A Day in the City’s Flea Markets
Away from the high-end boutiques and malls of the Nairobi is a variety of flea markets that make shopping in Nairobi even more exciting. These markets, located out of town, draw buyers and sellers from the city and beyond. There are traders who travel to Nairobi to gather supplies from these markets for sale in other counties. For that reason, flea markets in Nairobi are as important as the modern shopping malls and complexes. Flea markets mostly trade in second hand goods, known as mitumba in Kenya. You can find mitumba clothes, mitumba shoes, mitumba bags etc.
Major Flea Markets
Gikomba is located a few minutes from the downtown area of the city, on Digo Road. In Gikomba, buying and selling starts from the wee hours of the morning until hours after dark. Hordes of traders line along the main street that leads to the market, standing on heaps of second hand clothes as they call out to passersby. Wooden stalls form a maze that you have to meander through looking for the most pleasing prices. Sometimes, traffic jams start at the Machakos Country Bus Station all the way to Pumwani Majengo especially on weekends when people throng this market. Cars, motor bicycles, carts, rickshaws, buses and porters with bales of clothes consume the little street leading to the market and pedestrians walk on what is left of the narrow road.
Most of the stores next to Machakos Country Bus Station deal in hardware, furniture, plumbing fixtures and upholstery. Piles of second hand clothes, scarves and shoes start from the exit of the bus station before you are swallowed into the heart of the market- the open area market. There are green grocers too, fish mongers, chicken sellers, a church, banking institutions and a petrol station. The diversity of this market is the reason for its popularity. There are public service vehicles (Route No. 7) that ply to Gikomba from Luthuli Avenue in the city.
This market is adjacent to the sprawling Kibera Slum. It is more structured and less crowded than Gikomba Market. The goods on sale are diverse like in Gikomba but here the traders mostly offer second hand clothes. Most of the traders sort, clean, iron and hang the clothes decently unlike the mounds you find in Gikomba. Board a public service bus number 4W at Kencom and alight at Adams Arcade. The market starts behind this shopping complex.
It starts at the hill leading to the Globe Cinema Roundabout and proceeds all the way to Fig Tree in Ngara. You can walk from the city centre, towards Globe Cinema, and window shop along the path. The clothes, shoes, accessories and bags on sale come from other flea markets and they are sold at a higher price here. It is easier and convenient for most city dwellers.
It is the only approved market for hawkers in the city. Built in the hope of decongesting the city by relocating hawkers from the sidewalks, Muthurwa has become an ideal shopping centre without worrying about constant harassment from the city council. It is opposite Wakulima Market, on Ladhies Road, and Gikomba beckons from a distance.
Now you can explore these markets and see what they might have in store for you.