Here’s our list of some of the best markets to find in the Cape Town CBD and surrounding areas. We’ll be updating whenever a new market comes our way, so make sure you bookmark this page to stay in the know.
HOUT BAY MARKET 31 Harbour Rd, Hout Bay, bayharbour.co.za Text Kim Richter Photographs Adam Letch
WHAT: A former fish factory, this industrial warehouse at the far end of the picturesque Hout Bay harbour is an inviting covered market in the unpredictable Cape weather. With over 100 stallholders offering an extensive range of wares every weekend (Friday 5 – 9pm; Saturdays and Sundays 9.30am – 4pm) in an easy-going, convivial space, the Bay Harbour Market is a must.
WHO: Expansive communal tables, space to wander and regular live music make this a meeting place for happy families, laid-back hipsters, friends enjoying some downtime, and market aficionados trawling for special finds (think vinyl, vintage costume jewellery, retro movie and travel posters, and bespoke men’s shirts).
WHAT TO EXPECT: On Friday nights there’s a crowd of predominantly 30- and 40-something locals out to socialise, with a massive choice of delicious meals and exciting beverages to cater for all tastes. (Get there early if you want a table for the evening.) Saturdays and the particularly busy Sundays see more of the shopping brigade browsing the assortment of stalls. Kids are in their element with sand art, face painting and an array of stands catering specially to them (toys, clothes and fancy dress). There’s plenty of parking, restrooms and even a baby-changing station.
X FACTOR: The sheltered, warm social atmosphere is the unique selling point here – but we can’t fault the smorgasbord of ready-to-eat meals and treats and the excellent standard of ‘crafters’. This article originally featured in the December 2012 issue of House and Leisure.
MILNERTON FLEA MARKET Marine Dr, (R27), Paarden Eiland, milnertonfleamarket.co.za
Text Lindi Brownell Meiring Photographs Micky Hoyle
WHAT: The Milnerton Flea Market is open from 8am until 2pm every Saturday and until 3pm on Sundays. This bargain destination, which has been in operation for over 20 years, is often unfairly overlooked as a place where rusty tools and hoarders’ junk go to die. On the contrary, this is the spot to hunt down antique collectables and oil paintings, first editions and fine china.
WHO: Everyone. It’s constantly bustling with a mix of young couples, families and tourists in search of hidden gems. The vendors range from small-time antique dealers and serious collectors (think stamps, old coins and military memorabilia) to leather merchants and bric-a-brac peddlers.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Much of what you will find hiding in this vast treasure trove varies on a weekly basis. You could discover crates packed with sought-after vinyls, or that vintage clutch you’ve been in search of for what seems like forever. You’ll definitely spot beautiful jewellery, vibrant ceramics and second-hand books. Make sure you don’t miss the stall spread with colour-coded collectables (most likely in a range of pastel pinks, greens and yellows) or the vendor whose ever-changing themes vary from collections of pocketknives and old bells to antique clocks and authentic enamel house numbers. There is also a wide range of brass items on offer, with authentic door knockers a popular favourite, as well as vintage and modern glassware, tools, and African crafts and wire art. On the food side, expect homebaked goods, fresh pancakes, popcorn, ice cream, biltong and fynbos honey straight from the farm.
X-FACTOR: Not only will you be able to pick up unique and exciting spoils, you’ll also be met with a sea breeze, breathtaking views of Table Mountain and a whole horde of interesting characters to chat to. There’s just no other place like it. This article originally featured in the April 2014 issue of House and Leisure.
CITY BOWL MARKET ON HOPE Text Raphaella Frame-Tolmie Photographs Adam Letch City Bowl Market on Hope, 14 Hope St, Gardens, Cape Town, citybowlmarket.co.za
WHAT: It has been running for just over a year and already this charming market, housed in a heritage building in the heart of Cape Town, has garnered a healthy throng of regulars. That’s not to say it’s unpleasantly crowded though: operating both on Thursday evenings (4.30pm to 8.30pm) and Saturday mornings (9am to 2pm) visitors are evenly dispersed with some enjoying the festive pre-weekend feeling and others preferring the more casual, friendly Saturday-morning mood. It’s conveniently positioned for inner-city dwellers, who often choose to take a stroll to the venue, but there’s plenty of parking if you’re arriving by car. Ample seating, both inside and out, means that if you’re not taking your purchases home to savour, you can enjoy your wares on the spot.
WHO: The laid-back atmosphere lends itself well to the visiting locals – many of whom live in and around the area – including couples and their furry companions (on leads) and families and friends meeting for a quick shop and a catch up. There’s also the likely beard (cardigan?) of hipsters that comprises the usual crowd.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Healthy – as well as less beneficial, but still delicious – fare, from organic fresh produce to speciality sweet treats and everything in between is what’s on offer. It’s the perfect place to stock the home fridge, or grab a bite and a cup of coffee. Visitors can also peruse rails of vintage and new fashion goods, and jewellery trinkets, too.
X FACTOR: Organisers recently introduced a weekly wine market to complement the food stalls’ offerings. Providing access to products from about six or seven local wineries, from Stellenbosch to the Swartland, a R50 entrance fee to this section includes a glass, nine tastings and one full glass of wine. Each estate also has cases, bottles and wine by the glass for sale. This article originally featured in the March 2013 issue of House and Leisure.
BLUEBIRD GARAGE MARKET The Blue Bird Garage Market, 39 Albertyn Rd, Muizenberg, Cape Town, bluebirdmarket.co.za Text Genevieve Fisher Photographs Simon Scarborough
WHAT: Since 2010 the Blue Bird Garage Market has ignited the weekend vibe in the seaside suburb of Muizenberg in Cape Town. Every Friday evening, from 4pm till 10pm, an old postal-plane hangar comes alive with the sights, sounds and tastes of locally made goods. The emphasis here is on a family night out with most revellers staying to meet friends over a good meal and satisfying brew, accompanied by live local music.
WHO: For those who break out in an allergic reaction on the sight of a hipster, you’re safe here. This market is surprisingly untouched by the City Bowl cool kids. What you will find are families, young and old, sun-bleached and salt-kissed gangs of surfers and the odd lone hippie, all of whom seem to know each other. This goes for the vendors, too; they engage in garrulous conversations with patrons and other stall owners, beers or wine in hand, all the while noshing on neighbouring stalls’ goods.
WHAT TO EXPECT: While there is a pocket of clothes, jewellery and vintage stalls, a stationery stand and a second-hand book store, it’s the culinary delights that draw the crowds. The offering here is a case of global fare meets local tastes. From falafel to gourmet sourdough pizza, Indian curries, sumptuous burgers, sushi and dim sum, the locals who come here have the world at their mouths. There is also a host of local craft beers and wines to cleanse the palate and keep patrons merry while they socialise and enjoy their fare at the long tables, which take pride of place.
X-FACTOR: There are many markets around Cape Town that profess to be a ‘neighbourhood’ market. The Blue Bird Garage Market is the real deal, and the overall civic ambience is infectious – even if you’re not from the area, you can’t help but want to soak up the atmosphere of this vibrant community. There’s also a dedicated Kids’ Corner for which you pay R20 to have facilitators look over your children who all gather around the craft table for simple origami lessons. This article originally featured in the May 2013 issue of House and Leisure.
V&A MARKET ON THE WHARF Text Lisa Wallace Photographs Micky Hoyle V&A Market on the Wharf; V&A Waterfront, adjacent to Nobel Square, Cape Town; marketonthewharf.co.za
WHAT: The V&A Waterfront’s historic Power Station (previously the Musica warehouse) in Nobel Square has been transformed into a colourful indoor market boasting up to 50 vendors offering artisanal food, baked goods, cured meat and cheese, craft beer and wholesome culinary delights. Open Wednesday to Sunday, it is a popular spot for locals and visitors to the Mother City.
WHO: Expect to mingle with an array of people: trendy youth hang out in the bar upstairs and families with young children delight in the sweet treats and varied nibbles. With its location in the tourist magnet that is the V&A, foreign accents are a common sound and, thanks to free Wi-Fi, it’s not surprising to see students and business colleagues utilising the space during the week.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Inspired by the European market culture, it is unique in that some of the stalls offer delicacies specific to this market. It’s comfortably spread over two floors so guests can meander the stalls downstairs for a ‘grocery shop’ or enjoy a meal in the seated area upstairs. With an eclectic mix of tenants, live music on weekends and a mix of local artisanal products and international cuisine, it has something even for the most particular palate.
X-FACTOR: With the weather being as capricious as it is, the market’s appeal is that it’s indoors and sheltered from the rain and wind. When the sun shines you can sit on the benches outside while taking in the water’s edge vista. The market is growing and, with exciting events in the pipeline, live music, night markets and child-friendly activities, it’s a great spot to return to. The upstairs area is also available to hire for corporate or private functions. This article originally featured in the August 2013 issue of House and Leisure.
PORTER ESTATE PRODUCE MARKET Text Michaela Stehr Photographs Micky Hoyle Chrysalis Academy, Porters Estate, Tokai Rd, Cape Town, porterestate.co.za
WHAT: The Porter Estate Produce Market, nestled between Tokai forest and Table Mountain National Park, runs on Saturday mornings (weather permitting) from 9am to 1pm. With an emphasis on natural and organic fare, expect plenty of home-grown and home-made goods for sale. The market was founded by the owners of Cape Town restaurants Societi Bistro and Jonkershuis, and has a strong focus on youth upliftment, being on the grounds of the Chrysalis Academy, a project that provides skills for previously disadvantaged teenagers.
WHO: This spot takes kid friendly to the next level. Think face painting, play areas, toy car racing, pony rides and stained glass tile workshops. Parents can have a leisurely browse with their youngsters in full view. Foodies will be there to snap up those sweet carrots pulled from the patch that very morning. Dogs on leads are welcome too. Watch out for the odd baboon, though…
WHAT TO EXPECT: Strolling through beautiful outdoor scenery and foraging under ancient oak trees make this market the epitome of friendly familiarity. With a warm farm feel, stalls selling gooey cheeses, biltong, nuts and the freshest fruit and vegetables are scattered under weathered overhangs. Home-made lemonade, aromatic curries, samoosas, farmhouse breakfasts and pancakes are just a few of the options that lead to snack indecision. Handmade soaps, lotions and crafts give a comforting ‘church fête’ feel, with the overall laid-back vibe making a change from the hustle and bustle of trendier city markets.
X-FACTOR: Perhaps Porter Estate Produce Market’s greatest pull is its unpretentiousness. Put on your old faithful jeans, scrape up your hair and head out for a day of fun with some little people and the furry kids, too. This article originally featured in the May 2014 issue of House and Leisure.
WHAT: If there is an event that returns to the age-old marketplace pastime most fittingly, it is the Stellenbosch Slowmarket at the historic Oude Libertas estate. Held every Saturday from 9am to 2pm, the market offers country fare, with stall purveyors encouraging the support of local farmers. A selection of organic produce is displayed indoors and out. With its beautiful views, a visit will leave you relaxed, inspired and satiated with delicious food and wine.
WHO: The market welcomes a mix of people of all ages. You’ll find students from Stellenbosch University relaxing on the lawns and benches alongside young couples and groups of visiting pensioners. The new fad of hip markets certainly attracts the cool kids, but this market is also a great spot for families to enjoy breakfast or lunch together. There is food that is suitable for children and lawns and jungle gyms on which they can play.
WHAT TO EXPECT: This is a bustling beehive of flavours, produce and people. Choose from freshly baked breads, pastries and a fusion of international cuisine; and browse a selection of clothing, jewellery and art-and-craft stands. Also on offer are wines from boutique cellars and slowbrewed beers and ciders. There’s a variety of delicious food to choose from and much lively conversation to be had with passionate traders.
X-FACTOR: Unlike similar markets in Cape Town, which are teeming with people, the Slowmarket is spread over larger grounds for a more leisurely perusal. The arty Treasury Market (a platform for emerging and established designers) joins the market once a month. With an art gallery on the premises, it is a space that caters for local food producers, and for artists, designers and craftsmen. This article originally featured in the December 2013 issue of House and Leisure.
DIE KATTEBAK MARKET Text Michelle Hardie Die Kattebak Market, The Palms Lifestyle Centre, 145 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock, facebook.com/diekattebak
WHAT: Vintage junkies can get their fix at the monthly Die Kattebak Market where you’ll find an eclectic mix of vintage treasures on offer, from linen, crystal, porcelain and books to clothing and wonderful golden oldies on vinyl. The aim is to make this the vintage market of note in Cape Town and entice Capetonians and visitors to mark this as a must on their calendars. Inspired by well-known brocante markets in the French countryside (better known as car boot sales), Die Kattebak runs once a month in conjunction with the weekly market at the Palms in Woodstock, which is famous for its fabulous food and vibey atmosphere. The market is held once a month from 9am until 2pm.
ORANJEZICHT CITY FARM MARKET Text Michaela Stehr Photograph Supplied Granger Bay at the V&A Waterfront (behind the Lookout venue) ozcf.co.za
WHAT? The Oranjezicht City Farm is situated at the foot of Table Mountain, on a repurposed 1950s bowling green. As well as being a functioning sustainable farm and educational eco project, the farm holds a fresh produce market every Saturday morning from 9am until 2pm, where residents, tourists and green thumb enthusiasts can come and peruse the garden-fresh wares of local eco friendly farmers and suppliers.
WHO? Everyone. It’s not just about tree huggers and tie-dye. Anyone with an inkling towards fresh produce and tasty healthy food will be there to soak up the scenery. With such a central location, Vredehoek neighbours often wander down to do their Saturday morning shopping (or harvest) and have a quick coffee. Two large playgrounds are on the property to keep children entertained while mom and dad pick out their fruit and veg.
WHAT TO EXPECT? No crafty doilies, hipster art, or knick-knacks here. This market is solely for natural and organic produce. Sprawled out under a large sheltered Bedouin tent there is shelter from summer sun and winter rain. Leafy oaks scatter the plot, veined with cobblestone pathways. Catering for a wide variety of diets is a strong market belief so if you are vegan or lead a gluten free lifestyle this is the spot to visit.
DON’T LEAVE WITHOUT… Visit the Tanqua Karoo Natural Products for sun-ripened figs, quinoa, ancient cactus fruit and 2 litre milk jugs of granadilla pulp. Meat lovers can’t miss Martin’s Cure meats for ethically reared pork belly, bangers and bacon. Visit Happy Hens for pasture raised eggs, grab some fresh butter and breakfast shopping is done. Don’t forget to stop at Spades and Spoons for a crunchy raw pizza slice. Healthy has never tasted so good.
X-FACTOR Choosing your own rocket, spring onion, lettuce and more, with a pair of scissors and wicker basket in hand is what really makes this market stand out from the rest. These items are then paid for by weight. Bringing a sense of participation and a learning to home grown goodies is really what the farm is all about. The real kicker is you get to talk to the people who grew your food, learn about sustainability and pick up some top tips on getting your own veggie patch going. This article originally featured in the October 2015 issue of House and Leisure magazine.
WHAT A family-friendly market held at Audacia Wines, situated opposite the big strawberry on the corner of R44 and Annandale Road. This vibrant shopping mecca has plenty of stalls to wander around, delicious food to munch on and shaded grassy areas to sit while listening to live music playing in the background. Open every Saturday and Sunday from 10am – 4pm.
WHO Expect a diverse crowd; with lots of families looking for a fun day outdoors, friends catching up over a cold pint of beer and foodies buying fresh, local produce and snacking on something scrumptious from one of the many produce stalls.
WHAT TO EXPECT Root44 is bustling with a laid-back vibe, selling everything from food and drink to a wide variety of clothes and homeware. Children run free around and play on the natural wood jungle gym while couples and friends kick off their shoes and find a comfortable place to sit under one of the many tall trees, provided by Trees SA, scattered around the market’s grounds. If you’re a lover of walking or a serious runner, every Saturday at 8am you can join Root44 for its weekly 5km Parkrun. The Parkrun is open to everyone, so you can take long walk with your kids or go on your morning run through Audacia’s breath-taking vineyards.
DON’T LEAVE WITHOUT… Sampling some home-made lemon curd from The Lemon Curd Lady; a bottle of sweet balsamic reduction, olive oil and a loaf of freshly baked bread from The Deli @Root44; for the braai, a roll of Greek feta, baby spinach and pancetta pork sausage from Ollie’s Sausages to enjoy with friends. If you have a sweet tooth you can’t leave without a slab of cookies and cream fudge from Sweet Dreams, it’s the best seller and once you have sunk your teeth into it you’ll understand why. If you love to cook, stop at Just Wood Creations and buy a unique wooden chopping board handcrafted from South African hardwoods, a perfect addition to your kitchen; and for the little ones in the family, a cute baby grow from Things we Love, screen printed the old fashioned way by owner Jackie Minkley.
X-FACTOR… The all-weather setting! Root44 is housed under cosy marquees, meaning rain or shine all year round they will be open, making it a good day out whatever the weather. This article originally featured in the June 2015 issue of House and Leisure magazine.