You have just finished climbing Africa’s highest mountain, the grand Kilimanjaro. You are wandering off the trail, down past the gate, and are celebrating with your friends that you made it. All you want to do is sit your ass down, have a beer, and get in a Land Rover that will take you back to the hotel for a warm shower.
Instead of a peaceful ending to your climb as you come out of the forest, the second you walk outside the park gates, you are mobbed by 20 to 40 youth, selling you “I climbed Kilimanjaro t-shirts” to “tribal” carvings and necklaces. Given that you are tired, you might think about buying something, but you should heed this warning.
Here are some things to consider:
Everything is overpriced – very overpriced. This is the stuff for the exhausted naive toursts. People are selling t-shirts for $25 that you can buy in town for three dollars, if not cheaper. Sure, if you don’t have the time and want to make someone rich for the next week, then buy it.
Once you buy something, you will be hassled more and more, and more. They won’t stop until you get in your LandRover and drive away. No matter how many times you say “No, Thank You,” they will keep hounding you until you gave or depart.
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If you plan to go anywhere else in Tanzania, you will see loads of these t-shirts. The longer you stay in the country, the cheaper the prices get and you will notice.
Say you decide to buy that “authetic” bow-arrow or tribal mask, do you really want to carry all that stuff around for the rest of your trip. I have seen plenty of tourists show up, buy a huge carving, and then have to carry it around in their safari vehicle and while on Zanzibar.
My point is this: it’s everywhere, you will see it later, and if you want to save a little bit of cash, don’t buy at the gate. If you do buy, take his price, divide it half, and then half again, and that’s your starting price.