Maasai Market, a typical tourist destination all over Kenya. For those who aren’t sure what a Maasai Market is, here’s the low down, it is a form of a bazaar where the locals set up camp for the day with their various forms of souvenirs and trinkets.
On Fridays a well known shopping centre, Village Market, hosts a Maasai Market – this isn’t to say that you can’t attend Maasai Markets else where.
You can get your hands on all sorts of trinkets ranging from clothing to jewellery to home decor items, there is something for everyone.
If you have a couple of weeks in Kenya I would highly recommend going the first week you arrive, browsing and admiring what is on offer, keep a mental note of what you would like but don’t buy anything just yet. Go home and mull it over, if you decide you do want the things go back the next week. This is a great way of avoiding buying things you don’t actually need or want, it also gives you a chance to think about how much you think they are worth.
Top Tips when visiting Maasai Markets:
- I would suggest going with a local or someone who has been to a market before, especially if you are a mzungu! This is because of the prices and bargaining aspect. Being a tourist you’ll always be charged more than what it is worth. Consider the 3rd rule, what ever you are wanting to buy, only agree to pay a third of what they first ask you!
- Never agree to the first price someone says. After all you’re in a market, the prices aren’t set so put those bargaining skills to use.
- Try to take small notes with you and avoid having only 1000/= notes, it makes the process of bargaining easier and also looks better, especially if you say you can only pay 500 shillings and give them a 1000 shilling note (if that makes sense?).
- At the end of the day, keep in mind that the men and women are trying to run a business and make a living so yes, go all for it when bargaining but not to an extent that they aren’t getting anything out of the sale. Remember, arguing over 100 shillings is the equivalent of arguing over AUS$1.40.
- Avoid carrying expensive things on you such as jewellery – you’d hate for it to fall off or for someone to try to trade you something for your ring.
- If you’re planning on spending a long time at the market it is outside and it can get very hot, carry a water bottle with you no matter how used to the heat you are.