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Varieties of markets in Kenya include open-air markets, meat and fish markets and vegetable markets as well as clothes or flea markets—known as “mitumba’’—where people go thrift shopping. While some of the main markets are in Nairobi City, here are some of the many notable markets located throughout Kenya.
Maasai Market has to be one of the best places to purchase curios, décor items, unique-African jewellery, and fabric. In Kenya, there are many Maasai markets, but the most common one is outside the Nairobi Court of Appeal’s parking lot and happens every Saturday.
Another famous market with over 200 stalls, people can buy wholesale jewellery, footwear, leather goods, baskets, décor items, and curios. Shoppers can get things for affordable prices and while Kariokor is mainly for people who want to buy and resell, patrons can also go there to buy one item. Companies and vendors in Kariokor produce goods for both local and international consumption.
Another flea market located in the Adams Arcade/Ngong Road area in Nairobi, shoppers can find very-fashionable items like jeans, tops, and dresses. Some of these clothes are secondhand, but they are very attractive and pricier than in Gikomba Market. Some vendors go to Gikomba to buy attractive pieces normally known as “camera” and come to display them in Toi Market after marking up the price.
Gikomba is the largest and most-famous clothes-flea market. People go here early in the morning to find affordable clothes to wear. Kenyans love thrifting, and this is one of the best places to start. The market is a labyrinth of narrow pathways, shouting vendors, and heaps of clothes. The best time to visit this place is on a Saturday morning after 7 am because that is when the vendors bring their new bails of clothes. Later in the day and further on in the week, the price of the clothes increases slightly. Shoppers can also find shoes and other wares in this busy market.
This is a very busy market near the Central Business District. People sell all manners of things including clothes and food items. This market is very congested and noisy.
City Market is under the management of the Nairobi City Council and is located on the junction of Market Road and Muindi Mbingu Street. The market has many stalls selling woodcarvings, art, sculptures, soap-stone pieces, drums, and paintings among other items. Vendors also sell flowers, fruits, and vegetables as well as meat ranging from fish, mutton, beef, pork, and chicken.
The huge market in Ngara offers people fresh vegetables, grains, and fruit, and second-hand clothes. This market has an assortment of ingredients not found in other markets, but the market’s goods are more expensive than those found in other open-air vegetable markets.
There are flea markets in most of Kenya’s major towns. In every province, there are central towns where major markets are held for people selling or searching for food and clothes.
Mombasa has many markets including Old Town area. In Old Town, visitors can feel the Swahilli influence in the décor, items on sale, and language. In this area, people can buy fabric, sandals, food, décor items, jewelry, spices, and fragrances.
In downtown Mombasa, collections of stores selling clothes and crafts are on almost every corner. Here, people can find fabrics like lesos, kikoys, and khangas. Make sure to stop at a Swahili-themed restaurant and try the delicious food.