One of the best parts of traveling anywhere is shopping for yourself. Shopping in Kenya can be a lot of fun and a large pain at the same time. The first thing to realize is that bargaining is a must with a few exceptions. Everything is marked up for tourists, and they see you coming, so don't think that you are ripping anyone off, exploiting the underprivileged, or being stingy. Its a game, a form of entertainment, and you must look at it that way. For serious bargains the places to go are the City Market in Nairobi and any little kiosk (shop) on the side of the road. A stop at the Equator is a must.
Now, if you would rather be dead than haggle over the price of anything there are places to go where the African artifacts are of good quality and prices are fixed (very). Try African Heritage in Nairobi as well as Utamaduni in Langata (ten minute drive outside of Nairobi). Merchandise there is more expensive but the selection is greater. Paying by credit card is another advantage as well as having the larger items shipped home. These places are also exceptions to the bargaining rule.
(in Lavington, outside Nairobi) Excellent quality suede clothing, some beaded by local craftsmen, is designed and made here. It is popular in the local area as well as sold as overseas. Stop by and see for yourself. Tell them Bwana Zulia sent you, you might get a "cupa."
(Nairobi) Mostly fabric shops, but there are also some small "dukas" that sell Khangas (printed fabric) and Kikois (woven) those ubiquitous pieces of locally made cloth that everyone wraps around themselves at one time or another. They make great gifts, won't break your budgets and there are many different colors to choose from. Walk up and down the street for a few minutes to get the overall picture and then make your move. Prices there are about as low as they get, certainly lower than most shops in hotels and other heavily trafficked tourist areas. A little bargaining is allowed here, but it is tough adn usually reserved for bulk rates.
(Karen shopping center) is a horse lovers paradise with a ton of horsy gear. but there is also a selection of some rather unique items from all over Kenya. Hand blown candlesticks, canvas bags and safari chairs, wrought iron chandeliers. Check out the rest of Karen while your there, the chemists is a hoot and the Karen Provision Stores could have been dropped right out of the wild, wild west.
(On the Mombassa Rd going away from the airport) This is a bigger, if not necessarily better, African Heritage. It is absolutely huge with tons of things to buy. Again, you will not be getting the best price for the Kenya stuff but you will at least be getting good quality. It can also be a "idea" place to start you off on your trip.
This is a list of shopping malls in Kenya.
• Sarit Centre - Westlands
• The Mall - Westlands
• The Village Market - Gigiri
• Yaya Centre - Kilimani
• Karen Shopping Centre - Karen
• Westgate Shopping MallShopping Mall - Nairobi
• The Junction - Nairobi
• Capital Centre - Mombasa Road, Nairobi
• Panari Centre - Mombasa Road, Nairobi
• Prestige Plaza - Ngong road
• Nakumatt Lifestyle - Nairobi
• Galleria mall - Karen-Langata Road, Nairobi
• Masai Market, Nairobi Central Business District.
• Mega Plaza - Kisumu
• Mega City - Kisumu
• United Mall - Kisumu
• Nakumatt Nyali - Mombasa
• Nyali Cineplex - Mombasa