There are numerous flea markets in and around Cape Town – The list below includes the largest and best known. For more craft markets, take a look at ‘Open Air Markets’, in the Food section.
With a policy that keeps t-shirt and curios sellers to a bare minimum, this market can be a good place to search for all manner of antiques, including collectible China, glass, furnishings and second-hand electronics, amongst hundreds of stalls. It also affords an opportunity to experience a variety of local foods while enjoying the fresh sea breeze from nearby Milnerton Beach. It’s held on an open lot on Otto Du Plessis Drive (the R27), Paarden Eiland, every Saturday and Sunday from 07:00 till 16:00.
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This market is held every day between 08:00 and 16:00 at Sunrise Circle, Sunrise Beach in Muizenberg. It’s a good place to find cheap electronics, clothes and toys. It’s also great for spices, nuts, preserves and dried fruit. Treasure hunters will be disappointed, however, as it lacks the assortment of random bric-a-brac and antiques for which Milnerton Market is known. Best visited over the weekend, when the market is at its full capacity.
Cape Town’s most famous market has fallen somewhat from its former splendour. Once the site of public hangings, from the sixties through to the early nineties it was known as designers’ market where nigh-on every Capetonia creative peddled their wares at one time or another. Nowadays it’s a labyrinth of virtually identical stalls selling curios and cheap merchandise (think African wood carvings, fake Ray Bans, bead necklaces and the odd pirated CD). The stall owners can be disturbingly aggressive in their sales tactics, literally chasing disinterested customers, sometimes even forcefully detaining them. That said, it can make for a fun outing if only for its setting, perhaps as a prelude to a stroll down St. George’s Mall. Be sure to haggle long and hard if buying anything, as you’re bound to start out with the tourist price (which might be as much as five or ten times the merchandise’s actual value).
The market’s held from 09:00 to 16:00, Monday to Saturday, in the square between Long Market and Short Market Streets.
Hout Bay Craft Market
This more upmarket craft market features a wide array of home made preserves, along with pottery, sculptures, textiles and assorted touristy ornaments. Once again, antique hunters will probably come away empty handed. The market is situated next to the Main Road, on Hout Bay common, and operates from 10:00 till 16:00 on Sundays.
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Craft in the Park
This large fair is good for finding locally made trinkets and collectibles, pots, gardening implements and decorative ornaments, and tends to be quite reasonably priced. It’s held on the first two Saturdays of every month, from 09:00 to 15:00, on the corner of Campground (M57) and Sandown roads, Rondebosch.
For more information, contact Ann Rodwell on 021 531 4236 between 9:00 and 17:00, Tuesday to Friday.
The Red Shed and the Blue Shed (V&A Waterfront)
These twinned indoor markets feature hand-made merchandise and curios, furniture, jewelry, clothing, and blown-glass ornaments. Being permanent stalls, their overheads are quite high, and so are their prices. The Blue Shed connects to Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre. Call 021 408 7605 for more information. The markets operate between the hours of 09:30 and 18:00, Monday to Saturday.