Known as one of the world’s best cities, Cape Town is a fun and exciting place to visit. There are a plethora of activities to enjoy from shark cave diving to peaceful sunset cruises. A past time that is often overlooked is visiting craft markets and the like. Bargains galore await the avid shopper and there are always huge arrays of food stalls where the aromas will tempt you to buy treat after treat. It is a great place to meet and mingle with locals who will be more than happy to show you the ropes of bargain hunting.
Here are our Top 5 markets:
What? The Neighbourgoods Market
Where? The Old Biscuit Mill (373 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town)
When? 9AM-2PM (Saturdays only)
This market has become more and more popular over the past few years. They started with a handful of stalls and vendors, the market now showcases over 100 speciality traders. It was started off by two entrepreneurs in 2006 who had no idea how immensely popular it would become. It was simply a sky-lit brick warehouse and courtyard in the industrial area of Woodstock.
Expect fine wines produced from local vineyards, speciality treats like the extremely popular cup cakes that adorn the tables, local chefs cooking up a storm for hearty meals and micro initiatives who are showing off their goods.
One of the reasons for the great success of the market are the organic foods and locally produced foods. There is nothing like a homemade warm ciabatta roll with homemade basil pesto and freshly cooked spicy beef. Sip on locally produced beers or freshly squeezed orange juice while you sit back, relax and people watch.
What? City Bowl Market
Where? 14 Hope Street, Gardens, Cape Town
When? Every Thursday 4.30PM-8.30PM
Head off to the metropolitan city of Cape Town where this popular meeting place for food enthusiasts resides. Add to that pumping live music and a kiddies entertainment area. With craft foods on tap and food from all over the globe, this is a lively and colourful experience in Cape Town. You can expect top quality food and friendly service from the locals, all to the backdrop of Table Mountain.
What? Greenmarket Square
Where? The Square lies between Longmarket and Shortmarket Streets
When? 9AM-4PM (Monday to Saturday)
This very lively market is situated in the centre of the business district in the city bowl. The square has many uses over the past few decades, starting off as a slave market, then a fruit and vegetable market, a simple parking lot and now to a vibey food and clothing market.
As you wind your way from the outskirts into the maze of vendors you will discover handmade clothing, jewellery, African curios, footwear, hand-painted fabrics and other trinkets from all over Africa. If you are a tourist this market is a definitive must-see. Add to that buskers, mime artists, jugglers, magicians and you have the beginnings of a great day that is bound to end well.
Conveniently located in the tourism-mecca of the V&A Waterfront, this market offers unusual, mouthwatering delicacies made by local proud South Africans. It has flourished into quite an up-market buzzing foodie gem in Cape Town.
The venue is indoors making it a great social meeting place no matter what the weather. You can also sit outside depending on the weather (and Cape Town’s gusting south-easter) and have a stunning view of the waterfront on one of the outside benches.
The business people are spoiled for choice with vendors like ‘Africa’s Best Food’ offering up dishes like samp and beans, kale and cabbage stew and other heart-warming dishes. There is also ‘Como Foods’ which brings in Argentinian-flavoured foods such as smoky ham, mild, but oh-so-cheesy mozzarella and spicy beef. The great advantage to this market is that you can walk off your breakfast, lunch or dinner by taking a stroll and window shop in the Waterfront itself.
What? The Bay Harbour Market
Where? 31 Harbour Road, Hout Bay (Next to ‘Fish on the Rocks’)
When? Fridays 5PM-9PM, Saturdays: 9:30AM to 4PM, Sundays: 9:30AM to 4PM
This is a trendy hotspot that is extremely popular and busy over the weekends. Here you will find unbelievable art, craft in many forms like photography, fashion, live music and décor. It takes on the flavour of Cape Town allowing you to meet, eat and drink with the traders and the locals.
Over 100 stalls are erected purely for your entertainment and you will be able to feast on South African favourites like koeksisters and crayfish, not to mention the indomitable bunny chow which can be shared with about 6 to 8 people. To top this all off, the location is ideal as it is situated in the old authentic part of the Hout Bay Harbour. There are external tented alleys and courtyards which create a wonderful ambiance. The local music scene here is always of top quality making your walk through the stalls even more enjoyable and relaxing. Or you can just sit next to one of the fireplaces, and chat to your family or friends over a hearty meal.