on some of the most attractive items. As a result, if you have the option, go shopping in the evening or inquire which day and place are less busy to ensure a pleasant shopping experience.
Explore as many vendors as possible.
The Maasai market has many vendors, and If one is not careful, you may buy Everything from one person. It is not a wrong decision to buy all your items from one vendor; however, in that process, you miss out on the many options available from other vendors. The Maasai market is all about exploring to get your unique souvenir to take home. We advise you to walk around the market to check what is available and then buy what you like. It is also essential to shop with a local; it can be your tour guide or a Kenyan friend to help you navigate the market.
Be mindful of your surroundings
It is always essential to be aware of your surroundings in any place you visit. For example, the Maasai market may have pickpockets like any other market. Therefore, always hold your purse/bag safely as you walk around the market. Additionally, do not go around flashing costly jewelry or even handbags, as you may draw the wrong attention.