Maasai beadwork is well-known throughout Kenya. These handcrafted ornaments represent the cultural values and traditions of the Maasai tribe. If you’ve been to Town or strolled down the Nairobi’s lively streets, you’ve definitely seen beaded sandals and other handicrafts for sale. The bright colors and intricate patterns probably drew you in, and you got carried away purchasing much more than you planned to.
The truth is, Maasai beadwork can be two to three times more expensive in the city. For some of the best, most authentic, and most affordable pieces you’ll have to visit “Master Maasai Unknown Artist” in Watamu.
This roadside bead shop is owned by Mr.Omega, a former soldier turned craftsman. When ThisNairobi went to speak with him, he was enthusiastic about a craft he’s been practicing since youth. After a long career, he decided to retire and live a quiet life on the coast selling his hand-made beaded products.
The colors and patterns that emanate from the shop’s wares are sure to draw you in. The beads shine brighter than what you’ll find at your normal Maasai shop. Omega attributed it to the fact that he sources the highest quality beads for his products.
Our favorite pieces are the large, ornate, disk-like necklaces (pictured below). They hang from the low ceilings of the shop and the selection is endless. The largest of the necklaces are the perfect gift for family members. Omega recommended that they be hung on the wall and featured as a work of art. Prices range from 4,000KSH to 6,000KSH.
In addition to large statement necklaces, one can purchase waist beads, anklets, bracelets, and chokers. If you’re in Watamu for a few days and have time, Omega will also make personalized pieces tailored to your liking.
This craftsman’s products are not all cheap, but they’re well worth it. Buying similar products of lesser quality in the Mara will cost almost two times the price. Omega boasts affordable prices and is usually willing to make a deal with customers who buy multiple items.
Visit Mr.Omega’s “Master Maasai Unknown Artist” near the end of Watamu Beach, about two shops down from Hosteria Romana.
You can also give him a call here, tell his ThisNairobi sent you:
0710827718 OR 0774107973