Kenya has Eastern Africa’s most advanced markets. The Kenyan market is evolving into a notable alternative to China, the US, South Africa, India, and other low-cost countries. Western markets seek out regions where their goods can be produced and services offered at reasonable prices. Agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, manufacturing, energy, tourism, and financial services are the main industries that dominate the country.
Kenya is one of the top 10 richest African countries with overall GDP of $269.29 billion. The Kenyan economy has been showing signs of recovery since the easing of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first quarter of 2022, the growth rate of economic sectors in the GDP of Kenya is as follows:
- Accommodation and food services have increased with quarterly growth of over 56%.
- Mining and quarrying showed a 22% growth rate.
- Agricultural activities contracted by 0.7 percent due to the weather conditions.
Kenya has a developed social and physical structure when compared to its neighbors. This is the area where Kenyan product sourcing has increased. In this market, there are a large number of suppliers today. But before we dive into unique products you can buy from Mombasa in Kenya, you need to find a stunning hotel or beach resort to make your visit worthwhile. Villa MB by Xanadu Collection is a boutique and luxury stay experience like no other just a few hours away from Mombasa.
Unique Kenyan Things to Buy in Mombasa While Staying at the Best Beach Resort
Mombasa sub counties in Kenya are a melting pot of cultures. When it comes to finding rare items and souvenirs, Kenya is a shopper’s paradise. With over 42+ tribes, the amount of creativity and originality is amazing. Continue reading to find out what special hidden gems Mombasa has in store for tourists.
1. Colorful Beaded Jewelry
Image credit: Class V / Flickr
The Maasai clans are the source of the Kazuri beads, which are used to make vibrant necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Maasai beaded belts are very common as well. The beads are now distinctly included in Kenya’s tourism offerings. They use hues that hold special meaning for them, such as red, which stands for blood, strength, and courage, and green, which represents prosperity.
Directly from the Maasai people is the best place to purchase Maasai beads. You will probably visit the Maasai Mara Game Reserve and the local Maasai tribe if you go on a safari from Mombasa. If not, you can visit the famous Maasai market on the Mombasa south coast or order it online from Hadithi Crafts or visit Nakumatt City Mall. They empower hundreds of Maasai women.
2. Wood Sculptures
Image credit: William Warby / Flickr
Akamba wood sculptors in Mombasa are the ones who create ebony carvings. In eastern Kenya, where the Kamba people live, ebony is widely found and used to make sculptures. They produce so many sculptures that it stands out across the entire sub-Saharan region. While it is simple to find them in Kenyan gift shops, they are equally common everywhere else. They have a glossy, perfect finish.
The traditional sculptures showed “The big five animals in Kenya” (lion, buffalo, elephant, rhino, and leopard). Mango trees, neem trees, and ebony are the three types of wood that are used for carvings. If you’re on a tight budget, consider the other two options instead of ebony.
3. Maasai Blankets
Image credit: Dmitri Markine Photography
Warm wool or cotton blankets (Shuka) made in the Maasai tradition are ideal for cold weather. These blankets, which are draped across the shoulders, are an essential item of clothing for the Maasai people. It is probably best to purchase a blanket at a local Maasai market because you will likely find something more genuine there that hasn’t been mass-produced.
Maasai fleece blanket is typically red with one other color, usually black or blue. They are perfect as picnic blankets, bed covers, and for cozying up on the couch at home. You can buy authentic Maasai blankets at Mwembe Tayari Market in Mombasa for family and friends back home as well.
4. Kenyan Beer
Image credit: Erik Hersman / Flickr
Sugar cane and honey are used to make traditional Kenyan beer. The famous Tusker larger is the national beer. Tusker beer had the highest rate among consumers in Kenya as of 2021, with a weighted average rating of 3.4 out of 5. However, all tribes have their own traditional brews. One of the most popular beers is Muratina from the Kikuyu tribe. It is a home-brewed beer with a fruity flavor.
Chang’aa is a homemade liqueur that is worth trying as well and tastes a lot like vodka. They make sure that the alcohol is produced in a homestead for family use. But you can find them at many supermarkets, bars, and hotels in and around Mombasa.
5. Tribal Masks
Image credit: iStockphoto
A warrior mask is very large and painted in vibrant colors. Choose something more modest instead, like a mask with an animal theme. Any décor would benefit from having a few masks, especially as wall hangings or table accents. The most popular and least expensive material is wood, but if you’re willing to spend more, you can also find masks made of metal, light stone, or clay pottery.
Remember that the cost of the design will increase as it becomes more intricate. Masks that are painted are less expensive than those that have decoration, which can range from seeds to horns to seashells. Masks are mostly sold as souvenirs but the masks used in actual ceremonies are more costly.
Follow the airport road in Mombasa to Ambika Handicrafts. It is a non-profit that employs a large number of people from the local area to finely craft African masks. It is one of the nice places to visit in Mombasa. Bombolulu Workshops and Cultural Centre on the Mombasa-Malindi highway is a great option as well.
6. Kenyan Art
Image credit: Diani Beach Art Gallery
Kenyan art is produced across the entire nation. It may be universal or tribe or region specific. The Samburu tribe’s art is unique from that of the coastal Mijikenda tribe. The best place to purchase authentic items is from the actual communities. Pay a visit to the Diani Beach Art Gallery in Mombasa which showcases and sells fine African artwork such as prints, canvases, sculptures, and more.
7. Maasai Shields
Image credit: https://www.exploringoverland.com/explore-maasai-1
Maasai population in Kenya is about 900,000. Maasai shields are painstakingly crafted from a flawlessly cured hide that has been painted with simple patterns. Although they are large and heavy, you can have them made in pieces for transportation ease and reassemble the pieces at home.
8. Maasai Spears
A Maasai spear plays a significant role in a warrior’s social and religious standing. They are made by hand from wood and are adorned with carved wood items, leather thongs, and colorful charms. The grip, spearhead, and metal butt of the head are the three parts that make up a traditional Maasai spear. Hardened wax holds the three pieces together.
You can purchase a spear that doesn’t have added wax if you plan to check your luggage and can be broken down into 1-2 pieces for mobility. These spears can be bought while you are on a safari or at Maasai markets in Mombasa.
9. Handwoven Baskets
Image credit: Elvert Barnes / Flickr
The Kamba community produces exquisite handwoven baskets or Kiondos in a wide range of colors. They are made from the sisal plant and can be worn as a fashion accessory or can be used for carrying groceries. It can take up to three weeks to complete and is entirely made by hand.
They are dyed before weaving or have leather straps attached. A fabric lining is fitted inside to make it simple to carry basic essentials. You can find these baskets almost everywhere in Mombasa, from outdoor markets to antique shops, and hotel gift shops.
10. Kikois and Khangas
Image credit – festival.si.edu
Kikois are colorful woven cotton wraps that resemble sarongs and can be worn on the beach or used at home as a throw or curtain. Khangas, are made of striped fabric and are traditionally worn by women as skirts or to carry infants while they are at work. Swahili proverbs are written on Khangas. They are affordable and make wonderful gifts.
Exports of apparel and clothing accessories from Kenya were 12 billion Kenyan shillings in the third quarter of 2021. Visit The Kikoy Co at Diani Beach Shopping Center in Mombasa for authentic Kikois. Celebrities such as Madonna, Brad Pitt, and Prince William have worn their designs. And go to Biashara Street in Mombasa for Khangas.
11. Baobab Handbags
Image credit – afrikrea.com
Baobab tree bark is hand-woven into handbags that have a leather strap. Because its trunk can store thousands of liters of water, which can be lifesaving during long journeys or times of drought, the baobab tree is treasured in Africa. The bark of the baobab tree is used to make everything from rope to clothing to the strings of musical instruments, and it can be removed from the tree without harming it (the tree can regenerate it).
In Kenya, baobab handbags are popular. They are similar to tote bags with an open top and measure at least eight inches tall due to their historical use as shopping bags. Most outdoor markets in Mombasa sell baobab handbags.
12. Kenyan Coffee
Image Credit – coffeebreaklovers.com
In 2021, coffee sales in Kenya amounted to over 2.8 thousand metric tons. Given that Kenya is the largest producer of coffee in East Africa, you should bring some coffee home when you visit Mombasa. Kenyan coffee is similar to Arabica coffee with strong fruity and wine-like undertones. You can expect anything from a spice-rich, berry flavor to a sweet grape crispness, depending on where and how it is grown. Choose whole beans over ground coffee because they will retain their full flavor longer. Take tours of coffee farms near Mombasa.
13. Kisii Soapstone Carvings
Image credit: Magati Obebo
In the country’s western highlands, soapstone can be found. It is native to the Tabaka region of Kisii county. Local artisans have mastered the art of depicting animals and plants on these stones. The beauty of the carvings is enhanced by the stone’s natural colors.
There are many forms and designs such as vases, pieces of decorative art, dishes, and other useful household items. Kisii carvings are sold in markets, curio shops, and gift shops all over Mombasa. There are a few shops in Old Town Mombasa where you can find soapstone carvings as well.
Image Credit – africanfabric.co.uk
A hand-painted piece of cloth called Batik is covered in paraffin and beeswax. Originally only used to embellish clothing, batiks are now also used to decorate throws, wall hangings, and paintings.
Traditional Kenyan Batiks feature images of animals, the countryside, or tribal patterns. Different methods, such as stencils, etching, and brush painting, are used to create Batiks. You can expect to pay more for a design that is more intricate. Maasai markets are the best if you want to buy Batik items.
15. Kenyan Spices
Image credit: Matt O’Connor Travel
Eastern Africa is well-known for its spices, which are wonderful gifts for both you and your friends. Where to get spices in bulk in Kenya? Visit Marikiti Market in the Old Town of Mombasa or Digo Road Market for authentic spices. As hundreds of stallholders compete with one another to sell their fruits, vegetables, and spices, chatter fills the air. Stock up on cardamom, cumin, and cinnamon bark—all common ingredients in Swahili cooking.
Even though these are not the biggest markets in the country, it has a lovely atmosphere, and even though the vendors are not as pushy as they are in other places, they will all be happy to suggest their products to you.
Stay at the Best Beach Resort in Msambweni – Villa MB by Xanadu Collection
Visit Mombasa as a stopover destination for your ultimate Kenyan Safari or simply unwind for a week in the serenity of the Indian Ocean in Mombasa. Villa MB by Xanadu Collection is a secluded paradise tucked away on the untouched South Coast of Kenya in Msambweni and just 2 hours from Mombasa. The beach resort is only a 30-minute drive from Ukunda Airstrip. Msambweni weather is pleasant all year round and the resorts are much better than the hotels in south coast Mombasa.
Experience luxury and comfort like never before with a private beach along a 3 KM stretch of the Indian Ocean coastline at Msambweni beach hotel. The Main House has 3 Master Suites and 1 Ocean Suite with en-suite bathrooms and a 14-meter infinity pool. The beach resort has 3 Private Villas each with its own private pool, private garden, and panoramic sea views as well. All rooms have AC, Digital Satellite TV, and other modern amenities.
The food at the beach resort is delicious along with one-of-a-kind experiences. The kitchen staff is trained by a Belgian celebrity chef to ensure that you enjoy these delectable delights to the fullest. Savor Belgian, French, and Swahili cuisine as well as seafood from our Michelin-starred menus. Dine in the dining room of the main house, in your private villa, or anywhere else at the beach resort. Indulge in a romantic dinner by the pool with your better half or take in the ocean breeze while enjoying a barbecue at the beach with your family and friends.
Are you looking for thrilling adventures in Kenya? Besides embracing the beautiful surroundings, there are many on-site and off-site experiences that will make your stay at this beach resort even more memorable. If you are feeling active, enjoy a game of ping pong, beach volleyball or tennis, or even badminton. But if you want to be one with nature and explore beyond the beach resort and do water activities in Mombasa or near, there are plenty of experiences that the beach resort offers like Diani Diving, Whale Shark Excursion, Kite Surfing, Shimba Hills National Park tour, and more.
It is one of the top hotels in Msambweni. Besides these activities in Diani, you can go for a tranquil massage or check out their Curio Shop for the best Kenyan souvenirs at the beach resort.
There is Much More to Do in Mombasa When You Stay at the Best Beach Resort
Kenya is known for its stunning scenery, thrilling activities, and its unique history and culture. You should bring many souvenirs home with you after having a wonderful time here. Mombasa in Kenya is a hidden gem that gives people a strong urge to collect souvenirs due to its artistic heritage and creative flair.
From quaint little shops to big markets, shopping centers, and malls selling local crafts and keepsakes, there is something for everyone. In order to share your wonderful experiences with your loved ones back home, you should treat yourself to something lovely or buy some gifts. Are you planning a trip to Mombasa or looking for the best beach resort? Contact us for unforgettable experiences and unmatched services.