Cape Town Facts


Most shops in the cities and suburbs are open between 08h00 and 17h00 to 17h30.

  • V&A Waterfront and Canal Walk open at 09h00 and close at 21h00 or later, even on Sundays and most public holidays.
  • Informal traders and flea markets generally unpack before 09h00 and start packing up after 16h00, depending on foot traffic and weather conditions.
  • Muslim-owned businesses close at noon on Fridays and re-open at 14h00.
  • Cinemas operate seven days per week, with shows starting at around 09h30, and last shows at around 22h00.

Payment Options
Cash, credit card (including Visa, Master Card, Diner's Club and American Express), and most debit cards (check with your bank to be sure your debit card will be accepted overseas) are accepted at most stores. Make sure you have South African Rands or a credit card handy to make payment as very few stores accept traveller's cheques or foreign currency as payment. Most shops in smaller villages and towns accept cash only.

Duty Free Shopping
All stores must charge the Value Added Tax (VAT) of 14%, but foreign visitors can claim back VAT on purchases over R250 (see VAT Refund). For shopping addicts, however, the International Departures lounge at the Cape Town International Airport provides the opportunity to buy products from some of South Africa's leading retailers - Duty-Free. So be sure to have a good look around for fine goods at bargain prices before leaving Cape Town!

Shopping Malls
With its stunning ocean-side setting, Victoria Wharf at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, home to designer label stores and craft markets, offers visitors the best of everything Cape Town and the Western Cape have to offer. The Waterfront has been a favourite destination of Capetonians and visitors since its 1992 re-awakening.

Canal Walk, just outside the Cape Town city centre, is one of the biggest shopping malls in the Southern Hemisphere, offering shoppers a choice between hundreds of stores offering everything from designer imports to hand-crafted South African curios. With malls dotted throughout the Western Cape's cities and towns - from Stellenbosch to Knysna and Plettenberg Bay - anyone wanting to treat that special someone back home to a gift will be spoilt for choice. The Local Tourism Office in every town will assist you in finding the shopping mall to suite your needs.

The Western Cape has a variety of bookstores. You may find the chain stores like CNA, Exclusive Books and Paperbacks, but also be on the look-out for the privately owned bookstores. You will be amazed at the variety and quality of the books to be found. Staff are generally well-read and willing to assist. Long Street in Cape Town is renowned for the diversity of the bookstores. You will even find a store dealing specifically in comic books.

Antiques and Art
South Africa, and the Western Cape in particular, has had an interesting history. Stepping into any one of the hundreds of antique stores will illustrate this. You may find a Khoi bow and arrow standing next to an item of Victorian era furniture. The possibilities are endless. To find these treasures you will need to be vigilant. Many towns have an antique store. When you arrive in a town, take a walk down some of the side streets. This is normally where the antique stores prefer to hide. You will be met by knowledgeable staff and good value for money prices.

The art scene has shown tremendous growth over the last ten years. The quality and variety is exciting and inventive. In the Cape, people have found art to be a constructive way to express themselves. The result is a mixture of textures and a kaleidoscope of colour. You will find art being sold at flea and craft markets, art galleries and at antique stores. African art is vibrant, colourful, and always has a story to tell.

Music is one of the elements that makes Cape Town and the Western Cape such a vibrant place. The people of the Cape enjoy an eclectic mix. Jazz, rock, classical, R&B, kwaito and traditional African beats are all part of the Cape music spectrum. We also have a variety of music stores throughout the Cape province. The bigger chain stores (Musica, CD Select and Look & Listen) are well represented in most towns. These stores carry a wide variety of music for most tastes, including classical music. Music can also be bought at many supermarket chain stores. They carry more main stream music. Smaller specialist stores like Syndicate Records, Outlaw Records and Spin are available in Cape Town.

Jewellery has become a popular fashion attraction to Cape Town and the Western Cape. The designs are creative, if not risqué. The quality is of the highest standard, and the prices - good value for money. You may find many designs from the Cape in some of the leading stores in Europe and America. Jewellery stores are found in most towns throughout the Cape province. Smaller towns may only have jewellery stores who sell finished items. The major cities will have a wide variety of stores to choose from. Designers are at hand to help you create that perfect piece. Many stores have studios attached to the premises and visitors are often invited to experience the creative process firsthand.

Few wine regions in the world that compares with the wines of the Western Cape. Cape wines are constantly winning international awards. Many visitors to the Cape consider a visit to the wine producing districts a must. Each wine district has at least one wine route. Most of the wine farms offer cellar tours and you may buy the local wines direct from the producers. Wines are also available at specialist wine stores at the V&A Waterfront. There are three stores - Vaughn Johnson's, Caroline's Fine Wines and World of Wines. You can expect a wide variety of wines and expert advice. Staff may also assist you in packaging and shipping your wine to any destination in the world.

Craft Markets and Flea Markets
Cape Town and the Western Cape have an abundance of craft markets. Most cities and towns have their own craft market. You can experience the ambience of Greenmarket Square or the bustle of the Sedgefield Saturday market. There are creative township crafts in Khayelitsha and home-made delights in Ceres.

Craft has become a constructive way of expression and a valuable source of income. A wide variety of crafts are generally on offer. These include pottery, beadwork, basket weaving, woodwork, wireworks and township craft. Township artists use locally available products, such cans, bottle tops and papier mache to produce a number of innovative products. The products are sold at good value for money prices. Depending which craft market in the Cape province you choose to visit, you may also find a collection of locally produced and home-made products. These include olives and olive products in the Riebeek Valley, cheese in Bonnievale, and berries and berry products in the Stellenbosch area.

Most craft markets set up at about 08h00 and start packing up at about 16h00 on weekdays and Saturdays. On Sundays they may pack up at about 14h00. You will have to be early to get the bargains. The Local Tourism Office in every town will have a full list of all the craft markets in that area.

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