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World Travel Guide > Guides > Africa > South Africa > Cape Town

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Shopping in Cape Town

Shopping in Cape Town is nothing short of eclectic from designer fashions and high-end art to local craft markets and independent stores.

Key areas

The best shops lie in different pockets of Cape Town. Long Street sells surfer gear, funky fashion, old books, music, African crafts and antiques while nearby Church Street does a fine trade in antiques, vintage clothes and books. Interesting shops abound along Kloof Street and in De Waterkant and Green Point while the Old Biscuit Mill complex in Woodstock is big on independent stores. Other shopping spots include St George’s Mall by Greenmarket Square, Waterfront, Bree Street and Heritage Square.

Markets

Historic Greenmarket Square in the city centre has an African arts and crafts market while nearby, the Pan African Market (76 Long Street), offers wall-to-wall curios in a labyrinth of leathersmiths, hair-braiders and tailors. The Waterfront Craft Market is hot on curios, fashion and art, and there's more at the nearby Red Shed Craft Workshop. Join Cape Town foodies at City Bowl Market (Hope Street) on Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings or enjoy the sounds of a township guitarist as you browse Hout Bay's weekend market (Harbour Road). Don't miss Adderley Street's flower market.

Shopping centres

It's hard to beat the V&A Waterfront for location although shops can be pricey. Cape Quarter in the De Waterkant neighbourhood is a small mall with mainly independent stores while Canal Walk at Century City has over 400 stores including brand-name boutiques.

Opening hours

Standard hours are Monday to Saturday 0900-1800, although many open until late in the evenings and on Sundays until mid-afternoon.

Souvenirs

It's easy to come home with carvings and jewellery that's not from South Africa, let alone local to the Cape. Shop smart though and you'll find African art, township crafts, local-design clothes and Afro-European-inspired jewellery.

Tax information

VAT stands at 14%, although this is largely ignored in the markets. Visitors can reclaim it at the airport for purchases over R250, if receipts are retained. Ask for a tax invoice at the time of purchase (Tax Refunds for Tourists; www.taxrefunds.co.za).

Featured Hotels

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Hippo Boutique Hotel

Just off Kloof Street, close to Cape Town’s CBD and within easy reach of many bars and restaurants, the Hippo Boutique Hotel has sleek, modern rooms with wooden floors and whitewashed ceilings. Facilities include kitchenettes, air-con and Wi-Fi, and there’s also a small rooftop pool. Although there’s a bar downstairs, double glazing keeps the noise out.

Cape Royale Luxury Hotel & Spa

This all-suite hotel is as big on space as it is on design and luxury. The Sky Bar with a rooftop pool deck is the perfect spot to enjoy ocean views before dinner; stay in and try one of their restaurants (which offer Italian Indian and Asian among others) or walk ten minutes to the V&A Waterfront. A complimentary shuttle will transport guests within a 5km (3 mile) radius.

The Grand Daddy Boutique Hotel

This hotel in the CBD offers funky rooms and suites, but it’s the Rooftop Trailer Park which everyone loves here. Seven Airstream trailers imported from the USA have been revamped and individually (and playfully) themed, and although they’re not cheap to stay in they’re certainly unique. There’s also a rooftop bar and cinema, a restaurant and an inside bar called The Daddy Cool that’s a local favourite.

Cape Grace

This award-winning hotel offers stylish accommodation as well as world-class facilities and service. Located on its very own private quay at the harbour of the V&A Waterfront, the Cape Grace enjoys a convenient location at Cape Town's most popular shopping district. The Cape's colourful past can be seen in the hotel's exquisite furniture, rare fabrics, intriguing artefacts and original antiques. Sumptuous tasting menus, rare whisky pairings, luxurious spa treatments and indulgent Afternoon Teas are all thoughtfully created to enhance your stay at Cape Grace.

Daddy Long Legs

Rooms in this art hotel have been decorated by artists, poets, photographers and musicians and themes include music, travel and the tattoo artists, among others. There’s a bar/lounge and balcony overlooking lively Long Street, and self-catering apartments are located nearby. No breakfast, but Long Street is filled with breakfast options.

The Fritz Hotel

In a quiet spot near Kloof Street and just up the road from buzzing Long Street, this charming guesthouse proves that budget doesn’t have to mean bland or unstylish. Original art deco furniture and commissioned pieces give the rooms a quirky feel, and some have balconies with views of Table Mountain, Lions Head and Signal Hill.