Small shops made of sheet metal, bearing names that are sometimes knock-offs of famous name brands, manage to get a smile, crammed full with knickknacks made of soap stone and wood, frames and baubles that have more ethnic than commercial value. No credit cards are required, just good bargaining skills, So shopping in Watamu may require hard work.
Among the most typical articles of clothing is the pareu and some accessories made with kikoy and kanga in flashy colours.
The kanga is a colourful garment worn by women and occasionally by men. It is a piece of printed cotton fabric, about 1.5m by 1m, often with a border along all four sides (called pindo in Swahili), and a central part (mji) which differs in design from the borders.
The kikoy is a very beautiful cloth used as a shawl/sarong/pareu. Originally, it was typically worn by males.
Made of 100% pure combed cotton, kikoys are garments traditionally worn in tropical countries because they are so comfortable to wear. In fact, kikoys are wrapped around the waist or hips and then rolled down a few times to hold it in place.
Walking down the road that we, jokingly, like to recommend to our clients as the Watamu Champs-Elysèes, you will also will also run into craftsmen who make very beautiful leather flip-flops decorated with colourful beads.