South Africa offers shoppers a wide variety of souvenirs and gifts to take back home to loved ones. Mementos include bags, belts and accessories made out of tanned animal skins, intricate Zulu beadwork and traditional clothing. The country is renowned for its gold and diamonds, and while certainly not cheap, prices compare to those back home. At some artisan hubs, it is possible to watch goldsmiths create jewelry from the precious metal. At Pretoria’s Premier Diamond Mine, designers craft bespoke designs while buyers watch and sip the country’s finest viticulture produce.
With 450 stores, the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town has to be the foremost location in South Africa for souvenir shopping. Standard gifts include hand-crafted wood-carvings, models made from wire and recycled items and vivid fabric paintings. Stall owners at the city’s Green Market Square sell a variety of curios and clothing from all over Africa. Roadside vendors on the highways also sell township art. Bargaining is considered an essential part of any transaction with these vendors.
The chief South African cities all boast huge shopping malls packed with stores, dining and entertainment venues. The Southgate Mall in Johannesburg is one of the favorites, located between the main city and Soweto. It is home to 130 stores, including retailers, boutiques and electronics. There are also a number of restaurants and fast-food outlets, as well as a multi-screen movie theater.
Other shopping centers in Johannesburg include Nelson Mandela Square, Eastgate and Cresta. The Walmer Park Shopping Center is the biggest in Port Elizabeth, while the Gateway Theater of Shopping Center on the north side of Durban is the biggest such facility south of the Equator. Almost 400 stores, Fantasy Forest theme park, a skate park, a bowling alley, theater, 70 restaurants, and a massive rock climbing wall are among the offerings at the Gateway.