Both Mbabane and Manzini boast large modern shopping malls, complete with the furniture stores, clothing boutiques, pharmacies, electrical retailers, stationery and book suppliers that come as standard. The Gables shopping centre in Ezulwini is similarly endowed and there are smaller shopping complexes at Big Bend, Matsapha, Nhlangano, Piggs Peak, Simunye and Siteki. All large towns have well stocked supermarkets, for all basic food needs and in the rural areas, even the smallest settlement will have a simple ‘general store’. All towns have vegetable markets and roadside stalls across the country also sell fresh fruit and vegetables.
But Swaziland’s best shopping experiences come from the traditional handicrafts on offer. Swaziland has a remarkably impressive range of traditional arts and crafts with many of its products now found in trendy ethnic boutiques around world. Throughout the country men and women are at work creating the finest handicrafts that are so popular with visitors. Creative basket ware in vibrant colours, wood and stone carvings, glassware, exquisite candles, batik items, jewellery – all uniquely Swazi. In many places that they are on sale, there is also chance to see the craftspeople at work and marvel at their intricate skills. Many are socially responsible outlets which provide both income and empowerment for their craftspeople from poor rural communities.
Handicraft stalls are everywhere in Swaziland. Roadside stalls and the markets of Manzini or Mbabane offer the best bargains, but more tourist-friendly shopping is offered at the following centres:
African Queen: Boutique at the Lugogo Sun Hotel
Ezulwini Craft Market: a large collection of craft and curio stalls in the Ezulwini valley
Imvelo Eswatini: hand crafted products of ceramic disc/beaded necklaces, pendants, earrings, bracelets, mirrors, lutindzi grass African bags, post cards, and grass travel journals. Visitors are welcome to their factory which situated in the Industrial Area of Manzini City, at Likusasa Life Skills Centre. Read More
Indingilizi Gallery: in Mbabane
Lonhlupeko Craft Market: Community tourism project in the lowveld, including carvings, batik and beadwork, embroidery, candles, basketware, glassware and jewellery.
Malandela’s: a complex of craft outlets including Gone Rural, Baobab Batik and Zogg’s boutique. Read more.
Mantenga Craft Centre: A diverse collection of art and craft outlets, including rugs, curios, baskets, mohair and jewellery.
Complex: cluster of handicraft stalls and shops centred around Ngwenya Glass workshop and showroom including a retail outlet for Imvelo Estwatini. Read More
Peak Craft Centre:
at Piggs Peak, includes Coral Stephens handweaving (mohair), Tintsaba (sisal), Likhweti (jewellery) and other smaller outlets.
Swazi Candles Centre: at Malkerns and includes the Swazi Candles Factory, plus numerous other craft outlets, such as Baobab Batik, Yebo and Rosecraft. Read more
Yebo Contemporary Art Gallery & Shop: Situated in the art gallery is a special shop that stocks an exciting exclusive range of products designed and made by local artists. There is a very popular range of textiles all designed & screen-printed at their own workshop and sold by the metre. Plus a range of original art reproduction cards, T-shirts and silver jewellery. Read more.
Pure Swazi: For those of you who forgot to buy a souvenir or you can't make it to Swaziland, you can visit the Pure Swazi website here. It features a lot of top quality products from some of the best Swaziland producers around. These Include: Baobab Batik, Black Mamba, Gone Rural, Ngwenya Glass, Quazi Design, Swazi Candles and Tintsaba.
Shopping and craft outlets in Swaziland are usually open from 08:30 to 17:00 everyday, though some smaller outlets may shut Sundays.