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Kenya Shopping and nightlife

Shopping in Kenya

The city and town centres across Kenya usually have markets which sell curios such as African drums, old brass and copper items, batiks, soapstone knick-knacks, carved chess sets, wooden carvings of animals or salad bowls carved from a single piece of teak, mninga or ebony. Masai items such as beaded jewellery, decorated gourds (a calabash used to store milk or water) and the distinctive red-checked blankets worn by all Masai men make good souvenirs.

Khanga, kitenge and kikoi cloths are ideal to use as sarongs (common in East Africa for both men and women), and Kenyan baskets made from sisal and leather are also popular. Most of the tourist areas have abundant stalls and markets selling these items; you will be expected to haggle good-naturedly over prices.

Shopping in Nairobi: Nairobi has many lively markets including the City Market, Gikomba Market, Kariokor Market, Maasai Market, Toi Market, to name but a few. The City Market, which lies in the city centre on Muindi Mbingu Street, has dozens of stalls, it has the full range of handicrafts on offer, and prices tend to be quite competitive. Another place worth special mention is Biashara (Busienss) Street which is lined with boutiques and interesting stores.

Shopping in Mombasa: The Old Town of Mombasa has a wide selection of shops and souvenir stands while the City Mall Nyali is home to international brands. In the city centre, Biashara Street in Mombasa is traditionally the centre of Mombasa's textile retail industry – this is still a great place to buy traditional kikoy and Kenyan kanga (colourful fabric) clothing. In addition, Bombolulu Workshops in the Kisauni District supports the work and talent of more than 100 people with different abilities.

Shopping Note

Exporting wildlife skins (including reptiles) and shells are forbidden.

Shopping hours

Mon-Sat 0900-1800. Some supermarkets are open 24x7 and some shops remain open until 2000 hour. Shops and businesses may close on Friday afternoons due to prayers.

Nightlife in Kenya

Most of the major hotels in Nairobi and the holiday resorts along the coast have live bands or discos each evening. There are also plenty of appealing nightclubs in Nairobi and Mombasa. Westlands in Nairobi is known for being a particularly good neighbourhood for a night out, and as long as you take a taxi door to door, security should not be an issue.

Going to the cinema is a popular evening activity among the locals. Theatre is popular in Nairobi. There is a National Theatre and several small groups of dramatic companies; probably the best-known is the Phoenix Players. Quite often, traditional tribal dancing and drumming are performed in the game lodges and beach resorts.

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