I’m sure you’ll agree that shopping at the mall this time of year can be a real nightmare, especially when it comes to hunting for Christmas gifts. Why not try something different this year and check out one of SA’s many unique craft markets. You are sure to find enough to fill up the stockings twofold and at the same time you will be supporting local entrepreneurs, crafters and artists. Here’s a list of 25 Christmas Markets across the country where you can not only get the shopping done, but enjoy yourself while doing it.
The Gonubie Christmas Fair
Crafters travel from across South Africa to exhibit here, so there’s plenty on offer. Expect to find more than just Christmas gifts – there’s outdoor furniture, accessories and fashion items as well as delicious food, a beer tent and plenty of kids’ activities. All events are organised by local charities so you will be helping to raise much-needed funds too.
When: 16 to 18 December 2012.
Where: Gonubie Sports Fields, East London.
Entrance: R5 for adults; R2 for seniors and kids under 12.
The Rosebank Rooftop Market
With over 400 vendors, its no wonder this 15-year-running market has become internationally renowned. Although not specifically set to a christmas theme, you will find many vendors catering to the festive cheer. Expect to see fine arts, live entertainment, african crafts and much more. Open from 09h00 to 17h00.
When: Every Sunday.
Where: 5th floor, The Mall Offices, Cnr Cradock & Baker avenue, Rosebank.
Contact: Tel: (011) 442-4488 or visit www.craft.co.za
Rotary Christmas Craft Market
Meander amongst the stalls at the Christmas and Farmers’ Market and find gifts, decorations and antiques. Join a craft workshop and make your own Christmas wreath, decorate presents and create your own family heirloom. You can also add your family photos to the 2012 Time Capsule. Relax in the Tea Garden and enjoy a snack and a drink.
When: 4 November to 23 December.
Where: Stonehaven on Vaal, Vanderbijlpark.
Contact: Tel (016) 982-2951 or visit www.stonehaven.co.za
Irene Christmas Market
The much-loved Irene Market have launched their Christmas Markets, happening every Saturday until 15 December. The market is open from 09h00 to 14h00 and boasts more than 300 unique arts and crafts stalls, as well as a delicious deli and food stall section. Find some awesome bargains and special gifts. Entrance is free and there is lots of parking available.
When: 3 November to 15 December.
Where: Jan Smuts Ave, Irene.
Contact: Tel (012) 667-1659 or visit www.irenemarket.co.za
Bryanston Organic Market’s Magical Moonlight Markets
Held every Tuesday evening from 17h00 to 21h00, this is the perfect place to shop for uniquely made Christmas gifts, decorations and festive foods. All stalls offer lovingly hand crafted items made from natural or organic materials and ingredients. On 4, 11 and 18 December, the Alexandra Gospel Choir will perform in the market with traditional song and dance and lead the carol singing ceremony. Children’s entertainment includes sand art and candle making.
When: 13 November to 18 December.
Where: Culross Road, Bryanston.
Contact: Tel (011) 706-3671 or visit www.bryanstonorganicmarket.co.za
Parkview Charity Christmas Market
This market has over 70 stands to visit and a variety of entertainment for both young and old. Food stalls, a beer tent showing sport on DSTV, live music performances, a wonderland section for the kids, serenading school choirs and a traditional Nativity play. R40 for adults, children pay per activity.
When: 30 November to 2 December.
Where: George Hay Park, Parkview.
Contact: Tel (082) 445-3525 or visit www.nicarela.org.za
Hobart Grove Centre’s Christmas Market
Join the festivities and find those perfect stocking fillers from a wide range of unique gift stalls. Then rest your feet and catch up with friends or relax with your family over scrumptious delights. The market is only open from 18h00 to 21h00 for two days which makes this a market not to be missed.
When: 6 to 7 December.
Where: Corner Grosvenor and Hobart Roads, Bryanston
Contact: Tel (011) 267-5700 or visit www.hobartgrovecentre.co.za
Baynesfield Vintage Christmas Market
Do your Christmas shopping in a historical garden with background music from the bandstand. Quality crafts, plants and produce for sale as well as leatherwork and rattan weaving. Also on offer will be antique woodcrafters demonstrating their crafts, vintage tractors, cars and machinery. Kids will love the putt-putt, jumping castle and trailer rides.
When: 9 December.
Where: Baynesfield Estate, Pietermaritzburg.
Contact: Tel (033) 251-0001 or visit www.baynesfieldmuseum.co.za
Shongweni Annual Christmas Market
This market is full of country charm and, with over 200 stalls, is the perfect place to get something special from a range of handmade crafts and Christmas decor. Also well-known for its yummy food and fresh produce, this is a great spot to grab some breakfast before browsing for gifts. There’s plenty of activities for children, including sand art, jungle gyms and a petting zoo. Dogs (on leashes) are most welcome too. Open from 09h00 – 16h00.
When: 16 December.
Where: Gillits, Durban.
Contact: Tel (083) 777-1674 or visit www.shongwenimarket.co.za
South Coast Christmas and Summer Market
Approximately 200 stalls means you get to choose from hundreds of creative and delightful products, including jewellery, toys, décor and gifts. This annual festive and summer season market has become very popular over the years and definitely does not disappoint. Open everyday (except 25 and 26 December) from 10h00 to 20h00.
When: 14 December – 13 January.
Where: Douglas Mitchell Sports Grounds, Uvongo.
Contact: Tel (072) 305-2585 or visit www.scmarkets.co.za
Rainhill Farm Christmas Market
Head out to Rainhill Farm in Rustenburg on Saturdays between 1-15 December and browse for gifts at 80 stalls along Blue Gum lane. Kids will love the farmyard and the labyrinth is a fun experience. Hartley’s Restaurant on the farm will have a special menu for the day with drinks and sit-down meals.
When: 1, 8 and 15 December
Where: Rainhill Farm, Rustenberg
Contact: Tel (082) 357-5882.
Stellenbosch Christmas Market
Bring the family to this popular market to enjoy top quality art and handiwork at 180 stalls, as well as a cosy restaurant and a wide variety of excellent baked foods and confectionary. Free entrance daily from 10h00 until 20h00 and Saturdays from 10h00 till 15h00. Closed on Sunday, 25 November.
When: 22 November to 1 December.
Where: Dutch Reformed Central Church, Martinson Street.
Contact: Tel (021) 883-3850 or visit www.stellenbosch-unlimited.co.za/kersmark/
Durbanville Gift Fair
Shop for fabulous home and garden accessories, stunning fashion items, and gorgeous must-have gifts, including a deli section with delicious and exotic food-gifts. Enjoy superb food and drink and soak up the magical atmosphere while your children have a ball in the kiddies play area.There will also be live music on Friday 30 November.
When: 29 November to 2 December.
Where: D’Aria Wine Estate.
Contact: Tel (083) 679-4495 or visit www.thegiftfair.co.za
Christmas Night Market at Stellenbosch Slow
A vintage styled authentic Christmas night market with all the Christmas trimmings. Shop for beautiful gifts along with bakes, cakes, gammon, turkey, mince pies, nuts, champagne, topiaries, and Christmas trees. Relax with 50’s Christmas music and enjoy a theatre production at the Oude Libertas Amphitheatre.
When: 30 November.
Where: Oude Libertas Estate.
Contact: Tel (021) 886-8514 or visit www.slowmarket.co.za
Laborie Lazy Days Christmas Market
Get your last-minute Christmas shopping done at this two-day festive market where you’ll find over 80 stalls providing a wide range of lifestyle goods and fresh produce. There will also be traditional Christmas fare such as Christmas cakes and pork pies, as well as live bands throughout the day. Take a break and see what Laborie wines and craft beers are available. With a jumping castle and pony rides, there’s plenty to keep the kids entertained too. Open from 09h00 to 15h00.
When: 8 to 9 December.
Where: Laborie Wine Estate, Paarl.
Contact: Tel (084) 207-3820 or visit www.laboriewines.co.za
Blaauwklippen Christmas Market
The idea surrounding the Christmas market this year is to bring the classical European Christmas markets to the heart of the Cape Winelands. A delectable variety of prepared food will be on offer including gingerbread cookies, fruit cakes, cinnamon pancakes, Pfefferkuchenhaus, Christstollen, toffee apples and candy floss. Shop for a diverse selection of gifts ranging from fashion items, hand crafted wooden toys, handmade candles, pottery and jewellery. There’ll be live music, choirs, children’s entertainment, carols by candlelight and many other activities for the entire family to enjoy.
When: 17 to 22 December.
Where: Blaauwklippen Vineyards, Stellenbosch.
Contact: Tel (021) 880-0133 or visit www.blaauwklippen.com
Nitida Christmas Market
Held on Nitida wine farm at Cassia Restaurant, the two day Nitida Christmas Market has 40 stalls. On Friday you can expect Christmas carols from Welgemoed Primary’s junior choir. Nitida will be offering their wines and you can expect a lot of local arts, food and craft. Open Saturday 17h00 to 21h30 and Sunday 08h00 to 12h30.
When: 23 – 24 November.
Where: Cassia Restaurant, Nitida wine farm, Stellenbosch.
Contact: Getha on (083) 651-0699.
Franschoek Village Market
Every Saturday you can expect a country-style market with many local producers being involved. From 1 December you will see festive decorations going up and festive additions to the regular delicious food and wares. Expect to find many homemade goodies like gingerbeer, pesto’s and preserves. Take a leisurely browse or play a game of boules. Open from 09h00 to 14h00.
When: 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 December.
Where: 29 Huguenot Road, Franschhoek.
Contact: Tel (021) 876-2431 or visit www.franschhoek.co.za/villagemarket
Stellenbosch Organic Farmer Market
Take a ride on the green side this festive season at the Stellenbosch Organic Farmers market. Being one of the larger organic markets in the cape winelands area makes this a great opportunity to pick up delicious organic produce for your Christmas lunch or dinner. The market also has toys for the kids made from natural and organic materials. Open from 09h00 to 14h00.
When: 1, 8 and 15 December.
Where: Spier Wine Farm, Stellenbosch.
Contact: Tel (072) 470-2124 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Christmas Night Market on Hathersage Farm (Somerset West)
Get local gifts for the festive season at this community driven market. Situated on Hathersage farm, it also offers a “donation station” where you can bring unwanted clothing, toys and other non-perishables. Bring a picnic blanket and enjoy wine from Hathersage estate while sampling some of the fresh foods on sale. Open from 17h00 to 22h00.
Kirstenbosch Craft Market
One of the more famous markets due to its central location, Kirstenbosch is hosting two markets during December. Amble your way through 180 high quality crafters, grab a few refreshments or simply lie on the lawns and admire the view. You will also be supporting a good cause as proceeds from stall rentals go to the Development Fund for Kirstenbosch Gardens. Open from 09h00 to 15h00.
When: 9 and 16 December.
Where: Kirstenbosch Stone Cottages, Rhodes Drive, Newlands.
Contact: Tessa on (021) 671-5468.
Edgemead Christmas Market
This is a market you should not miss. With over 230 stalls, it brings in crafters, artists and local goods producers from all over the Western Cape. This includes foodstuffs, jewellery, leather, wrought iron, glassware, mosaics, kids toys and more. Credit and debit card facilities are also available. Open everyday from 10h00 to 20h00.
When: 7 to 23 December.
Where: Community Hall in Edgemead Drive, Edgemead.
Contact: Tel (084) 882-7546 or email email@example.com
The Bay Harbour Market (Hout Bay)
Being held in an old fish factory, you may be surprised to find delectable aromas wafting through the warehouse. The Bay harbour market is a long standing market which provides a fun day out for the whole family. With 100 stalls, plenty of parking, 24/7 security and professional floor management, this market provides you with local crafts, organic goods, crafted beers and fine wines, sit down meals and live music. They will also have some special entertainment for Christmas revelers.
When: Fridays, 17h00 to 21h00; Saturdays and Sundays, 09h30 to 16h00.
Where: Bay Harbour, 31 Harbour Road, Hout Bay.
Contact: Tel (082) 570-5997 or visit www.bayharbour.co.za
The Old Biscuit Mill Neighbourgoods Market (Woodstock)
This market is one of the trendiest in the Cape Town area with a vibrant collection of people coming through the doors. Many food vendors offer sample tastings and the long communal tables make for a great atmosphere to meet new people. Local designers, luxury beers and live music are also a regular feature. The Christmas Market takes place at night – check their website for updates on the date and time.
When: Every Saturday.
Where: The Old Biscuit Mill, 373 Albert Road, Woodstock.
Contact: Visit www.neighbourgoodsmarket.co.za
Porter Estate Produce Market
Situated in Tokai forest this family orientated market provides ample activities for kids like pony rides, sand art and capture the flag. The fresh produce on sale is complemented by a range handmade crafts. Grab a bite to eat and cool down surrounded by the lush forest. Look out for special festive treats and games during December. Open from 09h00 to 13h00.
When: Every Saturday.
Where: Chrysalis Academy, Porter Estate, Tokai.
Entrance: R5 per car.
Contact: Tel (082) 334-5434 or visit www.pepmarket.co.za
I knew I was a writer since I learnt to write, always fascinated by letters and words, words within letters and letters within words. Working in the restaurant industry for 8 years led me to appreciate all different aspects of food and alcohol, most notably wine. I now create my meals with gusto and flare and wind down with a glass or three. I am also an avid hula hooper (yes there is such a thing) and continually strive to learn new tricks, have fun and generally spread the happiness that is hooping. I count myself one of the lucky few to have these passions to enjoy in my work and personal life.