Shopping in Africa
Discover some of the world's most affordable shopping experiences in Cape Town's sprawling malls and vibrant arts and crafts markets. Around Cape Town you can find numerous shops offering bargains galore, from hand-crafted jewellery, intricate beadwork and traditional African art to designer labels, diamonds and precious stones. Many of the upmarket shopping malls include large chain stores, African curio shops and trendy boutiques as well as banking facilities, restaurants, cafes and movie theatres.
Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm; Sundays from 10am to 1pm. The Waterfront and Canal Walk malls are open for shopping until 9pm every evening. Some shops offer late shopping on Friday nights.
VAT (Value Added Tax) is 14 per cent. Fortunately, visitors to South Africa can apply for a VAT refund on purchases above ZAR250.
Getting a tax refund
When you leave South Africa, simply present the goods, tax receipts and your passport to the Customs office in the airport to receive your refund.
Duty free airport shopping
Available in the international section of the airport.
Jewellery, Swakara handcrafted gold, diamonds and semi-precious stones, leather, suede and fur goods, ceramics and an amazing variety of African handicrafts.
Best time to go
Any time. South Africa's climate is generally sunny and pleasant. Cape Town has a summer average of 22C with a high of 26C. Although cooler, winter (June to September) is ideal for hiking and watching wildlife.
Best shopping areas
Here's a run-down of Cape Town's most interesting shopping areas.
The Diamond Works Explore Cape Town's finest jewellery experience: learn about the art of diamond cutting and the make up of jewellery pieces and browse displays of beautifully crafted pieces of jewellery for the perfect gift. Or choose from the large selection of diamonds and gemstones available, including rare Tanzanite violet-blue gemstones.
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront Cape Town's most popular shopping complex occupies a unique position along the harbour, situated between Robben Island and Table Mountain. Among preserved historical buildings, world-class hotels, luxury apartments, fine restaurants and cinemas, you can browse international and local designer boutiques, jewellery showrooms, art galleries, craft and lifestyle stores. With more than 400 stores on offer, the V&A Waterfront caters to every budget or taste. Discover a range of South African traditional handcrafts, jewellery, curios and art.
Long Street Explore one of Cape Town's oldest and longest streets (3.8km) as well as one of its most interesting shopping areas. Stroll this lively and colourful street, which is lined with Victorian buildings, past antiques shops, galleries, arts and crafts shops, gun shops, cafes, bars and Turkish baths. Don't miss the Pan African Market, a double-storey labyrinth of 33 craft shops lined with wall-to-wall African art and curios. The side streets are also interesting; Longmarket Street on Greenmarket Square, hosts a colourful market offering African curios, paintings, clothes and leather goods.
Adderley Street Visit shopping centres, malls, jewellery stores and many curio and fashion shops. Pop into the permanent open-air market located on the square in front of the station. Here you can browse leather goods, shoes, curios, handcrafted goods and imitations of famous sportswear brands. Duck into the Golden Acre, South Africa's oldest shopping centre, or nearby St George's Mall. Don't miss the famous Flower Market for heavy scents and the freshly cut flowers that have been sold here on weekdays for more than 100 years.
Cape Quarter Welcome to Cape Quarter for a range of home décor, art and artefacts, fashion, beauty, health and lifestyle related stores housed in a unique Cape Malay architecture. Cape Quarter's relaxed retail environment with its outdoor restaurants, authentic hand crafted design and stylish cobbled courtyard is regarded by locals as Cape Town's best kept shopping secret.
Cavendish Square The Cavendish Square Shopping Centre is an award-winning shopping mall situated in the heart of Cape Town's southern suburbs in the upmarket suburb of Claremont. Browse more than 200 of the most elite fashion and accessory stores in South Africa. The Centre also boasts 16 state-of-the-art cinemas as well as coffee shops and 19 restaurants that offer everything from fast foods to gourmet cuisine.
Constantia Village The Constantia Village is home to a huge range of retail outlets including art galleries, antique dealerships, chic fashion boutiques, jewellery stores, lifestyle and interior decor shops, e-stores, music and book stores, beauty salons, banks and travel agencies. Take a break and dine in restaurants offering a tempting range of African, Oriental and European cuisines. The village is located in Cape Town's southern suburbs near Claremont.
Gardens Shopping Centre Explore one of Cape Town's most popular shopping centres, offering a range of shops selling designer brands, arts and crafts. And at Raith Gourmet you can savour authentic German foods at the only German Deli on the Cape. The centre's 86 shops are located close to the central business district.
Willowbridge South Africa's first true lifestyle centre is an open-air high-street shopping experience where you can browse a range of more than 80 upmarket boutiques in the fresh air. Shop for the crème de la crème of South African shops including Wetherlys, Osiers, @homelivingspace, Pierre Cronje and Spilhaus. Check out the hottest fashion labels in Jenni Button, Sesto Senso, Fabiani, Caramel, Michele Lopriore, Es-T and Timberland. Relax in one of the 12 cafés and restaurants, work up a sweat in the gym or enjoy a live show in the famous Barnyard Theatre. Willowbridge is located in TygerValley in the northern suburbs of Cape Town.
Canal Walk Located just outside the city centre on the N1 Freeway near Milnerton, this shopping centre borrows architectural style elements from the Orient and the Rennaissance period to house more than 400 shops, restaurants, fast food outlets and cinemas. Outside the centre, a system of canals is reminiscent of Venice in Italy. Browse for clothes, toys, decorative household goods, books and jewellery and then enjoy a fine lunch.
Don't miss visiting one of Cape Town's bustling markets to pick up some colourful gifts or souvenirs.
Greenmarket Square Stroll the pretty cobble-stoned market of Greenmarket Square, a vibrant open-air craft market located in Cape Town's CBD. Discover a range of African carvings, masks and drums, beadwork and jewellery, displayed alongside clothing, leatherwork, ceramics and curios from almost every country on the African continent. Remember to barter! Enjoy a spot of people-watching over a cup of coffee or local cuisine at one of the nearby restaurants. Green market Square is best visited on a Sunday.
Red Shed Craft Market Adjoining the Victoria Wharf centre and adjacent to the Two Oceans Aquarium, this vibrant indoor craft market features a diverse assortment of innovative designs and traditional handcrafts and antiquities.
Green Point Market This is one of the largest markets in Cape Town, held every Sunday in the car park outside the Green Point stadium. Be entertained with live music as you browse traditional African handicrafts and curios.
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