Mozambique's traditional handicrafts, local products and food reflect its rich history and culture. Visitors to this emerging tourist destination are charmed by the products made in Mozambique, as also by the experience of shopping for them.
One of the most popular Mozambique souvenirs are intricately carved, colourful and unique African masks. The design of each mask has a different significance, which makes the choice in deciding which one to buy a difficult one!
This Mozambique Shopping Guide lists just a few of the items that you may wish to purchase during your Mozambique vacation. Many products are locally made items sold at various stalls, stands and street peddlers. For more detailed information about Mozambique culture and various opportunities to experience the country personally, check out the Mozambique tours we have on offer. And as you shop, don't forget to take some time out for a bite to eat and savour the delicious local food, as recommended in our Mozambique Restaurants Guide.
Mozambique Shopping Guide
Where to shop in Mozambique
The capital city, Maputo, is lined with large markets and department stores. These big stores also stock local crafts in addition to their commercial items. Smaller towns offer a slightly different Mozambique shopping experience, a lively one with lots of banter and street vendors hawking a variety of goods at reasonable rates. Official markets in Mozambique are called mercado, and every town has one. These markets are a lively meeting place and offer a slice of life in Mozambique. The range of products on sale is astounding – second-hand clothing, printed cloth from India, shoes made from recycled car tires, and a tempting array of food items like fresh fruit, local vegetables and dried fish.
Mozambique is slowly emerging as one of the major tourist destinations in Africa, and its cultural tradition is richly depicted in its art and handicrafts. Mozambique art reflects the country’s rich and diverse traditions and culture, and also offers glimpses of colonial influence and resistance to it. Many paintings and sculptures also draw on traditional customs and animist beliefs. Big city stores and small roadside stalls alike offer a plethora of items for sale. When it comes to picking up souvenirs in Mozambique, popular choices include beautifully woven reed mats and fine baskets, intricately carved wooden products, pottery, leather articles, distinctive, ornaments made of wood, malachite, soapstone and wire, and vibrantly coloured masks. Every African mask from Mozambique has its own story and significance, often tied to Makonde dances and masquerade traditions in the northern part of the country.
For unique handicrafts and curios, visit Pemba, which is one of the best places in Mozambique for handicrafts and curios. Informal curio markets, woodcarving cooperatives and local market stalls offer you products at reasonable prices in a lively and energetic atmosphere. These markets also stock Makonde carvings, Tinga Tinga paintings, Ibo Island jewellery and decorative baskets. Please note that sometimes the quality of items on sale can range.
If you are looking for high quality painted sculptures and hardwood Makonde statues, a visit to a woodcarving cooperative is recommended. For high-end products like jewellery, paintings, baskets and Makonde art, visit Artes Makonde (earlier called the CEE Bee Art Gallery). See our recommended shops below for more detailed information.
Shopping Hours in Mozambique
Most of the Mozambique shops and markets are open on all days except Sundays. The shops in Mozambique are usually open from 8 am to 12:30 pm, followed by a two hour recess. They open again at 2 pm to finally close for the day at 7:30 pm.
Shopping in Maputo
The capital city, Maputo, offers visitors a unique Mozambique shopping experience. The city's largest shopping area is its central market, located downtown near the main train station on Avenida Septembro. This huge market features items ranging from clothing to cookware, food products to handicrafts. You can also pick up low-priced souvenirs and t-shirts. While bargaining is acceptable, the atmosphere is tends to be calm and relaxed.