Where to buy arts and crafts in Uganda | Embodied in unmatched beauty, it took no time for Winston Churchill to name her the Pearl of Africa in 1907. One would think that beauty fades, but not Uganda’s. She has been called, more recently, ‘’Africa condensed into one country,’’ by lonely planet. Uganda is surrounded by very stunning scenery with hills, mountains at almost all her borders, envied forests waterbodies and falls running through her veins. The hospitality, rich culture and friendliness of her citizens is the frosting on the cake.

Uganda further boasts of having the largest number of mountain gorillas and chimpanzees in the world. She also holds the source of the Nile right at Lake Victoria. What less can a country so beautiful give apart from giving more and more?

About 1.8 million tourists flood the country each year to behold her beauty. These numbers, for a rather small country help to create jobs for the people living near the attraction sites. The jobs include tour guides, drivers among others but the most direct are the arts and crafts which the tourists buy to retain a piece of Uganda for Uganda Safaris.

Most, if not all art and craft sold at tourist sites is handmade by the person you will find selling it and high chances are, it is their main income source. Buying a piece from these people directly improves their livelihoods and that of their family. The arts and crafts sold include but are not limited to bangles, earrings, African musical instruments, t-shirts, Ugandan woven baskets, African carving and items made out of backcloth or banana leaves. All these items can be bought as souvenirs or a gift for a loved one.

Top art and craft places

The African village

Located along Buganda road in the heart of Kampala, the African village is one of the best places to buy crafts and art when in the capital of Uganda. The shops in the village have crafts ranging from clothes made from the famous Ugandan Kikoyi, the African Kitengi, musical instruments, shoes, wooden sculptures in all sizes and more. You may also find an artist working on a painting.

Where to buy arts and crafts in Uganda
The African village

Friday craft market

The Nsambya based craft market is one of the cheapest crafts markets in the country. Every Friday, you can get art and crafts at lower rates if you have a high bargaining power. You also have a chance to meet the original artists and crafters as well as buy items like soapstone chess pieces all the way from Kenya. The most sold items however are African sandals and carvings.

Banana boat

Banana boat has three shops in Kampala less than 10 minutes from each other. Each shop has tribal art, representing tribes of Uganda and all over Africa with special attention on home and interior design. They also have African jewellery, handmade leather sandals, woven baskets and carvings from Congo. The shops are located in Kisementi on cooper road, Garden city Mall along Yusuf Lule road and Lugogo mall along Jinja road.

Uganda Art and Craft village.

Stocked with art from Uganda, Rwanda and Congo, the art and craft village is one of the most visited art shops in Kampala. Items range from leather craft, Ugandan inspired clothing, wood carvings, Ugandan style furniture and more. The shops at the village are many so comparing prices is paramount. It is located near the famous National Theatre.

Where to buy arts and crafts in Uganda
Uganda Art and Craft village.

Source of the Nile

The arguably most famous place in Jinja is also one of the most known art and craft centres. The rather small shops start at the entrance till the source of the Nile itself. Various crafts by the locals are sold for example bracelets, earrings, wooden carvings, the Ugandan flag and various paintings among other things.

The Equator

Located in Kayabwe Mpigi along Kampala-Masaka road, any tourist headed to Bwindi or Queen Elizabeth National Parks cannot miss the special landmark. The Equator is an imaginary line dividing the earth into the northern and southern hemisphere and Uganda is blessed to be crossed by it. Apart from taking pictures and doing the equator experiments, tourists find joy in buying the arts and crafts here. The most famous souvenirs are the t-shirts that read ‘’ I crossed the Equator.’’ However, you will find other items like local baskets and jewellery made by the locals. Prices may be slightly high (but worth it) because all proceedings go to the needy children.

Other major places to buy art and crafts in Uganda include the Uganda museum that assures you of artifacts, Entebbe town near the Entebbe International Airport, the entries to the various national parks, major towns like Jinja (main street) and Fortportal among others.

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