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A Guide to Shopping in Namibia


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Shopping in Namibia is a unique and exhilarating experience that is unlike anywhere else in the world. Most of their products are handmade and done by locals. Despite this, there is an abundance of variety, and you will find yourself spoilt for choice in deciding where to buy and when.

Windhoek, Namibia's capital, features a number of small shops and a few large malls. Here, you can find pretty much everything, from precious stones to locally-made liqueur chocolates. One popular mall in Windhoek is Maerua Park, which is larger and more sophisticated than the smaller craft shops. The prices here are accordingly higher. The Windhoek Street Market, held every fortnight, is a tourist favourite. This market features mostly local crafts at reasonable prices. However, do take note that you can obtain largely similar crafts for lower prices at the craft market in Okahanja, which is situated about an hour away.

Swakopmund is another Namibian town that also sells a variety of art and craft objects, both locally made and obtained from other parts of Africa, particularly Zimbabwe. These make excellent souveniors and can be obtained at low prices. You will find a tantalizing assortment of exotic objects, such as masks, textiles, bowls and carved figurines. One of the most popular craft markets in Swakopmund is found near its lighthouse. This market features many rare and unique items which are unlikely to be found anywhere else in Nambia.

If you happen to be in Tsumeb, head for the Tsumeb Cultural Centre where you can find native African crafts. Here, you can be assured of the authenticity of the crafts and even find out more about their origins and the tribes from which the crafts came from. There is also a local shop which features Bushmen artifacts. You may be interested to know that the local reverend procures these artifacts from Bushmen in exchange for food.

Carved Malakani nuts are also offered for sale everywhere in Namibia. These are nuts which are carved upon, usually with pictures of wildlife. They are made into a variety of accessories, such as keychains. You will find yourself frequently being approached by people who will enquire your name or a name of your family member, upon which they will carve the names into the Malakani nuts as a way of persuading you to buy them.

Namibia has countless sightseeing attractions and monuments, but the shopping experience it offers to visitors is also a charming aspect of Namibian culture that is sure to be both delightful and memorable.

Orson Johnson writes for Holiday Velvet, a website providing vacation accommodation in Namibia & Holiday Rentals worldwide


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