17 Apr What and where to buy in South Africa
South Africa is a shopper’s paradise, yet buying gifts can be a headache. Here are some suggestions that will make it a breeze. Plus, we’ll drop you off at the shops and pick you up again later.
All that glitters
How romantic can it be to buy her diamonds in the country that produced the world’s biggest and most famous? Gold, platinum and deep blue tanzanite will definitely earn you brownie points as well. Look out for designers like Jenna Clifford and Uwe Koetter, or take a look at jewellery stores in shopping centres. For something different, try Tinsel Gallery where you can choose from the work of contemporary South African designers.
Art and crafts
The craft markets at Rosebank Mall and Hartbeespoort Dam are any memento seeker’s dream. And when your head is reeling and your feet are killing you, sit down and relax with a tasty meal at one of the local eateries. If it’s fine art you’re after, the following galleries might be worth a visit: the Goodman Gallery, Gallery Momo, the Everard Read Gallery, Fried Contemporary, and Arts on Main.
Shweshwe has been worn in South Africa for centuries by Khoi-San, soldiers, slaves and Voortrekker women. Today this beautiful fabric, made from 100% cotton, is more in vogue than ever. From the catwalk to the nursery, there is something for everyone. Buy some fabric and sew your own designs or select from the wide variety of products available in shops like The Fashion Shack or Afro Trade.
Functional art designer Carrol Boyes creates articles for the home from lead-free pewter and stainless steel that will definitely be a talking point at your next tea or dinner party. Find her shops at selected shopping malls.
From the ostrich farms of the Klein Karoo come some of our most beautiful gifts. Handbags, wallets, shoes and belts made from soft, exotic ostrich leather. With silky ostrich feather items and art work made from ostrich eggs, you will be spoilt for choice. Buy them from leather outlets in shopping centres or at African craft markets.
Rooibos tea is definitely not the only thing made from the unique red bush plant growing in the Cedarberg Mountains in the Western Cape. Treat your face, body and hands to the range of beauty products for the African Extracts or Angelique ranges (the latter won their creator two gold medals at the International Inventions Exhibit in Geneva). Another good option is the toiletry brands found at Rain stores in selected shopping centres.
Our wine industry was founded by the French settlers in 1659 and has been winning international awards ever since so you can’t go wrong with a good bottle or two. Another South African favourite is Amarula liqueur. Made from the exotic marula fruit, it is great on its own but also a winner over vanilla ice cream or in coffee.
T-shirts with a twist
Try a new take on the tourist T-shirt with the Springleap brand. Quirky and original, they can be bought in shopping malls at selected stores like the African Trading Post and Big Blue.
Enjoy your shopping and remember to request a tax invoice from vendors so you can ask for a VAT refund at the airport.