Visiting Mombasa? With the high heat and humidity, the next thing you need after light clothing is footwear synonymous with the laid back atmosphere of holidays. Add some local flair to your shopping with a beautifully crafted pair of Swahili sandals. Flat with soft cushy insoles, they’re perfect for walking around town, hotel, or on the beach.
Swahili sandals can be purchased in shops, supermarkets, hotel boutiques or better yet, at the source where you can watch the craftsmen do their thing. Making a trip to the craftsman’s workshop also gives you the added advantage of seeing more variety and giving specifications or special preferences on size and colour. This will require you to give the craftsman some time, ranging from a few hours to a day or two depending on the volume of work he has.
The sandals are meticulously cut, trimmed and beaded by hundreds of highly skilled Swahili craftsmen in workshops mostly tucked away in the inner parts of the city. Every sandal you buy plays out as strong support for the local economy. Plus there’s something inherently positive about handmade items. You feel the crafter’s passion.
The ladies section is a vibrant burst of colour as expected. But the men are not left out either with designs obviously being more demure, masculine and colours mostly in shades of brown, black and the occasional white.
Among the many things you’ll purchase to remember Mombasa by, make sure Swahili sandals are in there somewhere. A pair will set you back between Kshs.500 and Kshs.1,000 depending on where you buy. Purchase several pairs as gifts for those you left back home. They look especially sweet on children. Do not leave Mombasa without a pair of handmade swahili sandals.