Your purchase of African Arts, Crafts and Souvenirs will impact the lives of those who created it and their families and the person you purchased from. Your purchase or art, crafts and souvenirs and gifts impact the lives of ordinary Ugandans, most of the items you will find on display and for sale are created by hand. And if you bought similar items such as beads or earrings, bangles in the West handmade – they would cost you more. There are handmade drums, of various sizes, weapons such as spears, (some can be taken apart to put into a suitcase), carved items, items using bark cloth, banana leaves shaped into Christmas crèches to Greetings Cards – items made of gourds, African musical instruments, paintings batiks, one could go on – explore for yourself and enjoy.
Exposure Africa is the craft market next to Daisy’s Arcade in Kampala on Buganda Road its the city’s biggest, with over 30 stalls and with almost every items found here is shipped from Kenya but not many Ugandan sellers would want you to know about that. You will find different prices for the same or similar items and the best thing is to bargain.
Uganda Art and Craft Village near the national theatre - this place makes you think that most visitors to Kampala end up here. A lot of the stalls are filled with tourist tat including handmade items from Uganda, Uganda Rwanda and even Congo. You can find a range of handcrafts from wood carvings to leather items, Ugandan shirts and dresses, nicely carved Ugandan chairs and tables, wildlife scene and many more but the norm is – compare prices between shops.
Friday Craft Market in Nsambya on Ggaba Road where you can practice your bargaining skills with the artists and creators of the products. Every Friday there is another option for buying crafts carvings, African style shoes and sandals made locally and even Kenyan items such as soapstone chess sets and many other items. Prices are seem to be a bit lower here compared to those of other markets.
Banana Boat has three exciting shops in Kampala, easy to find and less than 10 minutes apart from one another. Each shop is different, but if you are looking for tribal art, the Banana Boat shop in Kisementi has the biggest selection. They all have smart local items such as better batiks, jewellery, carvings, metal plus stuff from Uganda and several African countries. You even find Congolese carvings. Their shops are found in better shopping Malls which include Garden City Mall on Yusuf Lule Road, Shoprite Lugogo on Jinja Road, and Kisementi on Cooper Road – near the newly opened Acacia Mall. All outlets sell beautiful African crafts and tribal art with emphasis on homes and interiors sourced from all over the African. From skillfully woven baskets to handmade leather sandals all selected from top artists. Banana Boat also has fun designing and developing crafts with Ugandan women’s groups, families and small workshops combining traditional skills with fresh ideas.
Uganda Crafts 2000 Ltd. This is a Non-profit Fair Trade Craft wholesale and retail store.
They export Fair Trade crafts around the world and also run a local crafts store where many visitors to Uganda go for a variety of Ugandan, Kenyan and Congolese art and craft pieces. The shop is located at DLCO-EA House, plot 32-36 Bombo Road, Kampala, Uganda, between Teacher’s House and Bible House – in the basement shop on the west side of the building. The good thing here is that when you purchase an item, you are supporting the underprivileged such as orphans, widows, those living with HIV, single mothers, those with minimal education, as well as people with physical disability.