Local Currency in Kenya

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Currency in Kenya

The currency is the Kenyan Shilling (KES), which can be divided into 100 cents. As of September 2012, 1 USD = 87 KES, 1 EUR = 115 KES, and 1 GBP = 132 KES. 

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 jewelry, 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.

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. 

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