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Tanzania: Shopping

There are many markets in tourist cities that sell standard “African” goods. Beaded jewellery, carved soapstone, and Masai blankets make interesting gifts. Be aware that most “ebony” wood is fake (shoe polish) – the exception being in the far south-east of the country, where the Makonde tribe of Tanzania and Northern Mozambique create masks and other carvings from ebony and mpingo wood. Be prepared to bargain hard for everything. Masks are not typical of most East African groups, and the ones you find in the markets are either imported from West Africa or are strange things made just for tourists, with the exception of the Makonde masks.

Tinga Tinga paintings, named after the painter who originated that style, are for sale everywhere. Their distinctive style and colours make for attractive souvenirs. A standard size painting can be had for TS 5,000 – 10,000. There is a Tinga Tinga school in Dar es Salaam, where you can purchase paintings from the artists themselves.

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