The recently opened Maponya Mall in Soweto

Shopping in South Africa is a very popular pasttime for South Africans. International visitors are often attracted to goods that are proudly South African and the attractive exchange rate against other major currencies means these can be picked up for a song.

With gold and diamonds being among our most-famed resources, buying jewellery and gemstones in South Africa is often high on the international visitor's shopping list. Shoppers are often attracted to blue-coloured Tanzanite, a rare stone from Tanzania which is expertly crafted into dazzling pieces.

South African wines are another sought-after purchase, and most wine estates and dealers will make arrangements to ship your selection abroad. 

Colourful curios and carvings, representing a myriad of South African and African cultures, are also popular purchases and include wooden and soft stone carvings, beading, weaving, pottery and basketware.  Articles imaginatively made of ostrich eggshell, wire and recycled goods are sought after. 

With the price of antiques sky rocketing the world over, it may be worth your while to check out the local stock.  Antiques can be found in the big cities as well as the smaller country towns.

Where to shop in South Africa?  One can spend hours in the country's shopping malls (usually open 7 days a week), trawl South Africa's excellent art galleries for that perfect piece, indulge in good-natured haggling in one of the many flea markets found in most South African cities, or find a bargain at a roadside vendor.

Bear in mind when shopping in South Africa foreign tourists can get a VAT refund on purchases. A tax invoice must be requested from the vendor for the items purchased. The invoice must bear the seller's name and address, their VAT registration number, a description of the purchased goods, the cost of the goods in South African Rands, and the amount of VAT charged. VAT is levied at a rate of 14%. For purchases of more than R3000, the buyer's name and address must appear on the tax invoice.


  • What can one buy in South Africa?
  • South Africa's gold and diamond jewellery, wines, art and African curios are sought-after commodities in the international market. Traditional handcrafted items such as Zulu beadwork, carved chessboards, painted ostrich eggs, colourful woven baskets, traditional wooden masks and carvings, pottery and leather items can be found in flea markets, curio shops and at roadside stalls. Other popular exports include Rooibos tea, biltong and chutney.