Shopping does as well, in more nuanced ways. Browsing Long Street and other burbs around town, I’m struck that most products in the supermarkets are South African brands and there’s not a Starbucks to be found. Local fashions are durable, stylish and cheap. Foodstuffs are tasty and plentiful. Contrary to the gleaming Victoria & Alfred Waterfront mall and entertainment complex (think: Astin Martin showroom, Diesel Style Lab, Louis Vuitton and Hugo Boss), years of forced self-reliance have made the country a refreshing throwback to before America’s economic tendrils were everywhere. Bargain-worthy (and bargain-able) quality African handicrafts can be found at the outdoor historic Greenmarket Square.
Bring a spare suitcase: Cape Town offers a range of high-quality crafts, from handmade paper to intricate bead and wire work. Head for the daily Greenmarket Square flea market for an initiation and try Green Point Stadium on a Sunday for huge choice and great street food. Lose yourself on Long Street with its Pan-African Market, clothes and secondhand bookshops and the fabulous Tribal Trends at No 72. And don't miss the beads emporium at No 223 or the well-stocked and friendly African Music Store at No 134.
For local designers on show, visit India Jane (125 Agter Waterkant Street, Cape Quarter; 00 27 21 421 3517) and for kitsch and cool home accessories drop into East of Eden (A17 Cape Quarter, 72 Waterkant Street). The V&A Waterfront has a huge range, a highlight being the Carrol Boyes shop showcasing the local designer's stunning pewter homewares (www.carrolboyes.co.za).
When in Kalk Bay, drop into Cape to Cuba for a taste of Old Havana and a rare 'shop as you eat' experience: all the furniture is for sale (165 Main Rd; www.capetocuba.com).
Canal Walk (http://www.canalwalk.co.za) is the biggest shopping mall in Africa with over 400 specialty stores. You’ll find fashion, housewares, gifts, jewelry, shoes, leather, music, art, and much more. Canal Walk is also home to a mix of more than 30 restaurants, cafés, and coffee shops, serving a range of menus.
V & A Waterfront (http://www.waterfront.co.za), with nearly 500 stores, is a sumptuous blend of Victorian architecture, maritime tradition, African culture, and a lively, cosmopolitan environment. You can browse among international boutiques as well as a range of established South African stores for the perfect curio or gift.
For those of you looking for someting a little different, cehck out Iron Fist 45c Kloof St.; +27-21-422-4017Local skate punks, surfers, and blazing alt-rockers browse in-your-face hoodies and T-shirts at the downtown outpost of this brash South African brand.
Attracted to the latest Cape Town Boyz look, then check out Scar Hair and Clothing
22 Kloof St.; +27-21-422-5900. Orgasmic head massages and locally designed duds make this fashionably trendy salon-boutique a one-stop makeover shop.
Seeking something a little bit adventerous, check out Rude Boys for DVD's, clothes, underwear etc. (2 Leilie Lane, Green Point ) of visit their website at www.rudeboys.co.za
Virgin Active (Bill Peters Drive, Green Point; +27-21/434-0750 or 21 Lower Long Street, Foreshore; +27-21/421-5857) is South Africa's huge health club chain. The Green Point location is the gayest in town; the Foreshore location downtown is preferred by more serious muscle men. Virgin Gyms offer indoor pools, tennis, squash or racquetball courts, sauna, steam room and aerobics classes. Other facilities include: Aerobics, Beauty Therapy, Bio, Cardio Circuit, Club-V, Free Weights, Indoor Cycling, Juice Bar, V-Vending, Kauai, Junior Care, Pool, Sauna, Squash, Steam Bath, Sunbed, Toning Circuit, VLC HealthZone, Water Aerobics. You can obtain a Virgin Active Day Pass from reception.
|Store||Address||Type||No on Map||More Info|
|Cape Quarter||72 Waterkant Street||Shopping Centre||
|Chocolate Time||Unit F7, Prime Park||Confectionary||
|For Men Only||122 Main Road, Sea Point||Underwear||
|Giuseppe Ciani||34 Summerset Rd, Sovereign Bldg||Jewlry||
|Lesley Charnock||Montebello Design Centre, 31||Art Gallery||
|Party Tricks||Gardens centre, Mill Street||Costumes||
|Prins and Prins||66 Loop Street||Jewlry||
|Rainbow Trade||14 Cobern Street||Gay Gift Shop||
|Stevens Rom||Cnr Beach Road & Stanley Place||Wine||