When you are in a foreign country and you want to explore the city you are in, you might not have enough options aside from restaurants, museums and game parks. However, in Nakuru, there is a place that can make a day fly by without your knowledge. The Maasai Market is a great destination for someone who appreciates cultural and traditional artefacts, handmade items and just interactions with the locals. Here is what a day there would look like:
The Maasai Market, also known as ‘Kwa Wakamba’ is a 500 metre stretch of back to back stalls that houses craftsmen, artists and other entrepreneurs whose major target market was tourists. The Merica Hotel directly opposite this space brought in a lot of foreigners who loved the authentically Kenyan goods. However, with time, the market gained popularity even with the locals and is now a great place to get almost anything artistic and Kenyan.
A common commodity in Nakuru’s Maasai Market is art. Most of the traders make these paintings themselves but others are just middle-men for the actual artists. The guarantee however is that the pieces are all local productions. You will have a variety of options to choose from. From canvas paintings to portraits made of dried banana leaves and sisal. Some paintings have binding leather frames that increase their uniqueness and longevity. You will definitely not miss something that appeals to you.
One of the reasons why the Nakuru Maasai Market is called ‘Kwa Wakamba’ is because the pioneer traders dealt with wood and stone carvings. This talent is specially reserved for the Akamba community therefore the name ‘Kwa Wakamba’ meaning the place of the Akamba. The handmade carvings are made with such prowess, you will think they went under a factory machine. But the traders make these sculptures themselves. Some taking minutes and others days. Here you will get carvings of almost anything including the various animals in Kenya, Maasai Morans, sugar dishes, jewellery boxes etc.
A common good that has taken over most of the stalls in the market is jewellery made from beads. Almost every stall has a trader that is an expert in the jewellery making process. In fact, they are so good that you can get a customized bracelet or anklet made while you wait. The Kenyan flag wristbands are very common even with Kenyan locals as they signify a form of solidarity. You can get one made of your country’s flag and it can even have your name on it.
Other items and services
Other common items in Maasai Market are the Maasai Shukas, traditional Kenyan drums, traditional stools, drinking gourds, woven sisal bags, sisal mats, and handmade toys. The market is also a great place to know more about Nakuru town and Kenya in general because most of the traders have been in this market for decades. They have also had the opportunity to travel the country because of their work and they are always eager and willing to share their stories. So next time you are in Nakuru and you have no idea what to do, just visit the Maasai Market and enjoy an insightful day.