Shopping for fashion and food may sound like mutually exclusive activities if the tabloids’ claims that fashionistas survive on a lettuce leaf a day are true. But if you love to shop and eat, you'll find food and fashion hotspots where both the couture and the cuisine are catwalk-worthy.

Did you know?

Canal Walk in Cape Town has 400 stores and the Gateway Shopping Centre in Umhlanga in KwaZulu-Natal has 380 stores.

Shopping for food and fashion is a favourite preoccupation of stylish travellers the world over.

With ever-more South African fashion designers showcasing their collections in the fashion capitals of the world, the famous by-line, New York, London, Milan and Paris, will soon include the suffix: Mzansi (a popular nickname for South Africa).

Unquestionably one of South Africa’s top food and fashion spots is Sandton City, in Johannesburg. Among the largest shopping malls in southern Africa, here you’ll find Avenue des Champs-Élysées stores like Louise Vuitton, Dior, Yves St Laurent and Chanel, along with local fashion celebs like Marion and Lindie, David Tlale and Jenni Button.

For lunch, it has to be the adjoining Nelson Mandela Square, where you can stretch out your legs (to show off your latest Laboutin platform pumps), and mull over whether to eat seafood, steak, haute African, Thai or posh Indian from the myriad restaurants on the piazza.

In northern Johannesburg, within an 11km radius of Sandton, you’ll find even more must-visit places to shop for food and fashion. Hyde Park Corner, Rosebank Mall and the leisure and lifestyle precinct of Melrose Arch stock international clothing labels and funky local designers galore.

Hungry shoppers will delight in Hyde Park Corner’s Asian-inspired, seafood and steakhouse restaurants, while Melrose Arch's and Rosebank's chic outdoor piazzas are adored by those who love to preen and be seen eating at upmarket franchise restaurants.

Nearer to central Johannesburg, 44 Stanley Avenue is style-central for food- and fashion-seekers. Unusual clothing outlets with Africa-inspired fashion go well with the selection of artisan bakeries and trendy outdoor cafés serving planet-friendly food.

Not to be outdone, Cape Town is also foremost with its food and fashion offerings.

The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, known simply as the ‘V&A’, is where the jet set refresh their walk-in wardrobes. At the V&A, aside from the likes of Jimmy Choo, Armani and Burberry, you’ll find head-to-toe African fashion inspiration, and its selection of kiddie couture is brilliant.

It goes without saying that you’ll want to celebrate your fabulous fashion finds with champagne and a seafood feast on the wharf …

Still in Cape Town, head for the southern suburbs, and in under 20 minutes you’ll find yourself at Cavendish Square in the fashionable suburb of Claremont. Discover some of the best-kept local fashion secrets that enable Capetonians to look so trendy: Nicci, Jenni Button and Jo Borkett, to name a few.

After your spree, indulge in the guilty pleasure of a deluxe fillet steak and porcini mushroom burger with all the trimmings and a Lindt chocolate milkshake from Gourmet Burgers.

Food-loving followers of fashion have style options aplenty in KwaZulu-Natal,with its exotic melange of African, Asian and European influences. In Umhlanga in the north of the city, the Gateway Mall isn't dubbed the 'Theatre of Shopping' for nothing. The multi-storey mega-mall is a shopper's heaven. Once you've splurged on stylish must-haves from footwear to fashion accessories, there's Thai, authentic Indian, sushi and more to boost your energy levels.

The Musgrave Centre, in the trendy Durban suburb of Berea, lures lovers of limited edition fashion wear with creations by local designers Charcoal & Chocolate and Forbidden Couture, as well as mainstream European brands like Daniel Hetchter and Uzzi. Finish your spree with a nutrient-boosting wrap or juice at Kauai, or a scrumptious salad from the Red Lime Café.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Johannesburg:

Sandton City
Entrances in Alice and Maude streets and Sandton Drive
Tel: +27 (0)11 217 6000
Email: sandtoncity@liberty.co.za

Nelson Mandela Square
Corner 5th and Maude streets, Sandton, Johannesburg
Tel: +27 (0)11 217 6000
Email: nelsonmandelasquare@liberty.co.za

Rosebank Mall
Bath and Cradock avenues, Rosebank, Johannesburg.
Tel: +27 (0)11 788 5530

Melrose Arch
Melrose Boulevard off Corlett Drive, Melrose, Johannesburg.
Tel: +27 (0)11 684 0000

44 Stanley Avenue
Richmond, Johannesburg
Tel: +27 (0)11 482 4444
Mobile: +27 (0)78 131 2672

Cape Town:

V&A Waterfront
Tel: +27 (0)21 408 7600
Email: info@waterfront.co.za

Cavendish Square
Dreyer Street, Claremont, Cape Town
Tel: +27 (0)21 657 5620
Email: info@cavendish.co.za

Canal Walk
Century Boulevard, Century City
Tel: +27 (0)21 529 9699/8
Email: visitorinfo@canalwalk.co.za

KwaZulu-Natal:

Gateway Theatre of Shopping
No. 1 Palm Boulevard, New Town Centre, Umhlanga Ridge
Tel: +27 (0)31 566 2332

Musgrave Centre
115 Musgrave Road, Berea , Durban
+27 (0)31 201 5129

How to get here

From OR Tambo International Airport to northern Johannesburg, where a number of upmarket malls are located, is a trip of approximately 30km on the R24S and the N3 highways. You can also catch the Gautrain from inside the airport to the Sandton Gautrain station, which is a short walk from Sandton Square and Sandton City.

From Cape Town International Airport to the V&A Waterfront is a trip of about 20km, using the airport approach road into the city.

The Musgrave Centre in Berea, Durban, is situated 10 minutes' drive from the beachfront areas. From the centre of Durban, Gateway Mall is about a 30-minute trip on the N2 highway.

Best time to visit

South African shopping malls are usually open 365 days from 9am to 6pm. Some, like Canal Walk, the V&A, Gateway Mall and Sandton City, have late trading hours on certain days. In most malls, the opening hours of retail stores and restaurants differ.

Get around

Transport options in Johannesburg include the Gautrain high-speed rapid rail link direct from OR Tambo International Airport to Sandton. Hire cars, airport and hotel shuttles, and metered taxis.

In Cape Town, hire a car, catch a MyCiti Bus, or book an airport or hotel shuttle, or a metered taxi.

In Durban, a hire car, metered taxi or an airport shuttle are your best options.

What will it cost

Be aware that the majority of South African shopping complexes charge by the hour for underground or undercover parking. Open-air parking is usually free of charge.

Where to stay

About 20 hotels in the Sandton CBD offer top-notch accommodation, many of them five-star. Likewise, there are a number of three, four and five-star hotels at the V&A Waterfront. Close to Cavendish Square, in Newlands, the Vineyard Hotel & Spa is a deluxe hotel in landscaped parkland. In Durban, there are a myriad three, four and five-star hotels in the city centre. Opt for a beachfront hotel or self-catering apartment if you want sea views.

What's happening

Sandton City hosts regular promotional shopping festivals. Hyde Park Corner hosts the Jozi Bubbles champagne festival in September and the Food, Wine, Design Fair in November. Culture, music and sports-related events and activities take place year round at the V&A Waterfront. The Gateway Mall regularly hosts music, fashion and sports-related events.