Did you know?
Prince Albert Tourism won Best Food Stall at the 2013 Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees (Little Karoo National Arts Festival).
The Prince Albert Saturday Market is a popular attraction in this quaint Karoo village, with its heritage buildings and vibrant food culture. Prince Albert, which lies about an hour's drive north of Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of South Africa, also hosts an olive festival each April.
The roots of the Prince Albert Saturday Market date back to October 1855, when the then-governor – Sir George Grey – gave the town permission to hold a weekly market. This tradition was observed for many years, but eventually faded away. However, in December 1997, the Prince Albert Tourism Association resurrected the market.
Here, organic and seasonal fruit and vegetables are a hit as shoppers can buy directly from the producer – you really don't get fresher than at this market.
Start your visit with a traditional breakfast pancake and some strong coffee or tea; look out for the artisanal olive bread and brioche stand; visit the table with the date and apple tarts and local cookies; or take away some dried fruit and goats’ cheese for later.
For souvenirs there are craft stalls, while you can make a difference and support the White Elephant stall manned by the Thursday Club ladies, who gather donations and sell these to support local charities and a soup kitchen.
Enjoy lunch at the jaffle (an old-fashioned round, grilled sandwich) stall with its organic venison, curry mince, lamb and chicken fillings; or cheese, onion and tomato for the vegetarians. There are also mini-lemon meringue pies and individual milk tarts.
You can also drop in at the museum next door and sample some witblits – South African 'moonshine' made from grapes.
And once you're done at the market, why not spend some time exploring the back roads and scenic areas in and around this beautiful hamlet.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Prince Albert Tourism
Tel: +27 (0)23 541 1366
How to get here
If you’re self-driving, from Cape Town take the scenic Route 62 to Oudtshoorn and then follow the signs to Prince Albert. From any other major centre, it’s best to fly to George Airport, hire a car there and then drive to Prince Albert.
Best time to visit
The market itself is open on Saturdays from 8am to 2pm. Also visit in April if you want to attend the town’s famous olive festival; or in October for the village agricultural show. Prince Albert also plays host to a great Christmas market in December.
Around the area
There’s tons to see and do in Prince Albert. Top picks include a ghost walk; various historical walks; a stargazing tour; and talks by local tour guide Ailsa Tudhope, about the village, local stories and legends, and the Anglo Boer War.
Because of the vast distances between Karoo towns, it’s best to hire your own car and do the drive yourself. Besides that, the area is beautiful and makes for a wonderful road trip. Stock up at the market on padkos (food for the road) for the way home!
What will it cost
Entrance to the market is free, and there are plenty of goodies to choose from, no matter what your budget.
Where to stay
Try the four-star De Bergkant Lodge for a luxury stay; Miller’s House; or the Artist’s Cottage.
What to eat
Fresh olives from Swartrivier Olive Farm.
Wine from Soet Karoo Wine Estate.