South Africa’s best markets to snag a bargain!

Markets in South Africa are a visual and sensory feast. There are handmade crafts and art, home-baked food, unique gift ideas and lots more suited for all budgets. It’s a great way to take a little bit of South Africa back home with you whilst supporting the local community!

The Greenmarket Square Market in the heart of Cape Town’s business district is one of South Africa’s most vibrant markets. Vendors from all over Africa come to show off their hand-painted fabric, clothing. footwear and African crafts.

A trip to Greenmarket Square is a feast for the senses with a number of local performers entertaining shoppers making for a great day out.

Surrounding the marketplace are a wonderful selection of coffee shops and restaurants whose pavement tables are a great place to soak up the atmosphere!

The Greenmarket Square market is open Monday to Saturday 9am – 4pm but the best time to visit is on Saturday morning when the vibe is unbeatable!

Greenmarket Square

The Bay Harbour Markets are located just outside of Cape Town in Hout Bay, a historic and functioning fishing village. Hout Bay has long been a popular tourist attraction among both local and international visitors because of its great surfing (Hout Bay is recognised as one of sixteen ‘big wave spots’ around the globe), local colour and beautiful scenery.

The markets are in a functioning fish factory and take place every Friday evening and on weekends.

Their mission is to celebrate the vibrancy, spirit and diversity of creativity and culture that make South Africa such a unique country, whilst developing the creative and business skills of the vendors to build an uplifted community.

Shoppers can focus on the art, craft and fashion stalls or can sample the fresh local produce and pre-made meals all whilst listening to amazing local musicians live on stage each evening.

There are also more informal local markets near the beach in Hout Bay where you will find fantastic handmade South African arts and crafts. At these informal markets, you can often bargain with the seller about the price of the items you are buying.

Hout Bay vendor

Sellers with their crafts in Hout Bay. Image courtesy of Khaled AL-Ajmi, aka Khaled100

Food lovers in Johannesburg are spoiled for choice when it comes to delicious local and organic food markets. The Jozi Food Market  offers a smorgasbord of quality products, handmade with care in the local community.  The markets are open every Saturday morning in the lovely suburb of Parkhurst

Expect to find everything from raw honey and flavourful, homemade sausages, decadent sweet treats and heavenly fresh-from-the-oven breads.

Jozi Food Market

Photo courtesy of fiverlocker

The Neighbourgoods Market in Johannesburg is another option to excite your taste-buds. Housed in a modernist building that has a spectacular 15-storey wall mural by the famed artist Eduardo Villa, the market has a great vibe and offers tasty food, including paella, bunny chow (hollowed-out half-loaves of bread filled with curry), Balkan burgers, oysters, gelato and massive pancakes . This market takes place every Saturday from 9am in a parking garage; it closes at 3pm and can get quite full on warm days. There is also a rooftop seating area and vintage clothing stores.

For a taste of what you will find at the Neighbourgoods Market check out this amazing video…

For something a little different, visitors to Durban should check out the Victoria Street Market which celebrates Durban’s long history with India (Durban has the highest population of Indians outside of Asia).  Built to resemble a Maharajah’s palace, the Victoria Street Market is essential for those who want to experience Durban’s relaxed Afro-Indian atmosphere and pick up some great bargains.

A great way to experience the Victoria Street Market and the nearby Zulu Muti (traditional African medicine) Market is to take a guided walking tour which explores Durban’s Indian community and ends up at the Victoria Street Market.  Here you will find dealers of traditional kurtas and saris as well as ornately embroidered fabrics, and barrels of aromatic spices.

Victoria Street Market

The popular Victoria Street Market
© Image courtesy Niall McNulty

No matter which market you choose, the beauty of South Africa has long been a source of inspiration to the country’s artists and craftsmen and women, who are well known for the beautiful work they produce in both the cities and the rural areas, working with diverse and creative materials to produce both traditional and contemporary artworks.