Congo Corner Market, Johannesburg
Did you know?
Ponte Tower in nearby Hillbrow was built in 1975 and is the highest residential building in Africa.
The Congo Corner Market in Johannesburg is the place to source authentic African produce and to enjoy a pan-African experience. It dominates the main drag (Rockey Street) of Yeoville, traditionally a polyglot melting pot in the eastern part of the city.
Yeoville has gone from being the home of artists and alternatives to a South African home for the African diaspora.
West Africans speaking ‘Franglais’ (French English), Zimbabweans, Mozambicans and Malawians come together in this market that sells mainly fresh produce. However, cloth, masks, sculptures and crafts also feature. Haggling is expected.
The Congo Corner Market is where you go hunting for items such as hot chilli sauce, plantains, yams, sweet potatoes, amadumbe (a popular starchy tuber – think African potato), cassava leaves, fresh peanuts and cashews, homemade breads, and hard-to-find spices and oils.
The atmosphere is very informal and the prices invitingly good. The attractions here are the grassroots, true African atmosphere and the colourful goods. You’re in Africa, not just South Africa.
This market is not so much about produce transformed as is the case at most other markets around Johannesburg. Rather, it is about raw and affordable items that can be transformed. African immigrants looking to cook traditional dishes come here to find the right spice blends, sauces, greens and starches to keep their cuisine authentic.
Food markets in South Africa generally offer an ethnic experience, but none more so than the Congo Corner Market.
It can be a bit bewildering for a first-time visitor so it would be a good idea to take a guided walking tour to introduce yourself to the market and have the reassurance of someone in the know explaining what you’re looking at and how it should be used or cooked.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)11 678 3905
How to get here
The Congo Corner Market is located in Rockey Street, a famous strip in Yeoville, a suburb just north-east of the Johannesburg city centre. It’s accessible via Joe Slovo Drive off the M1 highway.
Best time to visit
The market is open from Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 4pm.
Around the area
You can visit the Wilds, a 16ha nature reserve on the outskirts of Houghton, the Johannesburg Zoo or Zoo Lake. Within an easy drive of Yeoville you’ll find the must-see attractions of the Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill.
It’s best to do a guided walking tour of the Congo Corner Market and, if you wish, other sites of interest around the Yeoville area. See contact information for details.
What will it cost
Entrance is free. Pretty much everything is well priced at this market, with the added bonus that you can haggle some stall owners down even more.
Where to stay
The upmarket suburbs of Westcliff and Houghton are close to Yeoville. Try the opulent Westcliff Hotel for a luxury five-star stay or the four-star Jubilane Guest House in Houghton. More accommodation is available in the suburbs of Melrose, Rosebank and Emmarentia.