As an American expat it’s difficult for me to shop in certain places, simply because I know how cheap quality items can be in the US when you catch a good sale. I’m talking after Christmas sales, premium outlets, and of course DSW and Target markdowns. Why would I shop at say Zara in Singapore when no such sales exist? So I always try to do big shopping when back home in the US and simply look for unique items when traveling. South Africa was perfect for this. The brightly colored fabric and jewelry were eye catchers and I couldn’t help but at least look every time.
And that’s exactly what I did. Every time I saw something that caught my eye I would stop and see what they had, and also check out the prices. But it wasn’t until I got to Cape Town that I was ready to buy. But because I wasn’t staying there long, I had to be quick to pack everything in, site seeing included. Since I had researched, I knew what I wanted, I knew how much it would cost and Green Market Square was the perfect place to buy it. After negotiating at a few places I found a woman who just couldn’t be shook. She was a fast talker, she knew I was going to buy something and she was determined to have it be at her stall. Sold. She had some beautiful items, but I decided to buy there because I liked her hustle and because she was willing to have the items I wanted altered to fit me perfectly. Within 30 minutes both my dress and skirt were expertly altered, paid for and I was ready to go. I got a great deal, but was also happy because of the experience. I got to sit and talk with her while having the clothes fixed. When I was done, I asked her how much I should pay for jewelry and she was happy to tell me the going rate for some pieces and bottom prices. So that’s exactly what I did. I bought a few pieces of jewelry, also very colorful and hand-made.
I thought I was done shopping, but then I happened to come across the Old Biscuit Mill. On Saturdays they have an open air market that was perfect. It had some unique, more upscale pieces and also some delicious food. It was a great way to spend a couple of hours and I walked away with some great souvenirs. My favorites were gold and silver pendants in the shape of the African continent. Some even had a heart in the place where South Africa should be. The food was some of the best food I ate while in South Africa, and it was cheap! I had some pastries, gourmet fried mac and cheese and also enjoyed a smoothie. I could have stayed and ate all day with the convenient tasting portions at so many of the booths.
The beauty of this shopping excursion was how quickly I did it- 4 hours tops, including driving. If visiting Cape Town and you are in a time crunch, I highly recommend both markets. I saw a few others while driving, but wasn’t able to really stop and check them all out. I’ll have to come back someday, as I’m sure there is a lot more to see and shop, but in the mean time I have some beautiful pieces to remind me of my trip to South Africa and even some for giveaways. Subscribe here to enter to win some of the goodies from the markets.