Fun Things to do this summer in Cape Town: #Local Markets

Oh, what to do when the sun is up, the weekend is upon us and the temperature is a fierce mild. Well other than partaking in a very popular Capetonian pastime of talking about the weather. We here at the Nomadic team decided to rather partake in something a lot of Capetonians are talking about as well: Local Markets.

Yes, local markets, and not those shabby grubby streets, excrement swilling out of the window sort, no. And most definitely not anything brandishing the prefix “super” attached it. The ones we roped ourselves into have come a long way since the middle ages, and of course the middle minded. And are bursting with fresh talent, produce and all round community spirit. As they look for ways to include anyone who wants to contribute, uplift their community and promote a sustainable way of living. But where to start? I mean these days Cape Town is chock full of all sorts of local markets. But in the end we went with a tried and tested method thats guaranteed to work: by following our ears.

The first market to come up on our radar was located just a quick drive around the west end of the mountain past beautiful Camps Bay, up and over the Suikerbossie hump and finally down into a small wooded area lovingly referred to as a “Republic” . And most definitely not a suburb: the Bay Harbour Market in Hout Bay.

Now it’s anyone guess as how two entrepreneurial gentlemen stumbled upon the then abandoned fish factory. But with a dream and some hope they managed to engineer a local market to be reckoned with.  But my first impression of the place was somewhat lacklustre. As we entered an old scrubby looking corridor lined mostly with curio shops, which did little to excite the senses. But that was until I turned the corner at the end, and found myself stepping into something reminiscent of a food and crafts wonderland. Nothing was spared and everything from the stalls’ décor, produce, services on offer and the warehouses overall appeal was like candy cane for the eyes. It even boasted a small stage for live entertainment (on Friday nights), a fully kitted out bar and an outside area for those wanting to chill out in the cool sea breeze. But I have to admit though my favourite had to be the food stalls. I mean you could literally snack your way through an eclectic mix of fine cuisine endemic to almost every culture on earth. Not forgetting the local stands whose traditional and fusion dishes would have most lining up for seconds.

However, as hard as it was to leave the Bay Harbour behind another market was heard of from whispers on the wind and soon saw us back in the Mother city.

Now as far primitive instincts go food will always bring in the masses. It’s just such an integral part to the human experience. And any market without it would be at a loss. But the newly relocated Oranjezicht city farm market takes it a step further by offering dare I say not only foodstuffs but only locally produced foodstuffs. Fair enough though, for if you switched tactics to only shopping here for your essential edibles you would not only be contributing to a healthier way of life but to a sustainable way as well. This was all too evident in the stall owners wares, whereupon question and observation you could be duly invited to come inspect their own farm and/ or factory. And if you, like I did, used this as an excuse to coax most stall owners into providing a free snack tasting. Then a beautiful green lawn on the exquisite Leeuwenhof estate (home to the provinces premier) made a welcome yet gentle stomach rest pit stop.

For Lord knows I needed it, but not too worry the venue being centrally located in the city is not too far from the company’s gardens. And taking a brisk walk through this urban jungle would soon get us back on our feet for round two, when we tackle the rest of the fair capes local markets.  Where the banter would not be too concerned about what the weathers doing. But rather whose stand will be the favourite, or what’s the latest addition or even where a new market has opened and joined the ranks of the city’s growing local markets.

Straight from the garden

Quick facts/ Highlights:

  • Other than the Bay Harbour market,  Hout Bay also boasts a wonderful harbour wharf, the world of Birds, excellent big wave surfing and is home to the entrance to the stunning Chapman’s Peak Pass.
  • The Bay Harbour Market has a fundraising pig known as Viola. Look out for her as she does the rounds who collecting donations on behalf of the surrounding community in order to provide them with some much needed relief problems.
  • Adhering to a strict principle of original and unique traders, the Bay Harbour market tirelessly hand picks the traders who showcase the most talent and skill in their craft.
  • The OZCF (Oranjezicht City Farm) project is a unique concept wherein city partners band with local neighbourhood councils to reclaim,restore and uplift disused land that has fallen into disrepute. It also strives to provide a platform for locals to get involved in community projects in order to promote a healthier and more sustainable way of life.
  • The OZCF farm (not the market) can be found not far away next to the corner of Sidmouth Avenue and Upper Orange Street, and is open to the public for viewing, tours and participation. Its open everyday of the week except Sunday’s.
  • Other markets we had been to included the Hope Street Market and V&A Market on the Wharf.

Tips for virgin Market shoppers:

  • Bring cash, for not all stalls provide card facilities, but generally atms can be found nearby.
  • Respect the ethos of the emerging local markets by throwing your trash in the recycling bins provided and by not bringing products and produce not sold at the market.
  • Always try if possible to at least entertain as many stall owners as you can. For they work very hard and tirelessly to bring you the best quality and service and would appreciate it if you would just stop to at least take a look. Even if just for a chat, they are extremely proud of what they do and at the same time are positively feeding back into our economy and more importantly into the local communities.
  • And if the power goes out (load shedding) not to worry. Most local markets have backup generators or don’t need any power at all thus further providing a solution to an ongoing national problem and crisis.
  • If you’re an aspiring tenant and feel your product/ service will make the grade then why not apply and get involved.

Going to Cape Towns local markets ranks highly on the Nomadic Existence: Fun Things to do this summer in Cape Town.

Special thanks go out to the all the people involved in making the local Cape Town markets happen. Without them there would be none to speak of. And not forgetting the emphasis they put on uplifting local communities and promoting a sustainable lifestyle, further enhancing the beauty of Cape Town.

Some information was sourced from OZFC, Bay Harbour websites, the markets and us.

Our local market haggling took place on Saturday the 6th of December 2014.

By Slippery Joe Lyzard © (Writer for Nomadic Existence)

Photography: Nomadic Bug © 

Nomadic Existence 2015 ©

 Explore. Conserve. Discover.

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