Shopping in SA 101

Reply

Sep 26th, 2005, 07:22 PM
  #1
SSN
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 77
Shopping in SA 101

Hello,
We are planning to go to South Africa for about a week in November and wondering where are some of the best places to shop. We are mainly going to Cape Town & Johannsburg. Is bargaining acceptable everywhere? Where do you start? Would love to hear some of your bargaining stories.

I've got a long list to shop for and mainly looking for ostrich and reptile leather goods, pottery, carved animals and goods, semi-precious stones. Nothing expensive or big items (like 6-foot giraffe). Any other souvenirs not to be missed? My husband thinks there is nothing to buy in South Africa and with your help, I'll show him....thanks in advance.
SSN is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 27th, 2005, 04:17 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,087
bargaining is acceptable at the informal markets, however regular stores price their items and do not haggle with you, you might get a cash discount if you ask for it.

Semi precious stones: scratch patch in the water front. CT. Gold and diamonds are abundant at many jewelery stores everywhere!!

Curios, you can pick these up in CTN & JNB, shop the informal markets. Carved goods generally come from Zambia, Malawi and Zim, the masks are from further North and west in Africa. You could explore the flea markets around CTN, green market square, hout bay and if you get to hermanus, there too. Mnat arts and crafts sold by the artists..

Ostrich and leather goods, in JNB try the leather shops in the malls, expensive though.
mkhonzo is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 27th, 2005, 08:22 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,501
Hello,

There are wonderful Shangaan tapestries by Kaross Workers available throughout South Africa, but the best selection and prices are found in the Kaross shop in Parkhurst, Johannesburg. Take a look on www.kaross.co.za

Cheers,
Julian
jasher is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 27th, 2005, 08:24 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,501
Oh, and for pottery take a look at www.thefenix.co.za -- they have a studio shop in Somerset West (handy on the way to the Winelands) which has excellent prices on their raku pottery and sculptures.

Cheers,
Julian
jasher is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 27th, 2005, 03:19 PM
  #5
SSN
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 77
Thanks to both for your tips and information. I will certainly try to get to those places and do some serious shopping.

Mkhonzo:
Is it true that there are great bargains at the Johannsburg airport duty-free shops? Heard that there are gift shops in the ostrich farms, do you know what the pricing is like there?

Julian:
I love Kaross and Fenix stuffs! Really appreciate the websites too. Can you give me an idea what the pricing is like? Do you pay in US dollars or in rand?

Thanks again!
SSN is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 27th, 2005, 04:20 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,087
I don't believe that JNB duty free is neccessarily a bargain. Yes good variety, but prices "on the street" are better.

Yes Ostrich leather and other by-products can be easily bought from the markets in Oudtshoorn, didn't realise you were heading that way.
mkhonzo is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 28th, 2005, 10:19 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,501
Hello,

The Kaross tapestries vary in cost by size -- if you email them they will send you a price list. They make everything from placemats to duvet covers, including pillows, handbags, and wall hangings of various sizes. If you see something you really like but it isn't quite the right colour or size, they do custom work as well, and it costs the same as the regular non-custom pieces. However, it can take a while to get a custom piece made (things move on African time) and you would then have to get it shipped home. Prices are in Rand -- you can pay by credit card if you want.

One of the best bargains is the 'audition pieces' made by Shangaan women who want to join the Kaross cooperative. These small pieces are often as beautiful as the larger ones, and cost only R60-90.

They often have discounts on particular ranges as well -- I bought a set of placemats as a gift for R100 each, an incredible bargain considering the quality of the worksmanship. There are usually some seasonal patterns which you can buy at a discount if the season is ending or has passed. A great African Christmas pillow case cost me R100.

You can also email The Fenix studio for a price list. As well as a full selection of first-quality pieces, the studio has 'seconds' and discontinued pieces which are a great bargain -- I liked some of the 'seconds' better than the first quality pieces because the colours were a bit more unusual, and the prices were unbeatable -- a wonderful wolf sculpture that now sits in my office was R10, and a trio of giraffes whose colour was apparently not quite up to spec were R15 each. The only problem with visiting this place is that everything is such a bargain that you may need to ship some stuff home!

You can certainly find Kaross and Fenix stuff in places like the V&A waterfront, but with a 25-50% (or sometimes even higher) mark-up -- and the selection isn't nearly as good.

Cheers,
Julian
jasher is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 28th, 2005, 10:41 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,501
Hello,

RE: Bargaining. Start at about 1/3 of the offered price, and go up as the merchant comes down. If you go to one of the big markets (like the Sunday market at Rosebank in Joburg -- a great market) shop around a bit before getting down to business so you have an idea of how things are priced.

Bargaining is fun, but please remember to keep things in perspective -- in the end, a few dollars here or there is much more to the craftsman or woman than it is to us. Even if you paid the first price asked, you'd still be getting a bargain by US or European standards -- paying less is the icing on the cake.

Cheers,
Julian
jasher is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 28th, 2005, 12:32 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,097
The formula that I use for bargaining is quite simple.

Whatever the opening price is the real price turns out to be about 65% of the opening bid.

Thus bid 50% of the opening price and move towards the 65% mark which is where you will probably end.

When bargaining do take into account Jasher's wise words of how much the difference makes to you relative to what difference it makes to the seller. Whatever you do DO NOT make a sport or a fun event out of bargaining.

Semi-Precious stones.
---------------------
When in Cape Town the Scratchpatch in the Waterfront isnt a patch (excuse the pun) on The Scratchpatch in Simonstown. Your selection of semi precious stones will be three times as much in Simonstown. Both are the same company with one place just having much more to sell than the other. If you have an interest in fossils the amount of fossils to buy at The Scratchpatch in Simonstown is mind boggling. You have to ask the assistants to take you to the back of the shop to see these fossils.

As far as diamond buying in Cape Town or South Africa is concerned PLEASE think twice before you become involved in this. Let me explain why. It is the biggest farce to think that diamonds are cheaper in SA because they are mined in this country. De Beers Consolidated are an organisation who control the diamond prices THROUGHOUT the world INCLUSIVE of SA. With that said the world market price for diamonds is a FIXED DOLLAR VALUE price. Thus what you will pay for a diamond in Chicago is the same price that you will pay in Cape Town. The only area that you will gain in terms of diamond buying is the cost of doing the setting for a piece of jewellery as you will be paying in Rand terms for this part of the deal. The problem is that this sector only represents a small percentage of the total cost. Furthermore if you buy a diamond and have to have it set in a piece of jewellery, even though the jewellers are pretty efficient in Cape Town, it does become a piece of work that is produced at a hectic pace and I ask the question as to why do this when you can do it for virtually the same price that you will pay in Chicago.

Final word: No matter where you shop ostrich skin type purchases are going to devilishly expensive.

Just my twopence worth.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa
Selwyn_Davidowitz is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 28th, 2005, 12:40 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,501
OOPS! A serious typo in my post -- it should say start at 1/2 the price offered, as Selwyn advises. If you started at 1/3, you'd be there all day.

Make sure that you price the ostrich skin stuff at home before you leave. At least in Cape Town and Joburg, the prices I saw were not appreciably less expensive than those in London. Things may be better in Oudtshoorn.

Cheers,
Julian
jasher is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 30th, 2005, 07:00 PM
  #11
SSN
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 77
Thank you, everyone for the wealth of information. Looks like I have to scratch a few items off my list. We live in Canada so our dollars don't worth as much as British pounds, so I won't be buying any diamond (that's ok) or ostrich or reptile leather products (very disappointing) for sure.

We are still not sure what our itinery is like, hoping we can take a local tour to some of the places mentioned here. Is it easy and safe to get around in Parkhurst of Johannsburg on your own? Anything we should be aware of?

I've sent an e-mail to Kaross and Fenix for a price list. Hopefully they will respond soon. I've heard that sometimes it's hard to send e-mail in S.A. The more I look at their websites, the more items I want to buy. Hope I'll be able to find some bargains like Julian did.

Haven't tried any bargaining so it would be an experience. Now at least I know how to go about it. As long as it's reasonable price, I'm happy.

I've heard that there are baboons in the parking lot of the Penguin Beach in Simonstown, are the baboons dangerous? I've got bad experience with baboons and just seeing them gives me shudders.

Thanks again. Please keep the information coming, I've got to find items to replace the diamonds and the ostrich leather goods. Cheers!
SSN is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 30th, 2005, 11:18 PM
  #12
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,097
SSN,

The so called baboon problem is not at the penguin colony, it is at Cape Point.
Furthermore the problem only becomes as such if you feed the baboons or carry food with you while walking in the parking lot as they will harass you to take the food away from you. This is why you should NEVER carry documents such as a passport in your carry bag or rucksack or whatever you have as a bag on you in that the baboons will, if they have any idea that there is food in the bag, attempt to take it from you and that will become a a case of goodbye passport.

With all of the above said the baboons are actually NOT a problem; it is the human beings who visit Cape Point who taunt them with food who are the real problem. I have been to Cape Point on more than 500 occasions in my life and have never ever had a problem with the baboons. I have spent time standing about 1 foot away from baboons at Cape Point on more aoccasions that I can think of and have never ever had a problem. The reason for this is I simply I obey "the no food rule". If you do likewise you will not have any problems; of this I can assure you.

Enjoy Cape Town when you visit us.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa

Selwyn_Davidowitz is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 1st, 2005, 09:02 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
For jewelery in Southern Africa, it would be worth it to fly to Lusaka for a night, even at about $375 per person, and spending $150 at the Lusaka Inter-Continental Hotel, in order to buy your jewelery. I happened to get stuck in Lusaka for a night and at the advice of some of the managers at the Zambian lodges I visited, I went to their recommended jeweler. I easily saved over $3,000 on this Emerald & Diamond ring for my wife:

http://www.kodakgallery.com/PhotoVie...d=287895118205

I, too, was disappointed at the prices of jewelery in South Africa, but Zambia is another story. This jeweler is very well-esteemed and operates a store out of the prestigious Inter-Continental Hotel and has their factory just about a kilometer away from the hotel. It is best to do business at the factory (which also houses their offices) as you are then able to get better deals.

www.gemstonesafrica.com

Just one more reason to visit Zambia!
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 1st, 2005, 09:14 AM
  #14
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
More on Zambian Emeralds:

http://www.professionaljeweler.com/a...8/0498gn4.html



Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 1st, 2005, 10:59 AM
  #15
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,501
Hello,

I stayed at a great little guesthouse called The Bridge House in Parkhurst. Parkhurst is a very safe little suburb, and is right next door to Greenside with many wonderful restaurants. I drove myself around the northern suburbs in Joburg and never felt that it was unsafe -- though like any city you need to take the usual urban precautions (no money or valuables on view when you leave your car, etc).

I'm sure Kaross and Fenix will get back to you -- do allow for a bit of a time lag as you're right about some email services in SA. The price lists won't show prices for seconds/clearance items, but will show prices for regular items.

Cheers,
Julian
jasher is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 3rd, 2005, 04:47 PM
  #16
SSN
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 77
Julian, I've got an e-mail from the Fenix! Quicker than I thought. They asked where I'm at and want to refer me to a distributor. Told them that I'm in Canada and will be visiting South Africa. It would be great if they do have a distributor in Canada, I can buy more!

Thanks for the clarification, Selwyn. I will remember not to have any food with me while there. I usually have a backpack for my stuff, guess I'll have to leave that behind.

Thanks, Rocco for the jewelry information. Will keep it in mind while we are planning our itinerary.



SSN is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:28 PM.