Although Zimbabwe’s economy is weak, there are still plenty of opportunities to pick up great souvenir items. With everything from art and ceramics to handicrafts and jewelry accessible, tourists will not be disappointed. Bargaining is acceptable in most of the markets, but keep in mind that the shopkeepers are generally poor and, for the most part, are not intent on ripping patrons off.
Zimbabwe’s rich, indigenous culture makes for extensive and impressive handicraft shopping. Some quintessential Zimbabwean gifts are mukwa (or mahogany) sculptures, which can be found in markets all over the country. One of the most famous sculpted items is the batonka drum, which is an instrument used by the Ndebele people. The region is also known for its wonderful selection of precious stones, including emerald and serpentine, which usually come in the form of jewelry and can be found in both marketplaces and established stores. Lastly, basketry has become a popular trade, with many local hawkers selling handmade baskets and mats.
Harare’s largest curio and handicraft outlet may even be one of the biggest in the country. Situated about two miles (three kilometers) outside of Mbare city center, this is the place to be for anyone looking to take a few unique souvenirs home. Find anything from traditional artwork and authentic Mbira musical instruments to ornate soapstone sculptures. There is also a great selection of second-hand clothing and for those interested in doing some groceries shopping, a wide range of fresh fruits and vegetables.