The Blubird Wholefood Market is affectionately referred to as the ‘United Flavours of Nations’ because of the wealth of different foods on offer. From traditional English breads and Polish pastries to exotic Turkish sweets and spicy Indian treats, there’s something special to suit every taste at this quaint food market.

Did you know?

The peppadew is a type of mild pepper that is grown in Limpopo and is indigenous to South Africa.

The Blubird Wholefood Market features an intimate gathering of vendors outside the ground-floor shops of the Blubird Shopping Centre in the suburb of Birnam, north of Johannesburg. The focus of the market is on preservative- and additive-free artisanal products, with each stall following a particular theme.

Wandering around the Blubird Wholefood Market will certainly make you hungry – a situation easily remedied by stopping at the table with mini-quiches, savoury pasties and other baked goodies. Here the home-baked cupcakes are as popular as they are pretty.

The Chinese stall is ideal for a quick snack or entire meal that’s freshly prepared in front of you, with loads of veggies, ready to take away. Be sure to pick up some bags of fresh, leafy bok choy while you’re there.

If you’re looking for gifts or bottled treats to take home, then browse the jam, mustard and preserves stall. Think chunky fig jam, marula jelly, lime marmalade, unusual mustards and peri-peri sauces. The cheese table is heaven, as is the one with the stuffed and marinated olives. Further along is an olive oil station, complete with delicious home-made pestos.

And just a warning - if you venture near the cake table, you will buy … the cakes are that good!

As food markets in Johannesburg go, this one is a joy, because you can get through it quite easily, the artisans are well informed and there’s plenty of parking. There’s also a wide range of foods to choose from, from staples like traditional English breads to more exotic choices like the tempting Turkish table and aromatic Indian stall with its veggie samoosas, rotis, spices and pickles.

Fresh produce markets in South Africa are growing in stature, and while the Blubird Wholefood Market is certainly one worth visiting, it’s a little different in that it features mainly high-end, ready-to-eat products and meals to take home with you.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

The Blubird Wholefood Market
Blubird Shopping Centre
Tel: +27 (0)83 311 4768

How to get here

The Blubird Wholefood Market is located at the Blubird Shopping Centre in Birnam, Johannesburg. You can get there via Atholl-Oaklands Road, just off Corlett Drive, which is accessible off the M1 north or south.

Best time to visit

The Blubird Wholefood Market is only open on Sundays from 09h00 to 14h00.

Around the area

You can visit the adjoining Blubird Shopping Centre and nearby Melrose Arch precinct to indulge in some high-end retail therapy; catch a game of local or international cricket at the Wanderers Stadium; or enjoy a round of golf at the Wanderers Golf Club.

Tours to do

Visit the Satyagraha House in Orchards (about 15 minutes' drive away) where Mahatma Gandhi lived for several years.

Get around

You can organise a transfer or taxi from your hotel to Birnam, or take a drive there yourself if you’ve hired a car.

What will it cost

Entrance to the market is free, and there’s a good selection of foods across the price spectrum to choose from.

Where to stay

The Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! Melrose Arch is a snazzy option nearby. There are affordable B&Bs in the Melrose/Atholl area.

What to eat

Indian curries, Chinese stir-fries and Italian pastas.

Best buys

Fair-trade organic tea and coffee, and the local bottled honeys, jams, pickles and preserves.