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TThe Pan African Market in Cape Town’s historic Long Street has a reputation for showcasing the best in African art, making it popular among visitors to Western Cape. The works on display represent a range of cultures, artistic styles and techniques.
The Pan African Market, popular among tourists and Cape Town residents alike, offers an impressive display of African culture, craftsmanship and artistic talent.
The market is located in a national monument on the historic Long Street and comprises more than 30 stores and stalls representing at least 14 countries in East, West and southern Africa.
You will meet stallholders from Cameroon, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal, Mozambique, Mali and of course, South Africa itself.
When this African flea market began in 1997, its founders aimed to show that African art is not the homogenous mass that it is sometimes mistaken for.
From humble beginnings on the first floor of the building, and with just five traders, the market has grown enormously, showing African entrepreneurship as well as artistic talent.
Today, the market boasts incredible variety and sets the standard in African art and craft markets on the continent.
Visitors can explore three floors laden with stunning objects, artwork and artefacts. You should feel free to ask the traders for information and stories from their countries of origin. This not only contextualises these art pieces, but also enhances your appreciation and knowledge of the cultures of Africa.
The market is located in an accessible and friendly environment. It's a well-known meeting place for African migrants and visitors from all around Africa and the rest of the world.
Besides gifts and souvenirs worth a browse, the Long Street building is bustling with entrepreneurs offering services ranging from hair dressing and tailoring to holistic healing and indigenous catering.
The traders who operate the stalls at the Pan African Market are completely independent, and the market is an important source of employment in this regard.
TTravel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Pan African Market
Tel: +27 (0)21 426 4478 [NOTE: Number doesn’t exist. But it’s the same as the number on the FB page, and I can find no other for them]
How to get here
The Pan African Market is situated in Long Street in the Cape Town CBD.
Best time to visit
If visiting Cape Town during the wet winter months, from May to August, the Pan African Market is a perfect place to spend a rainy day.
What to pack
Although the Pan African Market is indoors, getting to and from it, whether by bus, taxi or private hire, will involve exposure to the elements at some point. Which means hats and sunblock in summer (December to February) and wet-weather gear in winter (June to August), and possibly a combination of the 2 in the months in between.
Length of stay
'African time' is the clock that ticks at the Pan African Market, and you will easily spend a couple of hours browsing around for a masterpiece to buy or just admiring what is on display and enjoying the atmosphere.
Where to stay
Cape Town has many hotels, B&Bs and backpacker establishments.
What to eat
Named after the famous commune of Nigerian musician and socio-political commentator Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the Kalakuta Republik is the heart of the Pan African Market in Cape Town. The food and drinks menu at Thembi's Soul Kitchen at the Kalakuta Republik are a constant reminder of the incredible diversity of Africa’s food cultures. The Soul Kitchen is open daily from 9am to 6pm.