Our city by the sea is blessed with beautiful beaches, fascinating sights and a host of cultural experiences, but for those of you for whom a holiday is nothing without a little shopping then never fear...there’s plenty of eye candy to entice you! Most of the action happens in the city but there are other shopping spots dotted around Cape Town, especially the host of gourmet markets that have popped up in recent years and in places like Kalk Bay where vintage and collectables stores line the main drag.
At the water’s edge
For a first shopping stop, hit the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront . This enormous destination is situated on the water’s edge and is both a working harbour and lifestyle destination par excellence. It’s a must do on any visit to the city thanks to the diversity of offerings, from restaurants galore to high-end boutique stores inside the mall proper and a host of craft operators who ply their trade in the Blue and Red Sheds based here.
Do the mall crawl
Other large scale experiences in the city include Canal Walk Shopping Centre (Century Boulevard, Century City; 021 529 9699; www.canalwalk.co.za.), our biggest mall where over 400 stores, mostly of the straight up and down variety (ie fashion, footwear, homeware, jewellery and supermarkets) are based; the chi chi Cavendish Square (2 Cavendish Street, Claremont; 021 683 7224;www.cavendish.co.za.) in Claremont, a glossy stop for locals from the southern suburbs and bargain hunters; Access Park (Racecourse Road, Kemilworth; 021 683 5885; www.accesspark.co.za.), where international brand names and a host of other obscure but always interesting items are available at the end-of-season outlet stores based here. For those based in the City Bowl for their stay, the new Cape Quarter Lifestyle Village, an extension of the original Cape Quarter centre (27 Somerset Road, de Waterkant; 021 421 1111; www.capequarter.co.za.) offers local boutiques, buzzing eateries based around an open-air piazza and a fashionable local crowd.
Long and Kloof Street
Those who relish a more authentic, non-mall experience should definitely head for Long Street in the city centre. Lined with old merchant warehouses that have since been turned into hotels, stores and eateries, this buzzing bohemian hub is crammed with interesting stores, from glittering diamond boutiques to edgy street style sneaker stores, vintage clothing set ups, antique shops and one of my favourite spots, the The Bead Shop (223 Long Street; 021 423 4687;www.beadmerchantsofafrica.co.za.), where I always tell visitors to head for small purchases that make an impact.
Long Street eventually becomes Kloof Street, which in turn winds its way up to Table Mountain, and it's here that things take a more design-oriented turn. One of my favourite décor stores O.live (8 Kloof Street; 021 426 5773) is based here as is Lim (Kloof Street; 021 423 1200; www.lim.co.za.), a clean-lined space filled with homewares and collectables, many designed by owner Pauline Mutlow. It’s quite a walk up Kloof Street’s hill but luckily there are plenty of cool spots for cappuccinos or, for a more substantial lunch or teatime treat, pop into Melissa's The Food Shop . And if idle browsing and looking for vintage finds is your thing, I’d definitely recommend a trip to Kalk Bay . The quaint fishing village is both a foodie destination thanks to eateries like Olympia Café and Deli, and an antique and second hand goods lover's must see. There are boutiques dotted along the main road here too affording fantastic plastic swiping opportunities.
For more information see my guides Shopping in Cape Town: fashion and contemporary design, Shopping in Cape Town: handmade crafts and Shopping in Cape Town: where the foodies shop.