Shopping in South Africa

Unique items you may wish to purchase in South Africa include a multitude of jewellery, crafted from the finest South African gold, diamonds and semi-precious stones, leather and suede items, local crafts, ceramics, and also South African wine, brandy and liqueurs, which are excellent value and normally quite high quality.

Shopping Malls
Shopping malls are everywhere with a wide variety of shops all under one big roof. Some are so huge that it will take you a good to discover all the shops, boutiques nad restaurants. In Johannesburg there's Eastgate and the newly enlarged Cresta, among others, and in Umhlanga, just outside Durban, there's the mammoth Gateway Shopping Centre, which offers 150,000 square metres of shopping - that's over 37 acres.

Cape Town's Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, with over 400 stores, caters to all shopping needs in a huge range to suit any budget or taste. Other more exclusive centres are Johannesburg's Sandton City, Nelson Mandela Square and Hyde Park.

Handicrafts
The first choice would be local arts and crafts. Wire sculptures are a feature of the streets of all cities, but this art is best represented in the Eastern Cape, near the town of Cradock. Here you'll find windmills up to two metres tall made from wire and scrap, such as food tins and old aerosol cans. These innovative artists also make aeroplanes with working propellers.

At craft centres and roadside stalls all over the country you'll find fantastic pots, basketware, beadwork, embroidery and carvings. If you're after community arts and crafts, visit the Eskom Due South Craft Route. The site provides a wide-angled view of the arts and crafts available in the country, and is also invaluable in providing information to off-the-beaten track places in South Africa.

Fashion and Jewelry
South Africa's sophisticated clothing industry manufactures garments ranging from high fashion to well-made safari clothing and sportswear, all of which are reasonably priced.

There is no better place to buy the essential safari gear before you head off into the bush. In South Africa we don't manufacture safari clothing for the once-a-year traveller, we make it for farmers and game rangers wearing it everyday of the year.

And, of course, South Africa mines is the world's major producer of gold, diamonds and platinum, so it would be a shame not to investigate acquiring a piece designed especially for you.

At the Premier Diamond Mine at Cullinan near Pretoria you can sit back, sip sparkling wine and gaze out over the mine where the soon-to-be-yours stone was born, while a designer sketches ideas for you.

Flea markets and Factory Shops
Almost every town has its little craft markets, with the larger city flea markets selling unique and often handmade clothing, crafts, jewellery, ornaments, collectables and deli foods at cut-rate prices.

Bruma Market in Johannesburg is reputed to be the biggest in the southern hemisphere. It's enormous, and here you'll find all manner of clothes, trinkets - whatever. There's also the Panorama Flea Market in Mulbarton, and B&B's Hillfox and Rosebank Rooftop Markets, both among the largest and oldest markets in the country.