Ugandan gifts and souvenirs
A souvenir is a gift that one gets from a specific place fro remembrances of the places that you have visited. Uganda has a lot of souvenirs and gifts to give due to its diverseness when it comes to culture. With more than 50 tribes each having a different culture, Uganda offers one a closer look into the culture of the different tribes and what they have to offer inform of souvenirs.
Some souvenirs sold in Uganda include art crafts like weaving, wood carvings and pottery. it should however be noted that these gifts and souvenirs were imported before from Kenya, DRC and Tanzania but now Ugandans are making their own crafts in form of gifts and souvenirs which are sold in the different parts of the country.
You can get the gifts and souvenirs from shops and markets although a few are moved from door to door by the sales persons and they are all sold at an inexpensive price. A few of the souvenirs sold in Uganda include the following.
Example of gifts and souvenirs in Uganda
- handmade bags
These are made from different material for example cloths, beads and animal hides. The handmade bags include laptop bags, hand bags, clutches, cross bags. These can be got from the different gift shops and the prices range from the design of the bag and its size although you should note that they are all of good quality and there is a bag for everyone.
- wood carvings
These come in different sizes and shapes and they are made from the various types of wood found in Uganda. Examples of wood made souvenirs include the deities, wall hangings, board games like Omweso, animal carvings and many more others.
Wood carvings made from mahogany and teak trees are a bit expensive and they last longer. Grab yourself a wood carved souvenir and decorate your home, office or body by purchasing wooden necklaces and ear rings.
There are several paintings in Uganda showing traditional values, the way of life of people, wildlife and the beautiful landscapes of Uganda. These are painted with different shades from pencil, color or water marks.
The prices differ according to where you have bought them and the size of the painting. They are good for wall hanging as they add glamour to the office or home.
You can get your souvenir décor from the different art craft shops around the country. These are mostly made by hand and examples include handmade rags, mats, curtains, decorated horns and hides. All these can be used in decorating your home and they come at an affordable price.
The jewelry made in Uganda differs from the design and type being made. Most of the designs are made from colorful beads, papers which are designed to suit someone’s needs. The types of jewelry made in Uganda include ear rings, necklaces, bangles, head bands and bracelets. Pick out the one of these as a souvenir and you will not regret due to the wonderful patterns they form after making them.
Jewelry comes in many types whether it’s modern jewelry or traditional. One thing remains the same; they are all colorful and lovely with patterns of Uganda flag colors black as well as gold and silver. From earrings, beads, rings, arm and leg bangles, necklace, bracelets, headdresses, amulets, you’ll not be disappointed.
Shoes made in Uganda are majorly made for animal skin and hides and they are locally known as crafts. They can be found in the different markets around Uganda and they come in various sizes and designs. They are mostly decorated with different shades of beads to add beauty to the crafts.
- traditional clothing
There are different traditional clothes that are put on in Uganda and which you can go with after your visit to the pearl of Africa. Every culture in Uganda has its own traditional wear and a few of them are listed below:
- The Baganda, people from Eastern Uganda put on the Gomesi and kikoyi which is put on by women and the Kanzu which is put on by the men. The kanzu comes in colors of white and cream whereas the Gomesi comes in different shades.
- The western people that are Banyankole, Bakiga, and Batooro put on Omushanana which also comes in different floral colors for the women.
- The people from Northern Uganda and west Nile put on Bitenges which are African print in the different shades of colors.
- African music instruments
These come in different shapes and types and these include the flute, African drum with a string, calabash used by the Acholi, Adungu, cow horns and the harp. Most of these are made from animal hides and can be found in the different shops for art crafts in the country.
They are used to make music which is sung and danced to in folk music and you can get yourself a small African drum to decorate your room.
- phone jackets
These are decorated using African print cloths, beads and other attractive materials made in Uganda. They help in protecting the phone from damages in case it falls down and dust. It is the perfect souvenir to show the Ugandan heritage.
- The baskets
These are woven from papyrus and banana fiber and can be decorated using different colors. they can be used to keep Small items like make up or just places around the house for decoration purpose. Sisal can also be used to do the baskets and dipped in color to make the different shades on the market.
Places where to get the gifts and souvenirs from in Uganda
- The Nommo Gallery
Nommo gallery is considered to be the national gallery and it is located at Nakasero next to Sheraton Hotel. It has some of the finest paintings in Uganda and others imported from Kenya.
Visit Nommo gallery and experience the life of different artists and get yourself one. Be ready to bargain heavily with the seller as they are willing to part with as much as they can when it comes to selling off art pieces.
- The Friday market
This is a very normal market day although it happens on Friday and is located along in Nsambya Ggaba road. Most of the souvenirs sold here are sold by the manufacturers themselves and you can easily bargain as compared to the shops and you get to buy different African made art crafts in one place.
You are assured of getting authentic material from here since it is from the source and at an equally affordable price.
- Banana boat store
This has a lot of souvenirs and gifts that one can get like African jewelry, wood carvings, art made from metal and other art pieces. The prices for the souvenirs sold here are constant and quite expensive and all these can be got form Lugogo mall located in Kisementi and Garden city.
- Exposure Africa
This is found along Buganda road and it is the largest market for crafts in Kampala. When you go for shopping at Exposure Africa, be sure to compare the different prices from the different stalls to get affair one. You can items like crafts, Bitenge, decorative drums, necklaces and other forms of jewelry all displayed on the different stalls.
So if you do not want to move from place to place looking for a souvenir, Exposure Africa is the place to go and pick one that will be a good keepsake.
- Uganda arts and crafts Village
This is a collection of stalls and they have various stock African items. Located behind National theater in kampala, they have art craft which includes leather shoes, African crafts, necklaces and other pieces of jewelry, bitenge dresses, shirts and pants, wooden African chairs and tables and several other wooden carvings. You can purchase all these at a price and after bargaining.
- Uganda crafts-2000LTD
These are found along Bombo road in Kampala and they have items made from materials like banana leaves and fibers, sisal, wood and animal skin and hide. They give employment to the marginalized group of people like the lame, deaf and also orphans that have HIV.
Pass by and purchase items like baskets, bracelets, mats and wooden round stools for seating on.
- The equator crafts village
This is found in Kayabwe along Masaka road and it has a variety of African art craft that is sold in the different stalls. They have items that include the cow horns, drums, bitenge clothes, wood carved items like stools, chairs and tables, motors and African jewelry. The prices are relatively affordable and you are allowed to bargain. So as you head out to the Equator, make sure you get yourself a souvenir form any of these shops.
As you visit Uganda, get yourself a souvenir and gift from the different areas in the country and you will not regret it.
Lugogo Shopping Mall Kampala Kampala
Crane Crafts & Engravers Ltd.69 Nkrumah Road 1516,Kampala Kampala
Banana Boat23 Cooper Road Kisementi – Kololo Kampala Kampala
Banana BoatYusuf Lule Road Kampala Kampala
Decor Plus Ltd.8 – 10 Kampala Road/Nkrumah Road Uganda House, Sho 1855,Kampala Kampala
Heart2Heart Africa Ltd.21/23 Entebbe Road Battery House 16709,Kampala Kampala
041-4223360, 041-4593805, 077-2876699
Homes & Gardens36 Bandali Rise Bugolobi 35983,Kampala Kampala
Getting the appropriate gifts for your family or friends can be an intimidating task especially if you are acquiring it from a place you know little about.
Many people usually pick gifts or souvenirs as reminder of their holiday. There is a wide variety of souvenirs, travel gifts and even literature you can always pick from your vacation. The items picked normally have a special importance attached to the vacation such that they will always remind you of that particular trip over time. Fortunately, with the recent years, many people have discovered the significance of these reminders. Remember, the activity of collecting these items is fun in itself.
Several times as we travel to other cities or countries, our friends and family do expect to receive a gift on our return. For that matter therefore, as you enjoy shopping while on your trip be it leisure, business or educative; it is very vital to always remember the people you left back home who eagerly await your return.
When you start souvenir shopping on your vacation, try and buy a sufficient quantity and variety of special gifts. Do this especially if you are travelling to a destination that you may never re-visit. Always it’s a good initiative to carry something back home to remind you now and again of the wonderful, memorable trip you had.
Below are a few guidelines to help you in choosing the best souvenir and gift for friends and family.
Before departing for your vacation, ask your family & friends about gifts they would love you to bring them on your return. If you want it to be a surprise, ask them a few questions that will enable you get an idea of what they admire in that place.
When traveling to another country, browse the internet for amazing collections of souvenir available in that country/place.
For your family and very close friends, you may choose to bunch up the best photos in an album. This will be an ideal gift for them.
Enquire from local shopping-guides or tourist pamphlet on arrival for ideas on where to do your shopping. Local crafts are a good alternative as they are distinctive and of good quality.
If you get the chance to venture outwards from the local tourist center of your visit, stop in the local stores, market or shops. You may come across an impressive item that is beautiful and very unusual for a gift back at home.
Endeavor to find gifts that people can relate with encounters of your experience on the trip, like if you are visiting England, purchase a beautiful teacup similar to those used at a renowned café in London
Instead of incurring large expenses on one gift, buy a few small gifts from different places.
Below are some examples of gifts and souvenirs you can pick for your family and friends. Ashtrays, travel mugs, coffee mugs, cigarette lighters and glasses, Key chains, bumper stickers, window decals, tea sets, miniature spoons, and T-shirts, glass bells and baseball hats that show the name or may be the map of the state, place or the country. Other gifts include woodcarvings Soapstone and leather items.
Remember to keep a backup of these gifts and souvenirs just in case you unintentionally forget someone or want to keep one for yourself.