13 Best Places to Shop in Cape Town, South Africa

Clarke's Bookshop

Cape Town Central Fodor's choice

Open since 1957, Clarke's specializes in African literature and non-fiction works, with a specific focus on Southern Africa. There are new and second books to browse including contemporary current affairs and historical rare finds. 

Africa Nova

Cape Town Central

If you aren't crazy about traditional African artifacts à la Greenmarket Square, you might want to visit this store, which stocks contemporary and elegant African art and jewelry.

72 Waterkant St., Cape Town, Western Cape, 8001, South Africa
shopping Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun.

African Image

Cape Town Central

Look here for contemporary and funky African art and township crafts, colorful cloth from Nigeria and Ghana, plus West African masks, Malian blankets, and beaded designs from southern African tribes. Local and international collectors, as well as local institutions such as the South African National Gallery and the Standard Bank Collection of African Art, buy goods here. It's a top-notch place offering fair-trade pricing. They also have a branch at the Watershed Market in the V&A Waterfront.

Burg St. at Church St., Cape Town, Western Cape, 8000, South Africa
shopping Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun.

Recommended Fodor's Video

African Music Store

Cape Town Central

The people who work here are passionate about African music and eager to pass on their love to anybody who lends them half an ear. You could easily spend a couple of hours listening to any and everything in the store. With a listening booth to sample any CD in the shop, you're bound to find something here that captures the heart of the country for you.

Atlas Trading Company


Located in Cape Town's Bo-Kaap neighborhood, Atlas Trading is famed for its array of spices, as well as rice and hard-to-find international products. Established in 1946, the family-run business ships anywhere in the world, and can assist guests with items to bring home. 

Exclusive Books Waterfront

The biggest bookstore chain in the country, this well-stocked branch carries a wide selection of local and international periodicals and books, all the best sellers making literary waves around the world, an extensive magazine selection, and also has a nice coffee shop. You'll find branches at all the big malls and the airports.

Greenmarket Square

Cape Town Central

Visit this historic square to find a plethora of African jewelry, art, crafts, and fabrics, as well as good buys on clothing (especially T-shirts), and locally made leather shoes and sandals. It's one of the best places in town to purchase souvenirs and gifts, but it's lively and fun whether or not you buy anything. More than half the stalls are owned by people from other parts of Africa, and if you stop to chat, you'll find political and economic refugees from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo trying to eke out a living. Bargain, but do so with a conscience.

Longmarket, Burg, and Shortmarket Sts., Cape Town, Western Cape, 8000, South Africa
shopping Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun.

Maker's Landing

A new market on the cruise terminal, Maker's hosts numerous vendors showcasing some of the most delicious food businesses in Cape Town. With its incubator program, Maker's Landing gives neighborhood favorites a place to launch their business successfully and aims to promote pride in African foods. Here you'll find intriguing bites, drinks, and views of docks.

Pan-African Market

Cape Town Central

You'll see some glorious cultural contradictions here. The lobby boasts lovely if dusty Victorian tiling, while the first and second floors are a beehive of traders in new and old folk art, with representatives from most locales in West, sub-Saharan, and southern Africa. Order a custom-tailored garment, choose a mask from among the many thousands, and don't be afraid to bargain.

The Book Lounge

Cape Town Central

Cape Town's best independent bookstore has a fantastic selection of titles, with many classics and contemporary must-haves on all things African. It also frequently hosts readings and book launches and has a nice café downstairs where you can enjoy a cappuccino while browsing.

The Long Street Antique Arcade

Cape Town Central

At this row of antique stores in the heart of Long Street, you'll find all sorts of collectibles, artifacts, furniture, and jewelry. It's a treasure trove with friendly owners who are knowledgeable and always up for a chat. 

127 Long St., Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
shopping Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun.

The V&A Waterfront Watershed

V&A Waterfront

This market brings together the best of local arts and crafts with 150 vendors selling more than 365 brands of jewelry, fashion, and accessories, pottery and home decor, and artwork, all of which are made in South Africa and the majority of which is of extremely high quality. The market is open every day until 6 pm. 

Vaughan Johnson Wine & Cigar Shop

Victoria and Alfred Waterfront

This wine shop has a terrific selection and staff members who know their stuff. It has specially designed boxes to take a few cases home with you. And who could blame you?