Uganda is one of the ethnically diverse African nations. With more than 55 different tribes each with unique culture, heritage, arts and crafts, and travelers on a safari have a lot to explore. Particulary Uganda’s craftsmanship takes various forms such as weaving, pottery; wood carving and people use their inherited skills to produce some of the unique and quality craft products. While some souvenirs are imported from countries like Kenya, DRC, South Sudan, majority of them are made in Uganda and authentic. You can only be limited by space in your backpack or suit case because souvenirs are affordable. Before you buy a souvenir, here are important tips to consider. Buy a souvenir that is easy to pack and avoid illegal items such as ivory or rhino horn made crafts. the best places to buy souvenirs are the craft shops and markets, art gallaries in kampala city and communities around uganda national parks. note that even if you may not want to shop big, visiting those places is an experience on its own. but more importantly we encourage you to buy souvenirs because it helps those involved to earn income and support their families and business while transforming ugandas economy.
Traditional Ugandan clothing
Traditional clothing in Uganda varies from tribe to tribe but they are all beautiful. You can buy an entire outfit or a single item separately and still get them in every color and design. From the most trending pants with blending patterns, skirts and tops, kikooye for women to most popular Gomesi and Kanzu for Baganda.
Many craft shops around Kampala have got a variety of beautiful household and decorations items of all kinds. You can never fail to buy one if you explore more of the shops. There are most unique ones like banana fiber mats, cow hides and horns, desk storage, flower pots, lamp shades, hand woven rugs, curtains and many more.
You’ll be overwhelmed by the variety of handmade bags on sale around the craft shops and markets in Kampala. From backpacks, laptops bags, designer cross bags, clutches to shopping bags with zip locks, there’s something for every traveler. Prices vary with quality of the bags but most of them are authentic and of good quality.
Jewelry comes in many types whether it’s modern jewelry or traditional. One thing remains the same; they are all colorful and lovely with patterns of Uganda flag colors black as well as gold and silver. From earrings, beads, rings, arm and leg bangles, necklace, bracelets, headdresses, amulets, you’ll not be disappointed.
Paintings and art works
The fact that 3rd JAMAFEST, the East African Arts and Cultural Festival will be hosted in Uganda from 7th to 15th September 2017 at Kololo independence grounds, it makes Uganda a cultural and arts hub of East Africa. You’ll love Uganda by mere looking at some of the painting and arts pieces. They range in many collections such as Uganda wildlife paintings, landscape scenery, and traditional ways of life. They make good decorations for your office or home such as wall hangings.
Wood carvings are great and come in all sizes for easy packing. Some are made in form of traditional board games, animal carvings, ancient deities, bowls and many more. Their price in Kampala depends on the type of wood used to carve the item. Those made from teak wood, mahogany will last longer but can be expensive because they are indigenous and rare to find. However, there are those made from renewable trees such as mango are sustainable and averagely priced.
Unlike modern phone cases, Ugandan handmade phone cases look impressive than jewelry itself and their price is cheaper. On your wildlife safari, you may need to protect your expensive phone or note pad and that’s why you should buy a decorated phone case.
Ugandan made craft shoes are another great souvenir. Buy one for your new fashion looks.
On a safari to Uganda, hot sunshine is one thing that will definitely make you want to buy an African hat and protect yourself from scotching sun rays. Hats are made from different materials such as straw hats, banana fiber hats, African cloth hats, leather and mad hats, kitengye print hats, Rastafarian hats and many more.
Baskets are traditional items that serve many purposes such as keeping and serving food, gifts and for packaging. Baskets are handmade especially by women and disabled people. They use raw materials such as banana fiber, raffia, millet straws and grass which make weaving an environmentally sound business. Some of the types you can buy include Ntemere, banana fiber, natural baskets, Nubian Tobago, kuta and kufu. They are found in craft markets in kampala but if you want to see how they weave them, go for a cultural village walk around any Uganda national park.
Ugandan snacks and spices
Kampala city is a food haven with traditional and international cuisines as well as delicious snacks and spices. There are popular places like café javas, piato, seven seas at Sheraton and those restaurants that prepare Indian, Italian, Ethiopian food. Visitors who want to eat as well as pack a Ugandan snack after a safari and take it with you back home. Dried fruits or snacks won’t perish as you fly back but they are delicious and a great souvenir you’ll live to remember.
The most popular traditional musical instruments in Uganda include the African drum, wind, strings and percussion. They come in varieties such as flutes, cow horns, fiddles which are traditionally used at ceremonies to perform dances, songs and storytelling. There’s one string instrument found a Uganda museum that professor George William kakoma used to compose Ugandan national anthem.
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