14 July 2014 by Lethabo-Thabo Royds

South Africa's local markets

There are a number of fantastic markets to choose from in South Africa. Some are informal, happening beachside or near popular tourist attractions, while others are more formal markets in buildings.

The Cape Town Neighbourgoods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill. Image courtesy of Anca Carstean, aka carsteanca

Here are a few photos shared with our Love South Africa Flickr group ...

For wonderful hand-painted fabric, footwear, crafts and a number of other things from all over Africa, try the market at Cape Town's Greenmarket Square (below) – a cobbled square in the CBD (and not too far from the popular Long Street). Weaving through the different stalls while vendors call to you to come look at what they are selling is part of the fun of this market. The vendors are from all over Africa, some of whom import their wares from home. There are also a number of local restaurants and coffee shops nearby from which to choose.

Items on sale at Greenmarket Square, Cape Town. Image courtesy of Lysmask

The Bay Harbour Market is a popular local market in the Hout Bay harbour in the Western Cape. The market takes place every Friday evening from 5pm, and on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 9:30am. If you're looking for more informal local markets, then look near the beach in Hout Bay for a number of other fantastic handmade African arts and crafts, as pictured below. At these informal markets, you can often bargain with the seller about the price of the items you are buying.

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

Along the Garden Route in Sedgefield is the Scarab Village with a weekly Saturday market. Here you can choose from delicious homemade food, great jewellery, bonsai trees and other interesting items. There is also a play area for children and a restaurant serving bistro-style meals.

Scarab Village Market in Sedgefield. Image courtesy of Randall Langenhoven, aka WITHIN the FRAME PHOTOGRAPHY

In KwaZulu-Natal's Durban is the well-known Victoria Street Market, located on the corner of Queen Street and Victoria Street. Here you can buy arts, crafts, jewellery, clothing, local fish, fresh meat, spices and more. There is a strong emphasis on Indian products, with curry powder, spices and packs of incense dominating. Bargaining is welcome here, so do not be alarmed if stall owners are willing to decrease a price for you because you're buying a number of items from the shop.

Shop at Victoria Street Market in Durban. Image courtesy of flowcomm

There are also informal markets (similar to those in Hout Bay) near the Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga. Souvenirs, arts, crafts, clothing, African material and jewellery are available, while you will also be supporting local businesses.

Informal market near Blyde River Canyon, Mpumalanga. Image courtesy of lizwd

For food lovers, the Neighbourgoods Market in Johannesburg is a must. 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 that you can enjoy plain or with decadent toppings like Nutella or Bar One. 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 (which can get very full) and vintage clothing stores. 

There's a Neighbourgoods Market in Cape Town that takes place on Saturdays at the Old Biscuit Mill.

Buskers at the Neighbourgoods Market in Johannesburg. Image courtesy of Derek Smith, aka Mr Baggins

The trendy Market on Main, located at Arts on Main in the Maboneng Precinct, takes place on Sundays. Sample delicious food and browse niche shops – shop items include incredible jewellery made from colourful African material, imaginative home decor and leather wallets. Though the market closes at 3pm, there is an outdoor bar that stays open later and you will almost always find couples dancing to intoxicating salsa and rumba beats. There is also a night market on the first Thursday of every month that is worth checking out.

Framed photographs on sale at Arts on Main. Image courtesy of Derek Smith, aka Mr Baggins

For a slightly different market, visit Cape Town's Adderley Street, where there is a local flower market. You will meet a range of locals while your eyes and your nose can feast on the beautiful flowers sold there.

The Adderley Street flower market. Image courtesy of Aquagg

Why not try one of South Africa's many markets? Enjoy a great day out with family and friends while browsing the shops and sampling delicious locally made food.

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Category: Arts & Entertainment, Attractions, Events, Food & Wine

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