Flea markets in South Africa are usually outdoor bazaars that allow a number of merchants to sell their wide variety of goods. These include jewellery, clothing, food, mementoes, accessories, music (sometimes illegal, so be sure to check it carefully), and much more.
Some of the items are widely available and low in cost (such as foam fingers, inflatable animals and flags), while others may be imported from places like Bali or India and are a little more specialised (and, therefore, expensive).
Regardless, the vendors often expect tourists to barter with them, offering them a little less than the asking price. Keep in mind, though, that this is their livelihood, and a desperation to sell may cause them to accept far less than what the item is worth. Don’t take advantage of this situation.
Factory shops are those that sell items in bulk or products that are slightly imperfect (for instance, the inside washing label may be torn out, or there could be a small stain on the item).
Factory shops sell directly to the public, and can keep their prices really low, making them a real treasure trove for the bargain hunter. Just check each item carefully to see whether there is something wrong with it (usually indicated by a colourful sticker where the fault is).
South Africa has a number of flea markets and factory shops for the budget-conscious shopper. When visiting flea markets, be aware of your belongings at all times. Crowded areas make for easy pickings, so be alert.
Here are some of South Africa’s best Flea Markets and Factory Shops:
- Bruma Market – this is renowned as the biggest flea market in the entire Southern Hemisphere.
- Panorama Flea Market
- Hillfox Market
- Rosebank Rooftop Market
- The African Craft Market – situated in Rosebank, this market invites crafters and artists to showcase their original designs.
- Oriental Plaza
- Greenmarket Square must be this city’s best-known flea market. Ideally located in the centre of the city amidst many popular Cape Town hotels and restaurants, Greenmarket Square has been an institution for decades. It is situated in the heart of the City Bowl and guarantees a half to full day’s browsing.
- The Khayelitsha Craft Market
- The Milnerton Market
- The V&A Waterfront Art & Craft Market
- The Neighbourgoods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock
- Oriental Plaza
- Access Park
- The Essenwood Flea Market
- Church Square Market
- Farepark Market
- Victoria Street Market
- The Beachfront Market
- Art in the Park (on the first Sunday of every month)