Rwanda market by The Commonwealth via Flickr Creative Commons

Rwanda has a strong tradition of local, open air markets in which great products and even better deals can be found. One of the more popular markets is the Caplaki co-operative in Kigali. Here, local traders have clubbed together to create a colorful and enjoyable shopping experience.

Rwanda, as with most countries in the region, is known for its incredible selection of handicrafts. Some of the must-buy items include traditional wooden masks used during cultural rituals, reed and grass products like raffia baskets and mats, hand made musical instruments, hand-woven materials and clothing and beautiful gold and silver jewelry.

Most of the markets have a culture of haggling and bargaining which makes for a particularly eventful shopping trip. That said, travelers should keep in mind that the majority of traders are not out to rip off patrons. Haggling should thus be done in the spirit of good fun and with polite gestures.

There aren’t many mega malls in Rwanda, but travelers looking for a shopping experience away from the markets could head to the Union Trade Center in Kigali. The building houses a large supermarket and several internationally known stores including international clothing and footwear brands. Here, tourists can buy everything from art to beer, all under the same roof.

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