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SShopping 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.
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).
UUnquestionably 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.
For lunch, it has to be the adjoining Nelson Mandela Square, where you can stretch out your legs (to show off your latest Louboutin 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 artisanal bakeries and trendy outdoor cafés.
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.
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.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Entrances in Alice and Maude streets and Sandton Drive
Tel: +27 (0)11 217 6000
Nelson Mandela Square
Corner 5th and Maude streets
Tel: +27 (0)11 217 6000
Bath and Cradock avenues
Tel: +27 (0)11 788 5530
Melrose Boulevard off Corlett Drive
Tel: +27 (0)11 684 0000
44 Stanley Avenue
19 Dock road
Tel: +27 (0)21 408 7500
1 Dreyer Street
Tel: +27 (0)21 657 5600
Tel: +27 (0)21 529 9699
Gateway Theatre of Shopping
No. 1 Palm Boulevard
New Town Centre
Tel: +27 (0)31 514 0500
115 Musgrave Road
Tel: +27 (0)31 201 5129
How to get here
In Johannesburg you can catch the Gautrain from OR Tambo International airport to Sandton City and Rosebank Mall. 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 a year 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.
Transport options in Johannesburg include the Gautrain high-speed rapid rail link direct from OR Tambo International Airport to Sandton. There are also hire cars, airport and hotel shuttles, metered taxis and Ubers.
In Cape Town, hire a car, catch a MyCiti Bus, or book an airport or hotel shuttle, Uber or a metered taxi.
In Durban, a hire car, metered taxi, Uber or airport shuttle are your best options.
What will it cost?
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. Likewise, there are a number of 3-, 4- and 5-star hotels at the V&A Waterfront. Close to Cavendish Square, in Newlands, the Vineyard Hotel & Spa is a deluxe hotel in landscaped parklands. In Durban, there are a myriad 3-, 4- and 5-star hotels in the city centre. Opt for a beachfront hotel or self-catering apartment if you want sea views.
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.