Christmas Shopping in Mwanza

Now we have returned home to Mwanza it’s time to get prepared for Christmas in terms of food and drink that is – and also in terms of a few last minute gifts.

This year we are having a Compound Christmas Dinner between a number of the ex-pats who are here for Christmas and some of their visiting relatives. We are providing Veg and Puddings!

Today was a veg shop. Fruit and vegetables are plentiful in Mwanza and we are able to source most of what we need, carrots, peas (fresh), okra, potatoes, onions, green peppers, tomatoes are all plentiful here.

“Here in Mwanza you can get virtually anything you want if you know where to look” or so they say.I think we may be pushing our luck with Cranberries – though I have been told you can get beetroot and even red cabbage – so my usual “Mulled Red Cabbage” is on the menu. I have an alternative modification to replace the cranberries so we will see, hopefully a red cabbage is on route from the UK  we speak as a back up  just in case.

We bought a number of spices back from Zanzibar and we will make good use of these too,

Fruit here includes Mango, Pineapple, Lemons and Limes, Apples ( a luxury here), Grapes (also a luxury), Bananas, Oranges, Jack Fruit, Watermelon and Plums. No sign of a Tangerine yet – but we will keep looking. On the menu will be Compote of Oranges another Christmas staple (with Konyagi – the local brew in place of Cointreau) and and if we can get double cream we will make the Citrus Ice Cream. I’ll also make a fruit salad.

Others are providing the meat – Chicken in place of Turkey (very very expensive here and very rare too!) and pork which is available.

A family tradition for Christmas morning has always been kidneys and bacon which we have adapted to include mushrooms. Beef Kidney is available from Victoria Meat a western-style Butcher in town and bacon can be bought at a price from U-Turn our very expensive Supermarket – I have resisted buying up until now but I will for Christmas. I have seen little in the way of mushrooms since we have been here but today I found in Sita Supermarket (a small and much cheaper shop) a pack of Oyster Mushrooms. So our traditional breakfast will continue in Tanzania.

Prices here are different than in the UK. We also pay Mzungu prices which will be higher than for Tanzanian Nationals at the local markets.

1000 TZS is approx 38pence

For 1000 TZs you can get each of the following (in some cases you can better deals than this but it depends on where and on the quality of the produce!)

  • 1 Mango
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Apple
  • 1 pile of Tomatoes (8 -10)
  • 1 pile of Carrots (6 or so)
  • 1 kg of Potatoes
  • 5 large bananas
  • 1 pile of oranges (4-5)
  • A pile of Okra (8 -10)
  • A pile of Green Peppers (4-5)
  • 2 piles of small Onions (20+)

For 2000 TZS you can get a good sized Pineapple or a medium sized Watermelon.

Street sellers are selling nuts and you can get a medium sized pack of Cashews or Peanuts for 1000 – 2000 TZS.

Wine is  more expensive here relative to wages, though you can get some reasonable bargains. A bottle of Red costs about 11000 at the low end (just over £4), a Box of Red is between 40000 and 50000 (approx £16 – £20).

All this must be considered in terms of wages here which for me is about 1/3 of UK.

One thing to be said is that Christmas arrives much later here in terms of commerce. Only this week have we started to see Christmas Trees and decorations in the shops and hotels, both here in Mwanza and in Stone Town. It makes a change from the over commercialism of the UK.


No Black Friday here – Thank Goodness!

One response to “Christmas Shopping in Mwanza

  1. Enjoy your new style Christmas with your new found friends. Sounds like you’ll be having a slap up meal or two – and very healthy too! Happy Christmas to you all!


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