The Biggest Street Markets In Africa

By Parker Diakite


Anytime you visit a country,  one of the best ways to get a true sense of its authentic culture is by heading to the local markets.  

Local markets are where you get to fully immerse yourself in the culture through language and food, and it’s also where you will find the most unique souvenirs to bring back home.

If you’re planning a trip to the Motherland soon, here are some of the largest street markets you should visit.

Maasai Market, Nairobi-Kenya

One of the highlights of visiting Kenya is the Maasai Markets.  

These open markets attract locals and tourists alike looking for unique handicrafts.

The Maasai tribe is one of the most predominant tribes of Africa and one of the few remaining tribes that have stuck to their culture throughout the years.

Across the country, the Maasai Markets offer opportunities for shoppers to buy some unique pieces, including paintings, jewelry, fabrics, and prints at reasonable prices.

African Craft Market, Rosebank, South Africa

Situated on the corner of Cradock Avenue and Baker Street in Johannesburg is Rosebank Art & Craft Market.  As one of the most diverse craft markets in South Africa, here is where you’ll find a variety of artifacts, beading, sculptures, and paintings.

Photo courtesy of Rosebank Market, South Africa

Makola Market, Accra, Ghana

If we can offer one piece of advice ahead of your visit to Makola Market:  embrace yourself. The market is huge and can be a bit overwhelming but there is truly no other market like it.

Located right in the middle of the city,  anything and everything can be found here.   A wide array of products are sold in the market and its surrounding streets, from car parts, black soap, fabrics, and street food.

Photo courtesy of Makola Market Ghana

Khan el Khalili, Cairo, Egypt

Located in the heart of Islamic Cairo, Khan el Khalili is a good place for Egyptian souvenirs, including antiques, spices, perfumes, and jewelry.  

Keep in mind before going, there are a ton of vendors and stalls selling the same thing.   Do some research before you go and have a plan or at least an idea of the shops you want to visit.   The pressure will be high from vendors so be ready to bargain and to say no.

Khan El-Khalili Market in Cairo, Egypt

Kejetia Market, Kumasi, Ghana

The Kumasi Central Market is an open-air market in the city of Kumasi, the capital of Ashanti.

With more than 45,000 stores and vendors,  Kumasi’s Kejetia Market is one of the largest in West Africa. 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Jemaa El-Fnaa

A lively square, Jemaa El-Fnaa is the vibrant heart of Marrakech.

Tourists can expect entertainment ranging from henna artists, snake charmers, offers culinary delights, squeezed juices, spices, and more.

Getty Images
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Parker Diakite

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