With boutiques, markets, malls and more, shopping in South Africa is an experience in itself and something that will certainly send you home with some trinkets you will value for life. Some of the most popular purchases in South Africa are traditional bushman crafts, which include handmade drums, wooden masks and kalimbas. Be sure to ask before you buy to make sure you are buying something local rather than a product of West African origin.
Bright colours are the norm when it comes to clothing in South Africa so if you’re looking for a fashion statement to take home you’re in the right place. Bold, bright jewellery can be found everywhere, as can beautiful fabrics, snazzy headscarves and handmade silks.
Of course, some of the finest products to come out of South Africa are in liquid form. It would be rude to return home without a bottle or three of wine from one of the country’s world famous vineyards. A bottle of Amarula cream also makes an excellent and delicious gift. If you’re after something a bit softer, another authentic South African drink is rooibos tea, the leaves of which can be bought everywhere and are much easier to transport than glass bottles of alcohol.
Is bargaining acceptable in South Africa?
Haggling in South Africa is rare when it comes to shops, hotels and restaurants but in markets it is considered fair game. Vendors working in markets are streetwise and know exactly how much their products are worth, making it unlikely that they will ever part with one without making at least a bit of a profit. This means you are free to haggle away without worrying about under-paying, however, it is bad form to grind them right down to the bone and you will win a lot more smiles by handing over a little extra rather than bargaining for hours on end.
When it comes to roadside sellers in rural areas that are selling their own handmade crafts, it is advisable to go easy on the haggling as there is a chance that these sellers won’t know the market value of their craft and might under-charge. Additionally, it is likely that the sale of these products is their only income and will go directly to feeding their family.