You cannot find any plaza or shopping centre or large department stores on the island.
Zanzibar is full of small boutiques and stand where all kinds of things are sold.
If you want to find the right product, you have to walk a lot, and therefore you need enough time for shopping.
If you have a guide, he will help you, but even he might lead you to a preliminarily agreed place where he receives his baksheesh.
Sellers offer their goods wherever you go. Beach boys stop you on the streets, and want to sell you sunglasses,
T-shirts, ebony figures or anything else. Don’t bother, and say “No, thanks”, and go on.
You can and must always bargain, and if you are lucky you can buy the goods for one fourth or fifth of the original price.
Bargaining is almost compulsory, but there are places where you should not bargain, you will see it.
It is worth buying spices, ebony figures, coffee, tea, bracelets, ties, beach wraps, sea snail shells, tanzanite, tinga-tanga (painting), gold.
The offered goods are attractive as they are unique, hand-made, but sometimes Chinese plastic goods are also offered, so be careful when you buy things.
The ebony figures are sometimes falsified, they are painted to black. You can recognise them by their heavy weight when you put them into your hands.
The ebony is much heavier than water and does not float. If your figure floats then you have surely bought something else.
The bazaar row of the old Stone Town is indicated on the following map. This is the most frequently visited route.
Take enough time to look around, because you can find more beautiful goods at lower prices elsewhere.
We have to also mention that ladies are recommended not to show their bellies and shoulders when they are at public places, e.g. are shopping, as this is a Muslim area.
Men will laugh and shout loudly if they see women showing their body parts, but it’s very rare. We have experienced it though.
We have bought beach wraps for our girl partners. Everything was OK then.