Maasai market was first introduced by a group of visionary women who wanted to sell their crafts directly to visitors. Over the years, the Maasai market has thrived creating a source of income to the craftsmen and women in Kenya. As a matter of fact, the sheer, vibrant bursts of colors of the decorations, beadwork and baskets have become an inspiration to many upcoming designers all over the world.
But, have you ever wondered where you could get the Maasai markets as they are held on different days and locations? If so, I will give you a detailed list of places you can find these awesome, selections of Art and curio in Nairobi.
This a 100% High-Quality Cotton African Fabric Ankara also commonly known as “African wax prints,” “Dutch prints” or “African prints.” It is usually a very colorful and vibrant fabric and is used to make shoes, purse, clothing, scarfs, bags, baskets and table cloths to name a few.
Beaded necklaces, earrings, belts, pendants, key rings, and bracelets
These consist of very colorful and attractive beads such as recycled paper, glass beads, gas beads, Maasai beads, clay beads, Turkana beads, amber and carved stone. Some of the necklaces, earrings and other ornaments made of aluminum, copper, brass, shells, bones, Ankara fabric, metal or even wood. Also, they can be worn by men, women and children depending on the design.
Masai and Swahili sandals
These are uniquely handmade shoes that can come in different designs. Some are produced from animal skin, beads and leather. You can take a look at some of the shoe designs here.
Baskets, fruit and straw bags
Baskets, straw bags, hats and fruit bowls are beautifully hand woven made from different materials and come in different shapes and sizes. Some of the materials used are sisal, marsh reeds, grass and hide. Furthermore, the baskets have become a fashion statement in the fashion industry.
Wooden carvings and sculptures
These are uniquely crafted carvings of different animal shapes, masks and people. Also, you will find some pretty wooden spoons and bowls.
Tie and die
Tie and die is a bold, elegant and bright material that is perfect for clothing, sewing crafts and quilting.
Shuka is the traditional red cotton outfit worn by the Maasai community. Nowadays, people have embraced the Masai shuka and are using them to make different designs of their preference. Moreover, you can also use the shukas as a blanket; design it into awesome attire or a scarf.
Kikoi is a 100% pure cotton fabric from Kenya. It’s a proudly Kenyan handcrafted expression of pure energy and unique talent in design. In addition to that, the kikoi can be used as blanket, clothing, beach wear, scarfs, and colorful shopping bags.
These are colorful and stunning paintings on either silk, canvas or cotton. The images painted represent traditional scenes of love between family, man and woman, village living, Kenyan landscapes, incredible abstracts and animals.
Soapstone is an excellent white stone that is rubbed with water and sand paper to create elegant sculptures, animal figure, chess set, fruit plate or a jewelry box. It can be shaped in any design one desires. They look beautiful painted or in their natural color (white).
You will see some of the traders continuing their handcraft work as they sell their wares. You can interact with them and negotiate prices.
Questions asked by Buyers;
1. Is it possible to bargain? Certainly, after all, it is a culture at the Maasai market. However, kindly know that the few shillings that might now make a big difference in your life will help change some else’s life. So try to be fair in your bargains.
- Can I get a custom order to get a unique product made just for you? Definitely, why not? If you want an individual product, you can always order and collect it at a later date. All the vendors know each other and are always in the same venues hence, they are not interested in conning you. Although it is advisable, you only deal with one vendor, pay a small “fee “as a deposit, exchange telephone numbers to keep track of your order.
Can I get someone to take me to the market? Of course, there are brokers stationed everywhere in the market- but it will be more enjoyable if you go around yourself and witness the magnificent splendor of African crafts at your stride. And you can make bargains on your behalf and avoid being pushed into buying stuff that was not in your mind in the first place.
Also, chances are you will come across another artisan who is more creative in blending colors, design and has a great finished product of high quality.
- Can I pay in any foreign currency? Well, that’s a bit tricky because most of the traders only use Kenya shillings. So my advice will be; kindly carry some of your money in local currency – Kenya shillings.
Do the artisans speak and understand English? Yes, they do. Some only know and speak basic English words hence, they prefer using Swahili. Tip. Take some basic lesson in Swahili on basic words and purchase things.
Maasai market days and locations in Nairobi
Tuesday – Kijabe Street Park next to Nairobi River.
-Prestige Plaza along Ngong Road.
Wednesday – Capital Center along Mombasa road.
Thursday – The Junction – Ngong road.
Friday – Upper car park at The Village market along Limuru road & Lavington Mall.
Saturday –The High Court parking – City Center opposite Re-Insurance Plaza
-Prestige Plaza along Ngong road.
Sunday – Car park outside the Yaya Center along Valley Road in Hurlingham.
Monday to Sunday – Galleria mall, along Langata road.
The Jua Kali artisans are always working hard to perfect the curios and crafts to create beautiful trendy African crafts. African curios are superb and unique gifts you can carry as souvenirs, for personal use or sell.