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Craft Market - "Just Looking"


sunny 82 °F

Shopping for local crafts in Victoria Falls requires time and patience. Visit the High Street's row of brightly coloured shops if time is short and you don't want to negotiate a price. It's also a good place to get a feel for what's available.

Crossing the road to the Craft Market "Just Looking" should become your mantra. Vendors are persistent, the mere hint of a smile on your part will be seen as an invitation to start negotiations and the uninitiated faint-hearted might find themselves with a 4ft wooden giraffe under their arm quicker than a tsetse fly bites.

However, if a 4ft giraffe is seriously what you think will look 'just great back home', ask the price at a few stalls to get an idea of what they are asking. Fix in your mind what you are prepared to pay. Once you have spied the perfect specimen, open negotiations. The vendor will tell you an outrageous price, offer slightly lower than what you are prepared to pay and don't be afraid to walk away. Chances are he (vendors seem to be men in this particular market) will come running after you down the street. A successful back-and-forth by my daughter resulted in her buying a beaded warthog for $10; asking price $35.

Vendors will want to buy your shoes, caps, t-shirts and sunglasses. If you need room in your suitcase this could be an easy way for both buyer and seller to get what they want...arrange to come back later if you think walking back to your hotel naked a tad risky!

Keep your money in separate pockets and only carry small bills unless you want your change in beaded elephant keyrings.

Most importantly; stay cheerful and always be polite. Conversations about football always go down well...even from us girls.

Close by is the delightful Elephant Walk courtyard of shops with a colourful cafe ($2 for two cups of excellent coffee) selling fresh cakes right in the middle...perfect place to leave bored men! N.B. Guinea fowl birds made from seed pods were $1 each here but $5 in the market...so don't presume the 'market' is always going to be a better deal. Shops here are more up-market and include a fabric shop, spa selling Zimbabwe products containing baobab fruit and marula, a modern art gallery and an excellent, highly informative, permanent exhibition of ancient African tribal art, costumes, cooking utensils, tools etc. You will also find crocodile skin belts, bags, wallets, which is possibly a little disconcerting for the crocs in the pool around the corner. You can be lowered into their pool in a cage to get 'up close and personal'. Why would you do that?

Posted by haveyoubeenyet 08:34 Archived in Zimbabwe Tagged shopping victoria_falls craft_market negotiation_skills african_art_exhibition

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