Lifestyle, Travel

Kariakoo – A Bargain-Lover’s Haven

If your dream holiday destination is a spot of sun, sand and shopping, Dar es Salaam is the place to be. Speaking about shopping, Kariakoo Market, credited to be the biggest market in Dar es Salaam, makes the perfect place to find almost everything, from clothes, handicrafts, fruits, vegetables, electric gadgets to fancy souvenirs, all reasonably priced, and negotiable.


However, shopping at Kariakoo is not for everyone, the plethora of shops, swarmed together may make an overwhelming sight for first-timers. Along, with the constant rush of people, and busy traffic in the narrow streets, makes exploring by feet the only viable option. Nevertheless, the Kariakoo market is often referred to as a bargain-lover’s haven, and the reason being, you can shamelessly ask vendors/shopkeepers to sell you their products for half the stated price, and you might walk away triumphant with the deal, or if not that, you could at least make a good enough bargain that you wouldn’t find anywhere else in the city.

Secrets to Bagging the Best Bargain

  • While shopping in Kariakoo, everyone swears to get the get the best bargain. However, with the never-ending sequence of shops, street hawkers and stalls all selling a range of items at various prices, it might get a little confusing as to where to start from, or what price to bargain for. Therefore, it is always a good idea to start with a plan in mind. The Kariakoo market is divided into a number of streets, all of them selling a certain category of items. Congo Street is popular for women’s apparels and accessories, Aggrey Street is the best spot to shop for new crockery to stock up your kitchen cabinets, or look for essential household products. It is advisable to do some market research before stepping into the Kariakoo market. Know what products you need to shop for, and choose your streets wisely.
  • Another great tip to make your Kariakoo visit worthwhile is to start early. Kariakoo makes a huge market, that itself needs plenty of time to be explored. Therefore, start early as most of shops open by 8 AM in the morning, and it also makes the optimum time to grab the best deals while the market is not as jam-packed as during the peak hours.
  • If you are already fluent with the Swahili language, well and good. But if not, it is essential you learn a few phrases and Swahili numbers to help you shop at Kariakoo. Some helpful phrases include:
  • ‘Bei gani?’ (What is the price?)
  • ‘Unapunguza bei’ (Will you give discounts?)
  • ‘Tafadhali’ (Please)
  • ‘Ni bei ghali’ (Price is too high)
  • While shopping at Kariakoo it is easy to get tempted to buy a lot more than what you planned while leaving your homes. However, setting a budget is a great way to avoid overspending, and knowing exactly the range you could spend on a particular item.

Exploring a huge crowded market has thrills of its own. Apart from getting you some great deals, it also gives you the satisfaction of buying something after your persistence to look for it under the unforgiving tropical sun. So, get ready for some shopping adventure at the Kariakoo market. Gear up with a handy water bottle, a snack, and some extra shillings to splurge on your shopping spree, and put your bargaining skills to a great use!

*This article was also published in Precision Air’s inflight magazine, Paa Magazine. 


3 thoughts on “Kariakoo – A Bargain-Lover’s Haven”

  1. I miss home. I still love shopping there even though I don’t need it. There is something special about the crowd, the noise and not to mention the narrow and crowded snack shops.


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