With Christmas merely a few weeks away, the impending panic and dread surrounding gift buying might be setting in. Our sage advice to you is to avoid the shopping mall madness and head to one of South Africa’s markets where you’ll find the most innovative artisanal gifts directly from their makers.
Relax with a craft beer and listen to live music, feast on fresh and lovingly prepared local eats while you search for unique clothing, crafts and collectibles. Here are our top picks in your city:
Arguably the most popular market in Cape Town, the Neighbourgoods Market in the trendy Woodstock creative district offers the best in artisanal food, drinks, clothing, jewellery and collectables. The fact that the market is set in an old biscuit mill reflects the authenticity and eclecticism of the market, its traders and its supporters, who flock through its doors every Saturday morning.
Where: Old Biscuit Mill, 373 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town
When: Every Saturday from 09h00 to 15h00
The Bluebird Garage Food & Goods Market
The Bluebird Garage Food & Goods Market is a smaller, more relaxed market set in the sleepy seaside village of Muizenberg, about 30 minutes from the heart of Cape Town. Open on Friday evenings, it offers a relaxed yet vibrant space in which locals and foreigners mingle over delicious gourmet fare, live local music and a variety of clothing, book, art, deco, jewellery and other stalls.
Where: 39 Albertyn Road, Muizenberg, Cape Town
When: Every Friday night from 16h00 to 22h00
Greenmarket Square in Cape Town’s city centre is perfect for visitors looking for distinctly African gifts and memorabilia. Whilst arts and crafts dominate the popular square, a variety of clothing and collectables can also be found. Most (if not all) of the products on offer at the daily market express the rich cultural and creative heritage of Africa and South Africa in particular.
Where: Greenmarket Square, corner Burg Street and Longmarket Street, Cape Town City Centre
When: Everyday from 09h00 to 16h00
Bay Harbour Market
The Bay Harbour Market in Hout Bay is well worth a visit for a lively night out. The live music ranges from big band and jazz to local pop and rock artists, the food includes everything from burgers and pizza to sushi and sweet treats and the cultural melting pot provides the perfect setting for locals and visitors alike to relax, socialise and peruse the myriad lifestyle and craft stalls on offer. Traders are carefully selected so you’re guaranteed quality goods from vintage clothing and natural fabric linens to antique collectibles, funky fashion and leather goods and more. The food, especially fresh fish and seafood, is highly recommended.
Where: 31 Harbour Road, Hout Bay, Cape Town
When: Every Friday night from 17h00 to 21h00, every Saturday & Sunday from 09h30 to 16h00
Country Craft Market
For a great variety of genuine Cape and African handcrafts, the Country Craft Market in Somerset West is a must-visit. This open-air market is about 30 minutes’ drive from Cape Town in the Helderberg district, and renowned for promoting high-quality handcrafts for over 30 years, with nearly 200 stalls offering a variety of handmade goods including beadwork, glassware, homeware, jewellery, handbags and more.
Where: Southey’s Vines, 186 Main Road, Somerset West, Western Cape
When: Every Saturday from 09h00 to 14h00.
Trendy, hip and happening, the Neighbourgoods Market has become a bit of an institution in Jozie. It covers two floors in a modernist building and is filled with craft beer, seasonal fruit and vegetables, designer clothes and jewellery. There is also a Chill Out Zone for those that want to relax and enjoy the ambience.
Where: 73 Juta Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg
When: Every Saturday from 09h00 to 15h00
Rosebank Rooftop Market
Every Sunday the open rooftop parking space of the renovated Rosebank Mall transforms into a premier, world-class marketplace. They offer a shopping experience that includes a variety of tasty treats, unusual bric-a-brac, antiques, bespoke clothing and more.
Where: Rosebank Mall, 50 Bath Avenue, Rosebank
When: Every Sunday from 09h00 to 16h00
1Fox Market is set in a historic location in Johannesburg, being part of the first mining camps that emerged at the time of the discovery of gold in the 1880s. Today, it is a thriving and characterful market that sells everything artisanal including gifts, homeware, jewellery, clothing, handbags and more.
Where: 1 Fox Street Ferreirasdorp, Johannesburg
When: Fridays: 12h00 to 17h00 Saturdays: 10h00 to 19h00 Sundays: 10h00 to 16h00 Night Fox (last Friday of the month): 12h00 to 22h00. Christmas market happens 15 December 2017 from 12h00 to 22h00
Irene Village Market
The Irene Village Market has been around since 1989 and grows in popularity every year. The market is famous for its South African handmade arts and crafts and is situated on the beautiful grounds of the Sunlawns Estate that overlook vast grasslands and the Kaal river.
Where: The Big Red Barn, 7 Nelson Road, Olifantsfontein
When: The first and last Saturday of every month from 09h00 to 14h00. Christmas markets will be held 2, 9, 16, December 2017
This is a market that will satisfy the whole family, including the furry members. The Cowhouse Market is pet-friendly and boasts a large, dedicated kids play area. You’ll find an array of crafts, gourmet delicacies and local delights like potjiekos. Pick up some craft beer and whiskey while you’re there.
Where: Corner Ridge Road and Oukraal Boulevard, Hazeldean, Pretoria East
When: Every Saturday and Sunday from 10h00 to 16h00, except for the last Saturday of each month, when they are open until 22.00
The Valley Market
Set in a revamped warehouse in Baakens Valley, The Valley Market is an artisanal and organic market not to be missed. Visitors can expect to find a broad range of high quality products from confectioneries, bakeries, fruit and vegetables, crafts beers and wines as well as coffee and deli food. All produce is locally produced and is not sold to the mass market, so you’re guaranteed to pick up something unique.
Where: Corner of Lower Valley Road and Union Street, Port Elizabeth
When: First Saturday of every month from 09h00 to 14h00
Beach Front Traders
This market has been going for over 30 years and has over 150 traders. Get there early and browse the plentiful stalls loaded with antiques, jewellery, children’s clothing and handcrafted homeware and trinkets.
Where: The Promenade between King’s Beach and McArthur’s Beach, Port Elizabeth
When: Every Saturday and Sunday from 08h00 until late afternoon, and every day over the Christmas period
The Sylvan Belle Country Market
A market for the food lovers, craft lovers and music lovers. Their Christmas market promises to be inviting, with a wide variety of delicious food and interesting products on sale as well as loads of free entertainment. Keep the kids occupied with a jungle gym, jumping castle and face painting while you get some shopping done.
Where: Bloomingdales, 145 Main Road, Walmer, Port Elizabeth
When: Every last Saturday of the month from 09h00 to 15h00 Their Christmas market happens from 10 to 13 December 2017.