Skip to main content

Why you should abandon your mama mboga for Wakulima Market

The scene at Wakulima Market 
 Bloody Nairobian's, why on this earth do they charge a whole 20 shillings on potatoes that  are outnumbered by my 10 fingers? However, the cost of potatoes are just a tip of the iceberg when it comes to stuff that costs more than is sane.  That makes it insane that the demand from city residents for overpriced products still remains healthy

If you do not believe that Nairobians pay more than is sanely allowed for stuff, you are welcome to visit the Wakulima Market. Here, you will be shocked by the price of items like potatoes. You may find a 2 KG of bucket of potatoes  costing between Ksh 80 to Ksh 100. Just across the wall fence, a potato throw away at Muthurwa market, the same 2 KG bucket goes for between Ksh 120 to even Ksh 160.  Meanwhile, 5 potatoes may cost ksh 20 in the nearest vegetable vendor back in the estate.

The situation isn't that bad , until you discover that a 20 Kg bucket of potatoes costs Ksh 550.

It is for this reason that I have taken to shopping at the Wakulima market. Another reason to visit the market, other than the friendly prices, is the bigger variety of produce available, such as "green" maize in the low season, and produce freshness.

Shopping at Wakulima market, however, is not for the faint hearted.

The market is located along Haile Selassie Avenue, just before the Landhies Road / Ring Road round about. If you drive, you may find parking along the streets around Wakulima House , though this may not be the safest street to park a Toyota, due to car part thefts. The area is also a preferred parking for suppliers to the market.

Another challenge to those brave enough to venture into the market is the number of people. There are many traders and a number of trucks doing supplies. This means that you end up with narrow walking passages in between the piles of produce, you may even be required to walk sideways just to fit into them.

Along the narrow paths, you will soon discover that you are probably in the wrong place - other shoppers do it in huge 90 kg sacks, which are carried by porters on their shoulders, at a fast pace. The porters will at times hiss for you to jump out of their paths, but often you only notice them when your shoulders collide, quite a painful ordeal. If you are not careful, you may even lose your balance.

Recently purchased produce at Wakulima Market, for about Ksh. 1,200
For the above reason, it is advisable to come into the market around 12 noon on Monday's to Saturdays, or between 11 am and 12 noon on Sunday. The market is closed for cleaning at 1 pm Monday to Saturdays and 12 noon on Sunday. It would be good if the market was closed at night, allowing for a longer shopping period.

Coming into the market in the last opening hour also means that you can get discounts when not buying in bulk, as traders look to make closing sales. The market still operates for a couple of hours after the gates are closed.

When shopping, be on the look out for traders who have broken down their produce into retail quantity, as they tend to offer better prices to smaller buyers. The market is mostly frequented by bulk buyers who operate grocery stores

It is also advisable to carry used polythene "paper" bags, especially from supermarkets, as this can be re-used to carry vegetables.

Also remember to dress appropriately, and not conspicuously, as you may become a target for exploitation from the sellers through higher prices and the huge number of porters, who even offer to carry empty bags for you, at a fee.

Another reason you should dress appropriately is because the market can be quite muddy, despite the cleaning , especially when it rains.

You will also find that a great number of the produce at the market comes from Uganda, such as water melons and mostly Tanzania. Around the market, you will find trailers which mostly ferry potatoes from Tanzania to satisfy Nairobi's insatiable appetite for potato chips. Tanzania also does most of other supplies during the dry season when produce from Kenya is low.

For young men, you may find a number of the ladies offering you advice on where to purchase stuff, especially when they note you are a newbie.

The porters can ferry produce from the market to a destination around the city, at an agreed fee. The market has two gates, though past opening hours, exit is only though one gate.

Some of the fresh produce bought at the market, including maize, peas, pumpkin leaves can be boiled and frozen for use over a couple of weeks.

Do you feel that Wakulima market offers better value than your mama mboga?


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Kenyan in Addis Ababa (Part 2) - The "University Girls"

This post continues from Part 1. 

The residents of Addis are friendly too. On my first day, I did meet a guard at a hotel, who later offered to show me around. Among the places he suggested, was this place where some “University girls” were holding some "dancing ceremony". He added, that Ethiopians being Orthodox Christians, were about to go on a sex, alcohol and meat fast, hence the importance of this “ceremony.”
I had some suspicion that I was being sold to sex, but my guide insisted that this was not a sex sale. Just dancing University girls. We did end up in some nondescript compound, and into a house. There was sort of a sitting area, with a radio system, low benches and tables, and grass sprinkled around the floor. Grass sprinkled around the floor is an Ethiopian tradition that indicates you are welcome to a place.

It was about 5 PM,  and the hosts seemed not to be expecting any visitors at this time. My guide disappeared down some corridor into the back to call them. In…

Beers in Kenya: A sober opinion

I have had a short beer swigging stint in my life. It has however been long enough for me to share my opinions of Kenyan beer. Interestingly, over the course of sharing such opinions with other drunkards connoisseurs,  I have found that we all have different views as to what beer is the best, which one makes you too drunk, or which one gives a free,  extra hangover for every hangover you get from it.
For starters, like everyone else, I discovered that beer isn’t as sweet as it looks like in those adverts that show golden barley swaying in breezes,  happy men smiling and toasting chilled, foaming glasses of beer as a deep voice does some narration in the background.
Beer is bitter! Now, it turns out beer is intentionally made bitter. See,  beer shares the same ingredients as bread. The major difference is that bread isn't fermented. Bread is sweet, so why isn't beer sweet?

The bitter story of the downfall of Mumias Sugar company

Have you heard the bitter story of Mumias Sugar?

Regarded by many as Kenya's most successful sugar miller, Mumias Sugar Company was a disaster waiting to happen.

Many pointed out how Mumias Sugar Company was a fortress in the wreck that is Kenya's sugar industry, only unaware that it was just a matter of time. As the old wise men said, "Ukiona cha mwenzako cha nyolewa, tia chako maji".

The proverb means that if you see your neighbour's head getting shaved, your head will soon be undergoing the same - you'd therefore better wet your head for a smoother shave, otherwise you will be forced to undergo a painful, dry, shave.

But what ails Kenya's sugar industry?

The Kenya sugar industry is under legal siege. The typical Kenyan issue of coming up with laws to tackle a problem is evident here.

Many of Kenya's sugar factories are owned by the government, and have slowly declined under mismanagement and corruption. The appointing of political cronies and trib…

Why Kenyans love Kigali (Part 2)

See part 1 of why Kenyans Love Kigali, which this articl is a continuation.

In my previous post on why Kenyans love Kigali, or Rwanda for that matter, I had mentioned on the security of the city. The post however widely dealt with the feel and appearance of the city, and a little bit of the country.

Both of my visits to Kigali have been through the airport, though you may opt for a more adventurous journey by road. Getting to Kigali then required a Kenyan passport, but no visa. Now, all you need to go through both Uganda and Rwandan borders are a National Identity Card.

For travel by air, Rwandair is a cheaper option for Kenyans as compared to our national flag carrier, Kenya Airways. Ironically, most other Africans get to Kigali via Kenya Airways, thought most Kenyans will opt for the cheaper Rwandair. The flights are comfortable and the service on board the 1 hour 15 minutes flight is great.

Depending on the weather, your landing can be quite full of turbulence in Kigali. The airpor…

Why we loved Mixcrate and Where to next?

There are two types of music listeners: those who listen by artist or by album, and those who listen by top hits. The second lot of us do not care much about what other music made it to an album besides the top 2 hits.

Mixcrate served the second lot of us very well. You could search for a song title or an artist, and you would have dozens of DJ mixes to choose from which contained more than the one hit you searched for.

Listening to music on Mixcrate also meant that once you settled into a mix, you had uninterrupted music for the next one hour.