As is the ritual with all our travels, we like to collect memorabilia from the places we visit. So much so that our Mumbai home and garden almost resembles a museum now. African masks and figurines had been in our wish-list for long and Kigali seemed to be just the right place since we were staying with cousins, and they knew the city all too well to recommend to us the best place for the artefacts shopping.
We told them about our shopping list – African masks, African jewellery, figurines, home decor items and of course, the Rwandan baskets. And they suggested Caplaki Crafts Village – a cluster of tiny shops in Kigali which are an emporium of sorts selling every African artefacts, bags, stoles etc.
Here’s answering a few basic questions about the Caplaki Crafts Village, in order to make it easy for you to shop there –
- Where is the Caplaki Craft Village located? Right in the heart of Kigali City. The address is KK2 Avenue, very close to UR College of Business & Economics.
- How many shops are there at the Caplaki Craft Village? Close to 40. They are all tiny shops selling almost similar things.
- Is the place to park your car/taxi at the Caplaki Craft Village? Ample space.
- What do the shops at the Caplaki Craft Village sell? A whole lot of artefacts such as masks, figurines, bags, baskets, jewellery, home décor items, wood carved and painted utensils and more. A few shops on the slight slope that have cement stairs sell a big wood masks and wood carved items, which are slightly on the dearer side and are big in size too.
- How are the items at the Caplaki Craft Village priced? Exorbitant! But take heart, the shop-keepers are open to bargaining! Start negotiating at almost 25% of the quoted price and take the ‘buy call’ if they stop at close to 50% of the quoted price. Can be quite stressful, yes, but that’s how you will get a good deal on the items you have taken a fancy to.
Be sure to buy some Malachite jewellery or even a chunk of the mineral. Apparently, they have been mining the mineral at alarming rate in Africa, and soon a day will come when the mineral will go extinct. My cousin bought me a string of malachite as necklace and a pair of earings, while we bought a small rock for our aquarium.
Besides the Malachite, we came back home with stuff for our garden, drawing room and jewellery box. And yes, I bargained my lungs out. I am from India after all. Haggling with shop-keepers is in my blood!