Souvenirs are a way to take a physical part of Uganda with you. In this article, we shall look at popular places where you can buy African arts and crafts as souvenirs of your Uganda Safari. We shall also look at the role played by the purchase of these locally made arts and crafts in the everyday life of the affected Ugandan.

Like every country, local culture is always represented by art, crafts, music, dance and food – and Uganda is no different. Uganda has more than 50 sub-cultures spread across all corners of the country – and that creates a great variety and collection of arts and crafts to connect with.

At the end of your Safari in Uganda, chances are that you will have wonderful memories that will not leave you. Souvenirs, especially arts and crafts are a physical representation and reminder of the great times you had on your Ugandan Safari trip.

Even for people who are not art collectors, a souvenir from an African Safari will always ignite feelings of happiness and joy.



Buying souvenirs is one of the best ways to directly support local artists and crafts makers in Uganda. At bigger galleries, you might not find the real artist who made the work but you will meet one at small galleries or crafts markets.

Most of the people making these crafts and art pieces have no other stable employment and their families rely on the sale of these souvenirs.

Some Charity organisation have worked with street children and financially lacking mothers to teach thems such skills so that they can earn. One such organisation is Trace Uganda which helps street children as well as mothers in need. Here is their website for more information.

The fact that almost all of the crafts and arts are made using recycled or reused material also means that you are supporting an environment-friendly local activity.


1. Ndere Centre

‘A home for cultural information’ Located along Ntinda – Kisaasi road, in the suburbs of  Kampala. For a free evening, it is a place to sit, hang back, let your hair down and take a break. They host cultural nights on Wednesday and Friday at 7 pm and Sundays at 6 pm. For every cultural curiosity you harbour, this is the place to have all those questions answered. Cultural nights consist of cultural songs and dances from Ugandan tribes used to impart historical knowledge, tell tales of the past, show off skill and ultimately entertain the guests. Entrance fee for Foreign adults $25, children $8 and Ugandan adults $14. It is open every day from 8 am to 12 am providing the opportunity to appreciate the neat gardens and art pieces from a number of young talented local artists which of some you can purchase or reach out to the artist.

2. Exposure Africa

Located on Buganda road right in the heart of Kampala. For the lover of African print and beads, this is the right place to be. Think wood carvings, Sandals, batiks, baskets, beaded jewellery (necklaces, bungles) all embroidered with beads and ‘Kitenge’ skillfully. It gives you quite the African feel and a huge assortment of souvenirs to compliment your African look. There are no price tags on these products so with a great bargaining hand, you can get more than you planned. It is also favoured for being convenient.

3. Uganda Museum

The biggest and oldest Museum in Uganda. It harbours Ugandan culture and history for years. The traditional music section with African traditional music instruments with information about all of them. The Archaeology section with tools that were being used in African Traditional society over a million years ago. You are able to see the 7th car ever in Uganda, the first telephone in East Africa, Ethnohistory for the recent history, for example, the first printing press. Discover ancient Ugandan history and how far she has improved over the years.

4. Uganda Crafts

It is Craft wholesale and retail enterprise providing training and employment for disadvantaged people, for example, the disabled, youth, widows who uniquely blend traditional and modern handmade designs. Baticks depicting Ugandan way of living, African Traditional Society, the wildlife. Handbags made from patterns of African wax print, hand-woven sisal and straw bags. Masai blankets, Kikuyu bags, wooden crafts of gorillas, stools, animal ornaments and bark cloth handbags. Definitely a one-stop-shop for everything customized to beautiful Traditional and modern everyday tools we use. It is located on Bombo Rd, click here for more information.
Uganda Arts and Crafts Village

Dewinton Road just below National Theater lies a ‘village’ of authenticity. With a bunch of retail shops selling all sorts of African crafts. It is very strategically located to pull from tourists and local people who come to the National Theater. The products include kitenge dresses, sculptures, African sandals and shoes, handbags, African baskets and cooking pots ranging from $1-$50

5. Banana boat

There are three shops of banana boat. One is around Acacia mall near Endiro Café, One at Lugogo mall right between Game and Shoprite and one at Garden city. Mixing natural materials like banana fibre, soapstone, horns, palm leaf, raffia among others, they create unique stylish interior designing accessories like bowls, necklaces, key holders even hand-woven baskets and animal skin African drums. For more information click here

6. Kampala Fair

For the designer in you who wants to involve making your own cloth and set your own trend. I include this because as much as the other craft shops are amazing, they are final products. This shop gives you a chance and flexibility to make alterations to the original designs and make your vision come true. The plunging neck design you have been thinking about, the blend of colours and styles you prefer, Kampala Fair is the place for you, selling dresses in traditional patterns fit for any occasion.

7. Maridadi crafts

This is a Swahili word that means glamorous, stylish and elegant. With crafts from over Africa representing diverse African cultures. With miniature depictions of African cultures, an amazing art gallery and calming African feeling. They have female handbags made from sisal, necklaces, belts, key chains, jewellery boxes, beaded bangles, carved animals, mugs among others. All of which have been spruced up with an African and modern touch.

8. Afriart gallery

Lovers of art should not miss this opportunity. Found in 2002 it has showcased contemporary art ever since. Located at Kenneth Dale drive Kamwokya, Afriart features amazing artists like Singi Mlengeya, Sanaa Gateja, John Baptist Ssekubulwa, Arim Andrew, and Lilian Nabulime among others. They share skillfully curved contemporary pieces of art, portrait paintings and sculptures. To get a better understanding of what magic you could take home with you, please check their website for more insight.


Outside of Kampala, you will still find African souvenir arts and crafts to buy. Kampala is a major market and you will not find the biggest variety of options in these other areas. All the same, you will find more localised arts. For example, in Bwindi, you will find a lot of mountain gorilla art carvings than you will find in Kidepo.

Common places to look for souvenirs outside Kampala.

  • The small towns near the national parks.
  • The bigger towns closest to the various national parks.
  • Most of the major towns (Mbarara, Gulu, Forportal, Kabale, Kasese, Arua, Kitgum, Jinja e.t.c)
  • Entebbe Town and near the airport.

In all these places, it is better to ask your guide since he knows the places very well and knows people in these places too.

The great thing about art and craft from these local places is that you get to meet the person whose family will directly benefit from your purchase.

In most cases, people have paid for their children up to university through such small sales. This will give you a very strong connection to Uganda, the art you bought and the person who sold it to you.



Wherever you are, the process of buying souvenirs is very easy. Most of the transactions in Uganda are done using cash or mobile money, and therefore you should have any of those already prepared.

If your money is ready (preferably UGX) you should ask your driver/guide and he will take you to the right places.

If you are in Kampala, you might even go solo into town and explore the various crafts shop by using google maps. We do not recommend doing this because venturing into an unknown Kampala isn’t as easy and exciting as it might sound. In the other areas, the town sizes make it easy to venture but we still recommend you go with someone – just to be sure.

In any crafts shop, you can browse and buy what you want, or just try a different option if you don’t find what you wanted.

As you are buying your souvenirs, don’t be too shy to ask for a discount – especially if you are buying more than one item. You will likely get a 10 to 20 % discount off. If no discount is given, it is still okay. In all of this, your driver/guide will be with you to make sure you don’t overpay or miss some good deals.


We are encouraging you to buy souvenirs and support local creatives and makers. However, there are some kinds of souvenirs that you should NOT even touch with a stick.

Without having to mention them one at a time, we caution you against products from wild protected animals. It is against the law to carry out ( and encourage) trade in such items. Things like skins and hides, trophy teeth, wildlife meat, tusks, skulls, horns etc are bad for conservation and punishable by strict law.

No deal in such items is good. In fact, if someone presented you such bad offers, you should report them.

We hope you are aware of the need to travel and visit places in a sustainable way, and that you will take this very seriously.

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