Shopping in Cape Town is largely centralised within a few good shopping malls, the most popular with travellers being the V&A Waterfront, Cavendish Square and Century City. Many international brands can be found here, but shopping in Cape Town is not quite in the same league as international cities such as London, New York or Singapore. Having said that, shopping is comparably cheap for most international visitors because of the exchange rate and some designer bargains can be found.

Supermarkets are of a high standard, with Pick & Pay good for bulk shopping, while Woolworths is probably the best for fresh produce and luxury goods. For food lovers the Saturday morning market at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock is excellent for fresh, organic foods and unique, locally-made products. The Sunday craft market in Hout Bay is one of the best places for handmade local arts and crafts, and for South African art it is worth taking a drive down to Kalk Bay and Simonstown where there are lots of small galleries.

The flea market at Greenmarket Square, off Longmarket Street, is worth a visit for African curios and gifts, and bargaining is often possible, particularly if buying a few items. Nearby Long Street also has a number of curio shops, mixed with local boutiques, and book and music stores. Popular Cape Town souvenirs include African masks, colourfully-printed fabric and clothing, and carvings made of wood and soapstone.

Most stops are open between 9am and 6pm, some with reduced hours on the weekends. Stores in shopping malls may be open later, until 8pm or 9pm. Overseas travellers can claim back VAT at the refund kiosk in Cape Town International Airport on presentation of all receipts; allow extra time before checking in if you plan to do this.

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An American expat currently living in South Africa, Anya Klaassen has travelled widely as a musician and writer.

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