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From decor accessories to food and drink, you'll find a souvenir to suit any personality | ©Pixabay

10 Traditional Souvenirs To Buy In South Africa

Picture of Carina Claassens
Carina Claassens
Updated: 24 April 2017
Whether you’re after an expensive one-of-a-kind gift or something small and quirky as a memento, you’re guaranteed to find a unique souvenir when visiting South Africa.

 

Ardmore ceramic art

Ardmore ceramics, founded in 1985, is known for quirky, colourful and interesting pieces, from bowls and platters to vases and tea sets. The ceramics are made by local artists and each item is completely unique.

Ardmore urn

Ardmore Ceramic Art was established by Fée Halsted on Ardmore Farm in the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains of KwaZulu-Natal | Courtesy of Ardmore Ceramic Art

Amarula liqueur

This cream liqueur, made from the fruit of the African marula tree, is possibly the best known South African drink. Serve it over ice or at room temperature and, for those that like to indulge, it’s delicious over ice cream.

Beadwork crafts

Beadwork crafts are available anywhere in South Africa, from curio shops to street corners. The products are all handmade and range from almost any animal you can think of – in any colour you can think of – to flowers, candle holders and more.

Bead work animals

Beaded giraffes at the popular Chameleon Craft Village in Hartbeespoort, North West | ©South African Tourism/Flickr

Handmade baskets

Handmade baskets have become extremely popular in interior decor and South Africa is the place to take your pick. Baskets are available in all shapes and sizes, colours and styles. Check out Mia Mélange’s beautiful range, available to shop online.

Mia Mélange baskets

These cone shaped baskets are available in three sizes and is a great storage solution | Courtesy of Mia Mélange

A makarapa hat

A makarapa is a painted hard hat worn by sports fans. The hats are decorated with cut outs and the colours and flags of sports teams and they are sold at sporting events as well as in stores specialising in South African craft.

Makarapa hats

Makarapa hats are spotted at most South African sporting events | ©Wikimedia

Leather handbags

There are many local designers producing beautiful, quality leather bags, including many who work in ostrich leather, which is often used in South Africa. Pick up a Missibaba handbag- they’re available in a range of designs, from clutches to sling bags and backpacks, and incorporate beautiful patterns.

Missibaba handbag

A signature Missibaba sling bag | Courtesy of Missibaba

Rooibos tea

Rooibos tea is a South African household staple and comes in a range of different flavours, with the higher value brands being packaged beautifully. If you’re looking for a present for someone who isn’t a tea drinker, pick up some Rooibos beauty products instead as they are budget-friendly and ideal for skincare so they make great gifts.

Rooibos tea leaves

Rooibos tea leaves | ©Akuppa John Wigham/Flickr

Spices from Durban

Durban, Kwazulu-Natal, is possibly the best city in South Africa to chow down on flavoursome curries. Evidently, it’s also great for stocking up on spices if you visit one of the many bazaars or markets.

Spices

At The Spice Emporium visitors can learn about different spices and how to cook with them | ©Akhil Chandran/Unsplash

Xhosa Shweshwe fabric

Shweshwe is beautifully patterned and coloured cotton fabric, traditionally worn by Xhosa women. Choose from ready-made clothing, cushion covers, bags and more, or if you prefer, you can simply buy some fabric cuts to take home.

Blue Shweshwe fabric

Shweshwe is traditionally used to make dresses, skirts and wrap around clothing | ©Laurice Taitz/Flickr