Shops in South Africa range from a collective mass of street traders selling almost everything imaginable, up to upmarket stores and trendy boutiques that wouldn't seem out of place in New York or Paris. American style shopping malls are also becoming increasingly common, with a wide variety of shops all under one big roof. Unique items you may wish to purchase here include a multitude of jewellery, crafted from the finest South African gold, diamonds and semi-precious stones, leather and suede items, local crafts, ceramics, and also South African wine, brandy and liqueurs, which are excellent value and normally quite high quality.
This South African Shopping Guide gives a brief rundown of what items you may wish to look for whilst in South Africa. For information about things to see and do in South Africa, check out our South Africa Destination Guides. And after all your shopping escapades, why not pull up a chair and enjoy some of the sensational South African cuisine, as mentioned in our South African Restaurants Guide. For more specific information relating to shopping in a particular city or region, check out our destination sites:
South Africa Shopping Guide
The general shopping hours are:
Mon - Fri: 09:00-17:00
In major tourists spots, shops tend to stay open later, and often all weekend as well.
In terms of taking home a unique souvenir from your trip to South Africa, your best bet is to take a look at the various arts and crafts available all over the country. Wire sculptures are quite common, and can be found almost anywhere. However, you will find the most intriguing and highest quality wire sculptures in the Eastern Cape, near the town of Cradock. Using materials such as old cans of food and scrap metal, the artists create models of things such as airplanes (with working propellers), cars and windmills, to name but a few. Additionally, handmade pots, baskets, embroidery and carvings can be found at roadside stalls and craft centres throughout the country.
European trends tend to be the most common with regards to the high-fashion designs of clothing and fashion. However, some may come with a unique African touch, and these can be quite appealing for foreign visitors. Safari clothing and sportswear are also a good buy whilst in South Africa. Normally high-quality and reasonably priced, you will find that you have a multitude of choices, in both price and style.
With all the gold, platinum and diamonds being mined in South Africa, it'd be abit of a shame to not at least have a look at some of the jewellery on offer. Of even more interest, perhaps, would be getting a piece designed to your tastes and specifications. The Premier Diamond Mine, near Pretoria, allows you to sit back and view the mine where your precious stone was mined, while a designer sketches some ideas for you.
Markets are a feature of basically every town, with the larger city markets selling everything from clothing, crafts, jewellery, collectables and various deli foods, all at very attractive prices. The smaller local markets are a great way to get a unique insight into the comings and goings of life in a small South African town, and as such, can be quite an interesting experience, and one that we definitely recommend - even if you're not planning on buying anything, they are still worth checking out!
South Africans have taken to shopping malls with a passion, and they can be found in or near all major cities. Some of them are massive, and give the opportunity to combine shopping with what may feel like a workout! Some of the biggest, and most popular, include Eastgate and Cresta, in Johannesburg, Gateway Shopping Centre, just outside Durban, and the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, in Cape Town, which offers over 400 stores.