Special Items to buy
Kangas and Kikois
, the traditional coloured wrap worn by local women, makes an ideal souvenir. You can wear it, use it as a beach mat on the coast or a sheet to cover bare mattresses in cheap hotels, and then hang it on your wall, throw it over your sofa or turn it into cushion covers when you get home. A kanga normally comes as a large rectangle which the women then cut into two pieces, each about a metre square. One half is worn as a wrap-over skirt and the other is worn as a headscarf (a knot is usually tied in one corner and used for keeping money in). Prices for a kanga, from the market or a local cloth shop, start at about US$5.
On Zanzibar, and elsewhere on the coast, men traditionally wear a kikoi
, a wraparound 'kilt' of woven cotton, usually striped and thicker than a kanga. Once again, a kikoi also has many practical travel uses before you take it home to use as a seat cover. Prices start at US$8.
If you want to combine African and Western clothing, you could even have a local tailor make up a shirt or pair of baggy shorts from a kikoi. For more ideas see the excellent little book 101 Uses for a Kanga, by David Bygott, available in Zanzibar bookshops.
Newspaper and bookshops
Newspapers from Kenya and mainland Tanzania, some international magazines and a reasonable range of books, are available from the Masumo bookshop
, off Creek Road, near the market, and from some of the souvenir shops along Kenyatta Road near the old post office.
One of the best bookshops is the Zanzibar Gallery
on Kenyatta Road. Although primarily a souvenir shop, it has a very good selection of guidebooks and coffee-table books on Zanzibar and other parts of Africa, animal and bird field guides, maps, histories and general novels.
Film and camera supplies
Slide and print film for cameras is available in several souvenir shops in Zanzibar Town (the ones along Kenyatta Road have the best stock). The shamshuddin cash & carry supermarket, near the musoma bookshop, also has a good stock. The best place to buy film is Majestic Quick Foto
, on the east side of Creek Road, opposite the BP petrol station. Also see Capital Art Studio, above. Be sure to check the expiry dates if you buy film from more offbeat establishments.