Cape Town is a dream destination, a design capital and a shopping capital. Whether you’re doing business in Cape Town or taking in the sights, or both, the city’s many design and shopping hubs offer a range of beautiful goods for purchase. There’s a great choice of gifts and goodies to buy if you know where to go.
The most popular areas include :
The V&A Waterfront
World renowned as a top shopping spot in the southern hemisphere, it has everything from aprons to zebra skins. Its location in the harbour could extend to a boat ride, and should definitely include a sumptuous lunch with a view of the marina.
Long Street and Kloof Street
These two streets specialise in clothing, shoes, interiors, antiques, collectibles and accessories. Specialist bookstores, haute couture boutiques and used goods stores sit side-by-side along this vintage and style hubs, and there are many coffee shops and restaurants for a rest stop along the way. It’s great to do on foot, just hop on a MyCiti bus from Long to upper Kloof as it’s quite a walk away.
Green Point’s shopping mecca boasts a series of malls and stores that specialise in high class style for the home and the wardrobe. This suburb on the edge of the CBD is close to the Cape Town Stadium and the ocean. Visit it for a convenient way to find quality gifts, goods, and everyday items. If you’re walking from the CBD, take the Fan Walk, and enjoy the colourful outdoor art installations along the way.
A quaint cluster of clothing, gift and artisan stores make this little village by the sea a must-see. Hop on a train from Cape Town, and you’ll find yourself charmed by the pretty houses nestled against the steep slopes of the south peninsula. It’s one of the best places in Cape Town to shop for a wide variety of designer clothing, and has beautiful parks and beaches nearby. See our suggestion below.
Woodstock and Salt River
On the skirts of the city, this area is fast becoming the trend setter for small, design-oriented businesses. From artisan beer to printed art, it’s home to the Old Biscuit Mill, The Woodstock Exchange and other gatherings of shops, eateries and agencies that pride themselves on putting the personal touch into their products and services. You’ll find objects and items with a truly South African and Cape Town flair, and if there’s anything on your list that its stylish outlets don’t stock, you can pop over to the bustling commercial centre of the area on Main Road for more everyday items.
Here are a few ideas to get you going :
A fine City for Art
Spotted around the CBD and its nearby areas, art galleries abound. Go on an art walkabout on First Thursdays in the city centre, or
Take in South Africa’s offerings at the National Art Gallery. There are many more places to see and buy find and contemporary art here.
Curious about Local Curios?
Greenmarket square has many items from all over Southern Africa for your collection, including carved wooden masks and beaded items. You’ll see vendors throughout Cape Town selling handmade craft of high quality. Take care to negotiate a price fair to you and to them, and to maintain cordial conduct in the haggling process. It can be a robust and entertaining shopping experience. We have some more tips on responsible tourism for you here .
Cape Town collectibles
The city, with its history and mix of cultures and influences, offers many valuable items for those who love to collect. Whether it’s Cape Dutch furniture or fine art ceramics, antique jewellery, a Carrol Boyes pewter ladle or a rare book, you’ll find specialist items all over the city. A good place to start is the Long Street Antique Arcade, a variety of specialist book shops in the same street and in Kalk Bay and The Old Biscuit Mill for household items or furniture.
A Day Trip
For a full day of sights and great buys, hop on the train to Kalk Bay for bohemian clothes, art and interiors. We suggest you try this in no particular order: shop, shop, shop, visit the quaint harbour if the weather is fine, eat fish and chips with a cosy, indoor view of the open ocean, and follow it up with ice cream from the famous Ice Café near the station.
A Morning Out
The Old Biscuit Mill is a haven of food, goods and good people. Every Saturday morning, The Neighbourgoods Market kicks off early. You can enjoy an excellent breakfast from one of many dozens of food stalls, shop for gifts, stationary, clothes, shoes and interiors and have a gourmet coffee whilst listening to live music.
Take a piece of World Design Capital home with you from the artisan shops at The Woodstock Exchange. Jewellery, leather, handmade shoes – so many choices!
For The Home
Looking for something for your lounge? Or perhaps a piece for the entrance hall? The Palms has shops with stylish interiors that rival Ocean View House's own!
Lunch And Gifts Near The City
Keeping it close to the inner city, the Cape Quarter complex in De Waterkant is a classy cluster of shops and restaurants with clothes, accessories, art, toys and more.
Vintage Clothing In The City
Bygone eras are always fashionable and Cape Town has some beautiful outlets offering classic designs. We especially recommend the Long Street Antique Arcade.
Curios And Fine Art at CBD Markets
We would like you to take a piece of paradise home with you. You’ll find items in St. Georges Mall, Greenmarket Square, Church Street and the Pan African Market. They’re within easy walking distance of each other in the city centre. More markets here.
These specialist shops will impress you with their personal touch:
A free range farm shop near Cape Point.
A world class deli in Green Point.
An authentic German butchery, bakery and delicatessen in Gardens that will order you anything they don’t have in-store.
Exclusively local and quite lovely: Missibaba makes handmade leather handbags and laptop bags.
Toiletries with a Twist
Artisan is the order of the day and these toiletries will make you feel like royalty
Rain Africa has scents you won’t find elsewhere and they’re conveniently situated at the V & A Waterfront. Wild Olive is a conscientious company with excellent, natural products.
A-Hem! Cape Town Fashion
All yours on Long Street. From top to bottom, you’ll find local and international designs to express every mood. Pop in to Mungo & Jemima for a select range of simple, stunning outfits. Sitting Pretty brings subtle sartorial flair into local looks.
“I’m Somewhere In Sea Point”
Sea Point is thought of as the world on one urban strip. Have a look for yourself and pop into a boutique on the way.
Going large? Think rare and beautiful, think Tanzanite and diamonds and take care to use a reputable dealer. Here’s a guide.
You can also go cheap and visit a range of factory shops in Cape Town for cut-price deals on all sorts of items:
Sounds like Cape Town
Want to sample some local/African/vinyl music? Sounds good to us. Try Mabu Vinyl near Kloof Street and The African Music Store on Long Street for excellent local CDs and vinyls.
The World in One Waterfront
Of course, everything you could imagine and more is available at the number one shopping mecca in the Mother City, the V & A Waterfront. Enjoy a luncheon, take a boat trip, fill your bags, and grab a cab back to Ocean View House. It’s also a great place to shop if you’re on a business trip, and pressed for time – everything is in one place.
What’s for Dinner?
How about a fresh fish meal for those in self-catering suites after a hard day’s shopping? Only the freshest fish will do, and these outlets have it for you.
As we set you on your way, we are wondering if you have a tip or a comment to add. We’d love to hear your shopping ideas and secrets in and around Cape Town, and your gift giving ideas. We’re also curious about your (least) favourite gift, and the gift at the top of your list. Tell us here on Facebook.
Tagged: antiques, artisan, buy, cape town, CBD, clothing., co-op, curios, design, fashion, gifts, green point, interior, Kalk Bay, mecca, mementos, Peninsula, Seapoint, Shopping, Waterfront, Woodstock