The currency is the Kenyan shilling KES, which can be divided into 100 cents. As of November 2015, USD1 = KES102, €1 = KES111 and GBP1 = KES154.

Most establishments do accept VISA, Mastercard and Amex. Most retailers, both large and small, accept mobile payments via M-Pesa. In fact it is not uncommon for people to pay for goods and services from clothes to curios and even hospital bills using their phones. To get registered, visit any Safaricom store countrywide


Kenya is famous for many handicrafts, which are often the signature of a particular tribe or region. Look for Kisii stone soap stone carvings, Maasai jewellery, Mkonde wood carvings, Lamu chairs and batiks. The largest selection of handicrafts can probably be found at the Maasai Market which rotates and can be found at different locations within Nairobi, which include Masai items such as beaded jewellery, decorated gourds and the distinctive red-checked blankets worn by all Masai men make good souvenirs. For example, on Sundays, they are at Yaya Centre near hurlingham, and, on Saturdays, they can be found at the Central business district near the law courts parking space.

Buying souvenirs without overpayingAlmost all the prices in the roadside curio shops are inflated. While negotiating is expected, even the negotiated price is normally significantly higher than the prices quoted for similar souvenirs in the duty free section of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. As a rule of thumb, start your offer at 20-25% of the quoted price and never pay more than 50% of the originally quoted price at any roadside curio shop.

Khanga, kitenge and kikoi cloths are ideal to use as sarongs common in East Africa for both men and women

Kenyan baskets made from sisal and leather are also popular.

The city and town centres usually have markets that sell curios such as African drums, old brass and copper, batiks, soapstone knick-knacks, carved chess sets, and large wooden carvings of animals or salad bowls carved from a single piece of teak, mninga or ebony.

On Fridays, they are at the Village Market in Gigiri, near the UN headquarters. Gigiri, just like Yaya Centre, is a plush suburb, so vendors price their goods accordingly. There is also a fine selection of stores selling craft goods in Mombasa, where the atmosphere is somewhat more relaxed. However, the best prices can be found by buying direct from the artisans in their villages in the countryside.

Apart from the typical souvenirs such as wood carvings, it may be a good idea to buy one of the large books with photos of wildlife, nature, or culture.

Do listen to and buy some local Kenyan music. Reggae is also quite a frequent feature of matatu journeys.

Exporting souvenirs made from wildlife skins this includes reptiles and shells is forbidden.

For a more traditional shopping experience, there are many shopping malls in the country, many being in the capital Nairobi. These include Westgate Shopping Mall, Galleria Mall, The Junction, The Hub, Two Rivers, Garden City Mall, Yaya Centre, Village Market, Thika Road Mall, Prestige Plaza, Buffalo mall and more.There are also local and international supermarket brands that stock many international and local goods, these include Nakumatt, Tuskys, Naivas, GAME, Chandarana and Carrefour.Most malls will have a nearly even mix of international mostly South African and local brands such as Mr Pricea clothing line comparable to H&M, Woolworths, Nike, Rado, MAC cosmetics, Converse, Sandstorm, KikoRomeo and Swarovski as well as a handful of authorised Apple and Samsung retailers.