The continent of Africa has a lot to offer the avid market goer. Africa has a wide choice of markets, depending on what you’re interested in shopping for. Craftsmen are selling exquisite handmade items, others are cooking and serving local specialties to keep you full as you stroll around the markets. Want to make the most of your holidays? Discover some of the best markets in Africa, the best African destinations to visit for authentic shopping beyond shopping malls and supermarkets.
There are charming, colourful and vibrant open-air markets in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya and many more. So many nice places to visit, and the great thing about marketplaces, souks, or bazaars, in Africa is the superior quality and good value of the produce on offer. When you visit a place in Africa, wandering around a market and real everyday interactions with locals is a great way to get to know some of the continent’s best travel destinations.
Khan el-Khalili, Egypt
The Khan el-Khalili is a major souk/bazaar in the historic centre of Islamic Cairo, Egypt. In this Cairo’s world-renowned bazaar, stalls are erected by shopkeepers and artisans, selling everything from fashion and furniture to food. One of the best places to visit in Africa for a local shopping experience, probably nothing you haven’t seen before. Khan el-Khalili is a great market for cheap souvenirs for family and friends. It’s a main attraction and one of the most visited tourist destinations in the country. Here, you’ll feel and experience the authentic Egyptian culture!
Onitsha Main Market, Nigeria
Wholesale or retail? Anything you are looking for is available here at a good price. Located in Anambra State in southeastern Nigeria, Onitsha Market is Africa’s largest market based on the size and volume of goods. A regional commercial powerhouse attracting both traders and consumers from different parts of the continent down to Onitsha market to buy everything from clothing to industrial equipment, household items, and much more. As a tourist visiting Onitsha market, you’ll need a reliable local guide to assisting you with navigating and exploring Nigeria’s biggest market.
Kejetia Market, Ghana
With over 50,000 stores, Kejetia is one of the best and biggest markets in Africa. Located in the capital city of Ashanti Region, Kumasi, Kejetia Market (Kumasi Central Market), is the heart of all the commercial and socio-economic activity of the region. Going to this Kumasi Central Market is one of the fun top things to do in Ghana. A market filled with local produce from all over Ashanti region and beyond, offering everything from the handicrafts section to food sales canteens and second-hand items. Visitors can sample native products and delicious local treats whilst shopping for handcrafted souvenirs.
Ghana’s world-famous Kente textiles can easily be found in Kejetia market, as well as diverse traditional African prints, all for a good deal. Having a central location, it serves as gateway for visitors to indulge a bustling leisure centre, featuring bars and restaurants. Explore with the locals and enjoy authentic Ghanaian experience. Also, nearby attraction is the Kumasi Cultural Centre, a chance to gain knowledge on the Ashanti culture – the choice is yours.
Medina of Fez, Morocco
The medina of Fez is historic landmark and market all in one, is arguably the largest medina in the world. To enjoy it, get a guide and take your time. Tour with a local guide is awesome and so informative, explore the narrow streets of amazing sights and city’s aura. There are numerous shops, talk to the vendors, be nice and they give you a good deal. Don’t miss out this nice destination in Morocco, the culture is incredible!
Maasai Market, Kenya
The Maasai Market is easily the best flea market in Nairobi, Kenya, and one of the best in Africa. Nairobi might be known for being the gateway to numerous African safaris, visiting Kenya’s capital perfectly combines wildlife alongside true local shopping experiences. A once in a lifetime experience that rewards tourists with great souvenirs from Kenya. Go, embrace the culture and wildlife, explore and have fun!
Locations and days
The Maasai Market is open several days a week, and held at different locations in all over Nairobi.
- Monday – There is usually no market on this day.
- Tuesday – Kijabe Street Park next to Nairobi River and Prestige Plaza along Ngong Road.
- Wednesday – Capital Center along the Mombasa road.
- Thursday – The junction Mall, and along Ngong road.
- Friday – The Village market along Limuru road in Gigiri and Langinton Mall.
- Saturday – The High court parking in the city Center opposite Re-Insurance Plaza & Prestige Plaza along Ngong road.
- Sunday – Yaya Centre, shopping mall in Nairobi, along Valley Road in Hurlingham.
Visiting one of the many flea markets is a beloved local tradition, always a great shopping destination.
Owino Market, Uganda
Located in St Balikuddembe Market, Owino market is a market inside market. It is reputable for being the hub of secondhand clothing. This market is located near Nakivubo Stadium between Kafumbe Mukasa road and Nakivubo place road, Uganda. As a tourist, this market will get you to experience the locals as your bargaining skills will be put to test.
Fourways Farmers Market, South Africa
South Africa’s Fourways Farmers’ Market is a big mood, an open-air weekend market featuring live bands, food and drink stalls, artisanal goods and many more. Here, vendors sell items that appeal to everyone, and food are freshly prepared. Picnics are encouraged as there is a lawn and garden which are available with informal seating arrangements. The market is very vegan and vegetarian friendly, and its surrounding is kids-friendly with a lovely play area where parents can sit in close proximity.
- Friday: 3:30 pm – 10:30 pm
- Saturday: 9:30 am – 3:30 pm
- Sunday: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Addis Merkato, Ethiopia
The Addis Merkato is a massive open-air market in the Addis Ketema, a sub city of Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. It is simply the biggest market and shopping place in Ethiopia. The experience is full of colours, unique and one of a kind as the market portrays real life in Addis Ababa. Merkato stretches far and wide, it is loud, energetic and busy, probably nothing you haven’t seen before! As a tourist at Merkato, all attention is on you. You’ll be approached by vendors and hustlers trying to sell to you, and at same time, targeted by pickpockets. Highly advisable to go with a local guide.
Greenmarket Square, South Africa
Greenmarket Square is a historical square and flea market in Cape Town, South Africa, is one of the best places to find African souvenirs. A very vibrant tourist spot, if you’re in the city centre it a nice place to do a quick walk through, and negotiate great prices. There’s a good selection of eating places and attractions in around, the city’s sightseeing stops are just a few minutes away.
Ariaria International Market, Nigeria
The Ariaria International Market is well known for being Nigeria’s commercial powerhouse, a shopper’s paradise. It certainly can compete with open-air mega markets in the world. Ariaria market is one of the best places to visit in Africa, there is something for everyone, clothes, plants, hotel supplies, you name it you will find it. Being one of the largest markets in Africa, the market is reputable for making of wears and leather works. Its suitable for personal shoppers, retailers and wholesalers, offering a shopping experience on offer to suit every taste and budget.
As one of the biggest fabric markets in the continent, you can watch your clothing be made right before you. Want to go on a shopping spree in Nigeria without blowing your budget? Here is the place to be, and its highly recommended to go with a trusted local, in order not to be overpay for fake products. Marketplace is open from about 9:00am until 6:00pm Monday to Saturday. But the atmosphere of the market changes as the day progresses, so best time to visit is before 11am.
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