What to buy in South Africa?

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Jun 13th, 2003, 06:20 PM
  #1
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What to buy in South Africa?

What would be a good purchase to make in South Africa? Going to CapeTown in November.

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Jun 13th, 2003, 08:02 PM
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Your problem is going to be that you are thinking about A purchase. You will have a hard time limiting yourself to one purchase. Every trip, I come back with loaded suitcases.
My house is virtually furnished and accessorized with South African things.

Some of our favorites and goods that were purchased by friend that we took there are:
Zulu shields, African beaded tribal dolls, soapstone heads and carvings, wooden carvings, the ubiquitous wooden giraffe, all kinds of wooden wildlife, bright colored tablecloths, napkins, placemats, cushion covers, Zulu woven baskets, bowls, wire bowls, all kinds of ornaments made out of sodacans, leather photo albums, beadwork ,pewter or beaded serving pieces, artwork, pottery books posters ......

It is just too much to mention.

Every where you go you will see beautiful goods for sale.The talent and creativity of the artists is wonderful. Buy what you like.

There is a beautiful book called "Craft Art in South Africa" by Elbe Coetsee available at book stores in the Waterfront. That will give you a good indication of art in South Africa.

In the Waterfront for a start, there are many stores where you will find a dazzling array of all types of goods. Simonstown and Fish Hoek also have great art and craft galleries.

Visit craft markets like Greenmarket Square (everyday)and Greenpoint Stadium on a Sunday as well as a great craft fair in Hout Bay on a Sunday too.

Hout Bay has some great vendors at the docks as well as the Kraal Hut.

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Jun 14th, 2003, 05:45 AM
  #3
Sly
 
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If you don't purchase a good wood carving, you will regret it upon your return home. Take your time in choosing, as the quality range is vast, but you will truly enjoy it!
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Jun 14th, 2003, 07:01 AM
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Where is the best place to buy those wood carved animals? Cape Town or should I wait for Victoria Falls at the Craft market on Zambian side? Are they very expensive? We will be in Cape Town first and Victoria Falls last.We won't be going back to Cape Town,so I only have the one chance for that craved giraffe.
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Jun 14th, 2003, 07:57 AM
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I bought a large, beautiful unusual carved giraffe at Victoria Falls although on the Zimbabwe side. The main reason for waiting was so it wouldn't have to be carried around everywhere. They did a wonderful job of wrapping it in bubble wrap and paper and even made a handle to carry it. SA air stored it with it's fragile items - can't say the same for AA though. I'm assuming the markets might be pretty much the same Zambia side. I paid $50 which was probably too much but I hate really intense bargaining.
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Jun 14th, 2003, 02:28 PM
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Probably at Vic Falls. They do like to bargain there. I did not believe others who said take sneakers, hats, etc but they really did want them, plus dollars. They were ready to take the clothes we were wearing.They wanted sneakers, hats, sunglasses anything. One of our teenagers in our group had the really baggy jeans and everyone kept following him around as they wanted his pants!

BTW. watch your wallets there. Use a money belt.
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Jun 15th, 2003, 05:16 AM
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I, too, had the experience of being offered wood carvings for my shoes in Zimbabwe. (I was wearing Keds.) Some of the carvings were very beautiful.

But my absolute favorite purchase in South Africa - and I made many - was a beautiful piece of pottery from Ardmore Studio. It was is a pitcher covered in lovely painted African flowers and leaves and a zebra, with three-dimensional flowers on the pitcher and a zebra on the handle. Every piece is signed on the bottom with the name of the maker and the name of the painter, and all are made by Zulu women in the Drakensburg mountains of KwaZulu Natal. The pieces are a bit pricey, but worth every rand, and I truly love it, and wish I had bought more pieces for myself (I did buy a smaller piece which I gave to a friend). I can't wait to go back and have the opportunity to buy more! [-o<
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Jun 15th, 2003, 12:10 PM
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We made a number of trinket purchases while in Cape Town, nothing worth lots of money, mainly as gifts. And my preference is to "buy flat" as it easier to pack.

However, at the open air market in VFA, my sweetie bought lots of trinkets - small carved wood animals, soapstone, etc. - gift for business associates, and, of course, the obligatory giraffe he missed getting when we were in Kenya. With so much "stuff", he had no room in his suitcase so decided to ship back to the States, except, of course, the giraffe and carved and/or painted ostrich eggs.

At the covered mall next to the open air market, we found a UPS office, but the agent was on a break or at lunch. Now, I would have waited, but being impatient, sweetie decided to use the freight company located in the far rear of the mall. I refused to put my 2-cents in, as I know a grown man can make his own decisions, and besides they were his gifts!

But this company seemed quite efficient - they let us write out the inventory of everything being shipped, write our own shipping label, payment for air shipment was made, emphasizing that this had to received within 2-weeks as he was moving. Sure, no problem.

Once home, 2-wks came and went, no package - he moved. After settling in his new home, he faxed the freight company and got no reply. Thinking he had been "suckered" (ha! ha!), he next contacted the VFA tour operator in the middle of the night US time. They followed up and faxed back that the package had been shipped and should arrive shortly.

Arrive where, they didn't have his new address! Well, sure enough, almost 6-wks from when we left VFA, he arrives home and there at his front door is the package. With the original address label, nothing crossed out showing the new address, nor postage, or any indication of how it had been shipped - air, boat! Nayda. A Miracle?

Everything that he purchased was neatly packed inside, one item was broken which was easily repaired with some Crazy Glue.

He checked with his postman, the UPS and Fedex guys - none of them delivered the package. Maybe an Angel?

My response to this was - next time wait for the UPS guy to finish his lunch, and to anyone out there who decides to ship from VFA - I say again "wait for the UPS guy" - at least you know with whom you're dealing!







 
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Jun 15th, 2003, 05:23 PM
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Sandi,

Please explain what you mean by VFA?

As much as I respect the fact that you had a very bad experience I have to counter this by telling you that I have been touring in Cape Town for over 5 years and have on average sent back 2 parcels of all sizes, twice a week to many places in the world, inclusive of the USA from Cape Town. I have to report that I have not had one problem up until now. I have to also mention that not once in the 5 years have my visitors ever used UPS, as a matter of fact I did not even know that they had an office in Cape Town. Hence I really want to know more about who VFA are??

A couple of very important points.

The painted ostrich eggs that have been mentioned in some mails I am now led to believe present American visitors with problems at American customs. Why this happens beats me. I have now had two visitors take painted eggs back home (Connecticut and Florida) and had to leave them at customs control at the airport. Not sure why this is happening but please be aware of this or check out with your local customs what the rules are before you arrive in SA.

Those famous giraffes Be aware that if the giraffe is more than 2 metres in length one has huge problems in shipping them back home as the local authorities wont ship anything of that size other than in a container. I kid you not when I tell you that I had a visitor to SA who had a 2.3 Meter giraffe that he wanted to ship home. We simply could not do it. Dont laugh but we even joked about buying an extra seat on the plane in the name of Mr.G. Raffe so as to beat the problem. Eventually I took the giraffe (who was lovingly named George) and managed to have it shipped via a local container company in a group container back to the USA. What a job this was so please be aware of this potential problem when looking at those lovely giraffes.

Heres another tip when buying things in SA. I would say that every person who travels with me asks me the question "what should I buy for my friends back home that is authentically from Africa, practical, well priced and attractive?"

My answer to this question is a standard one and for you to understand it better by visualizing the article please click to:

http://www.straps.cjb.net

There you will see what I recommend. It ALWAYS works as a gift.

Hope all of the above helps.

Selwyn Davidowitz
[email protected]
Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa

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Jun 16th, 2003, 03:12 AM
  #10
sandi
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Message: Selwyn

VFA = Victoria Falls (airport code) as CPT or JNB, with so many posters having been there (and probably seeing the code on the airline tickets)I found it easier using the code.

We too were surprised to see the UPS outlet at the Falls, but they were "official". At least it was a company with whom I was familiar. Sure we could have taken the package to the post office nearby and arranged some sort of shipping home, but my assumption was that the mail service from Zimbabwe would not be as efficient as the service out of SA.

There were five (5) Ostrich Eggs (carved and/or painted) in his carryon which were declared upon arrival at JFK and no questions were asked, nor delays in any way. It might just be the "luck of the draw". The last time I was stopped by US Customs was when I was bringing in tins of "fois gras" (from France) which I had declared; I only had to show the tins to the agent and was passed thru, no problem - it's "home-made" that is the problem.

Re the large giraffes - I can attest to the shipping problem with those - as I saw lots of travelers returning home with these large bubble-wrapped carvings being carried in airports throughout Kenya, Kili, SA and other African countries. Fortunately the one we had was just the right size to fit (bubble-wrapped) into the side of a 28" suitecase.

But thanks for the good information you provided. Will check the website you listed for ideas for our next visit. Thanks.
 
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Jun 16th, 2003, 05:27 AM
  #11
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Selwyn
I tried to go to your web site.

Unable to do so. Is there a problem?
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Jun 17th, 2003, 09:04 AM
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Something beautiful and easy to pack is weavings. There are wall hangings made of that beautiful wool indigenous to Southern Africa (I can't think of its name right now, maybe someone can help me), and also place mats and table runners and table cloths. Also beautiful cotton tablecloths etc with African motifs.

Verdite is a beautiful green stone that occurs no place on earth except Southern Africa, and in addition to verdite jewelry, there are verdite carvings. I'm wearing verdite earrings right now, and I have a verdite hippo that's really gorgeous.
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Jun 18th, 2003, 06:17 AM
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Beaded jewelery, fabric, ostrich egg with an old map of Africa, books about African arts, a djembe, carved animals, shoes made of ostrich leather, CDs of African music...but I still regret not buying that gorgeous wooden sculpture...
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Jun 19th, 2003, 06:32 PM
  #14
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What's a djembe???
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Jun 22nd, 2003, 08:26 AM
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Maybe you spell it differently in English...it's a drum; the bottom is shaped a little bit like an hourglass and the skin top is held in place with leather or string cords that make patterns around the hourglass body, sometimes there is a bit of beadwork. Makes a great present for a musician or the musically inclined. I bought 2 from Njeza (sp?) at the BAT center in Durban and you can also get a drumming lesson (take off your rings!).
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Jun 23rd, 2003, 07:47 PM
  #16
JES
 
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Buy everything in Vic Falls. A LOT cheaper than South Africa. They love to trade sunglasses for good items. Carved giraffes, handmade drums, animals carved and polished out of tree trunks, rock sculptures...there's a lot of great things to buy. They will ship right there too. But bring cash and you will pay half the amount you would if you pay with credit card or retrieving money from a bank machine. At least that was the case 2 yrs ago and we wish someone would have told us.
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