Djibouti is free from large commercial malls, but the country won’t disappoint when it comes to shopping. For both locals and foreigners, the market scene is something to look forward to. The towns offer exciting, lively and colorful stalls that sell all kinds of curiosities, crafts and artifacts. Khat, a legal herbal stimulant (milder than coke or meth) is of particular interest. Locals are fond of chewing this Ethiopian herb, which is regularly flown into the country every morning and sold in the Central Market in the afternoon. Also called Arabian tea, Khat is relatively inexpensive, but like most drugs, the quality varies. If you are curious to try this tradition, do shop with care.
Small markets are a hodgepodge of vendors selling fresh local fruits alongside shoes, shirts and art. Craft production is not a big thing in Djibouti, which is why souvenirs are mostly from neighboring countries like Kenya, Somalia, Yemen, and Ethiopia. African garments are of good quality and you can buy colorful dresses (known as bou-bous) at reasonable prices. Woodcarvings are also sold almost everywhere, but like most products, they come from outside of Djibouti.
Ethiopian coffee is a good buy, as well as wooden vases and bead wallets. In the sprawling central market, there is a long line of souvenir stalls where all kinds of mass-produced gifts can be purchased, most of which are from Kenya, India, Egypt, and Yemen.