What to Take to Africa as Gifts: Meaningful and Practical Ideas

Africa is a diverse and vibrant continent with over 50 countries, each with its unique culture and traditions. If you are planning a trip to Africa, it’s essential to think about what gifts to take with you, especially if you plan to visit friends or a host family.

Bringing gifts to Africa shows respect and appreciation for the local culture and can also serve as a way to give back to the community. In this article, we will discuss what to take to Africa as gifts and provide you with some practical ideas.

Considerations when choosing gifts

When choosing gifts to take to Africa, there are some essential considerations to keep in mind. First, it’s crucial to be culturally sensitive. Make sure that the gifts you bring are appropriate for the local customs and traditions.

For example, some African cultures have specific clothing norms, so it’s best to avoid anything that may be considered inappropriate. Additionally, it’s essential to consider the practicality of the gifts. Items that are lightweight, easy to carry, and have a practical purpose are often the best choices.

Finally, consider the age and gender of the recipient to ensure that the gift is appropriate and will be well-received.

Gift ideas for Africa

For Children

When visiting Africa, it’s always great to bring gifts for children. Here are some gift ideas that will delight kids of all ages:

  1. Educational toys: Bring toys that are both fun and educational, such as puzzles, board games, or building blocks. These items will provide hours of entertainment while also promoting learning and development.
  2. Art supplies: Children love to draw and paint, and bringing art supplies like crayons, markers, and coloring books is an excellent way to encourage creativity and self-expression.
  3. Clothing and shoes: Children in Africa often lack access to good quality clothing and shoes, so bringing these items can be very helpful. Consider items that are durable, easy to wash, and appropriate for the climate.

For Adults

There are many gift ideas for adults that are perfect for Africa. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Clothing and accessories: Bring lightweight and practical clothing items like t-shirts, hats, and sunglasses. Scarves, jewelry, and bags also make great gifts.
  2. Personal care items: Consider bringing toiletries like soap, shampoo, and toothpaste. Sunscreen, insect repellent, and hand sanitizer are also practical items that will be appreciated.
  3. Household items: Simple items like water bottles, flashlights, and umbrellas can be very useful for African households. Consider also bringing small kitchen utensils or food items like spices and snacks.

For Specific Populations

If you are visiting Africa with a specific purpose, such as teaching, healthcare, or religion, there are some specialized gift ideas that will be appreciated:

  1. Teachers and educators: Bring school supplies like pens, pencils, notebooks, and textbooks. You can also consider items like stickers, posters, and educational games.
  2. Health workers: Consider bringing basic medical supplies like bandages, first aid kits, and thermometer. You can also bring items like hand sanitizer, disposable gloves, and face masks.
  3. Religious leaders: If you are visiting Africa for religious purposes, you can bring religious books, musical instruments, and religious artifacts.


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Where to buy gifts

There are several places where you can buy gifts for Africa, depending on your location and preferences:

  1. Local markets: Local markets are great places to find unique and authentic gifts for Africa. You can often find handmade crafts, clothing, and jewelry that reflect the local culture.
  2. Online retailers: Online retailers like Amazon and Etsy offer a wide range of gifts that can be shipped directly to your destination in Africa.
  3. Fair trade organizations: Fair trade organizations like Ten Thousand Villages and Global Crafts offer unique gifts that are both ethical and sustainable. These organizations work directly with artisans and craftspeople in Africa to create fair trade products that support local communities.

What do you give someone going to Africa?

If someone you know is going to Africa, it’s important to consider their purpose for traveling and their personal preferences. Practical gifts such as a sturdy water bottle, insect repellent, sunscreen, and a first aid kit are always useful. If they are volunteering or working with a specific organization, consider asking the organization for a list of needed items. Small gifts such as keychains, postcards, and handmade crafts can also be a nice gesture.

What should I bring to Africa orphanage?

When visiting an orphanage in Africa, it’s important to bring practical items such as school supplies, clothing, and personal care items. Check with the orphanage to see if they have specific needs, such as diapers, baby formula, or medicine. Toys and games that promote learning and development, such as puzzles and books, can also be a great addition. Consider bringing a camera to capture memories and share them with the children.

What to take for gifts to South Africa?

South Africa has a rich cultural heritage, so consider bringing gifts that reflect this. Handmade crafts such as beaded jewelry, wooden carvings, and woven baskets are great options. South Africa is also known for its wine, so a bottle of local wine can be a great gift. If you’re looking for practical gifts, consider items such as travel accessories, personal care items, and household items. Remember to consider the recipient’s interests and preferences when choosing a gift.

What is the gift giving tradition in South Africa?

Gift giving in South Africa is often associated with special occasions such as weddings, birthdays, and holidays. In traditional South African culture, gifts were often exchanged as a sign of respect and gratitude. When giving a gift in South Africa, it’s important to consider the recipient’s culture, age, and relationship to you. Gifts should be given with both hands and it’s customary to open gifts in private. In general, gifts should be thoughtful and appropriate for the occasion.


In conclusion, bringing gifts to Africa is a great way to show respect and appreciation for the local culture and traditions. When choosing gifts, it’s important to be culturally sensitive, practical, and age and gender-appropriate.

There are many gift ideas for children, adults, and specific populations that are perfect for Africa, including educational toys, personal care items, and household items. You can find these gifts at local markets, online retailers, and fair trade organizations.

Remember to do your research and choose gifts with care, and enjoy your time in Africa while giving back to the local community.

Whether you’re on a safari in Tanzania, volunteering at a school in South Africa, or visiting a host family in Ghana, the best gifts are the ones that come from the heart and show how much you love Africa.

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