Friday, March 5, 2010

Markets of Cape Town-an enjoyable shopping alternative

One of the activities that you should explore during your holiday is the wide variety of craft, produce and flea markets that you will find all over the Peninsula. Capetonians love to be out of doors and enjoy their city over the weekend. A favourite activity is to visit the many markets that will be found offering a wide selection of choice not usually find in regular stores. Wherever you will be staying during your holiday in Cape Town, you will find that there is a market near you.
City Centre : in the heart of Cape Town's CBD is the famous market at Green Market Square. This is one of the city's oldest markets, and is set in a picturesque stone cobbled square surrounded by many beautiful examples of the architecture of days gone by- including a historic Cape Dutch townhouse which is now a museum. The history of this market dates back to the days of sailing ships when the masters would stock up on fresh produce before continuing the long sea voyages. Although it was for many years a true flea market, today it offers primarily African curios, handmade clothing and other crafts. You will find a number of restaurants and cafes surrounding the square if you need refreshment after your day of shopping. The location of the market which is open Monday to Saturday, is in the square between Burg Street, Long market and Short Market streets.

Church St. Antique Market : If it is antiques and collectables that you seek, you will find an open air antique market open every day(except Sunday) in Church Street; just a block away from Green Market Square, as well as a number of antique shops and galleries, all situated amongst pleasant pavement cafes. You can spend a happy hour or two browsing the many interesting little bits and pieces, but perhaps also enjoy the characters who own the stalls as much as you do the browsing.

Greenpoint Stadium Flea market: you will find Cape Town’s biggest flea market- in the shadow of the new stadium built for the soccer World Cup 2010, at Greenpoint . It opens on Sundays and public holidays and is always busy. You will not only enjoy browsing here , but will be able to get a great cross-section of Cape Town's people at play. Invariably you will find buskers, musicians and others seeking to use the visitor in return for some small change. In past years it was a great place to look for collectables and bric-a-brac, but now offers mostly African curios, textiles and various interesting and amusing handicrafts. There are still, however, many stores that offer domestic and home items, second hand books, CD’s, tools and the like.

Milnerton Flea Market : About 10 minutes drive out of the city towards the West coast highway and situated in an industrial area along the shore you will find Cape Town’s only remaining true flea market. This is a must for those looking for antiques and collectables. Some of the stalls belong to the dealers who bring their smaller items for this weekend market (it is open Saturday and Sunday). There are, however, many of the stallholders who use this opportunity as well as the other markets to generate a living. You are also likely to find here all kinds of second-hand stuff for the home and kitchen, parts for old cars, second-hand DVDs and CDs, and other handicrafts. The food stalls here offer an excellent variety of food including local Cape Malay specialities, the so-called “boerekos” of the Afrikaner people, but you as likely to find German sausages and even Greek lamb on offer and all at very affordable prices.

Hout Bay Sunday Craft market: This is definitely worth a morning, or a day, outing; located in a field at the foot of the mountain in one of the most beautiful and picturesque villages of Cape Town Peninsula. This is a relatively small market , but attracts potters, painters and other artists who exhibit their craft. The stalls offer excellent quality and interesting handicrafts including home bakes and preserves as well as a variety of African curious, pottery and wire crafts. There are always a few stores that offer delicious snacks and light meals to keep you nourished, or to take home . Although it is a relatively small market you will find many other attractions in Hout bay, including a beautiful clean beach and nearby Fisherman's wharf with many restaurants and a sit down fish and chip shop in the working harbour.

Kirstenbosch craft market : Diagonally opposite the entrance to the famous gardens on the corner of Kirstenbosch drive and Rhodes avenue, you will find more than 150 stalls of arts and handicrafts , home bakes, food and delicacies, and a number of attractions for children. Muizenberg Flea Market is held at Sunrise beach, Muizenberg everyday between 08:00am and 16:00, although it is usually only fully stocked and manned on weekends when it is always busy and presents a vibrant and exciting view of some of Cape Town's peoples at leisure . Here you will find everything, including a kitchen sink, although it is not a market for antiques and collectables. Many local people use it as a cheaper alternative to shop for things for the home including job lots of cleaning material and even canned food. There are a number of food stalls but, unlike the previous markets that I have mentioned I would not recommend eating at this market.
If you are stricken by hunger pangs, take a five minute drive into the historic town where you will find a number and variety of restaurants overlooking the surfers at play on the beach.

Whilst other markets seem to come and go these are institutions that have been around for a long time- their permanence ensured by their ongoing popularity. Not only will you find affordable things to capture your attention at the markets, but if you are earnestly looking for
affordable self catering accommodation conveniently situated to the markets; you will find it at
Horizon Holiday Cottages in the restful and romantic Noordhoek valley.


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