10 Traditional Souvenirs To Buy In South Africa

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

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

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.

Beaded giraffes at the popular Chameleon Craft Village in Hartbeespoort, North West

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.

These cone shaped baskets are available in three sizes and is a great storage solution

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 are spotted at most South African sporting events

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.

A signature Missibaba sling bag

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

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.

At The Spice Emporium visitors can learn about different spices and how to cook with them

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.

Shweshwe is traditionally used to make dresses, skirts and wrap around clothing

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Culture Trip Summer Sale

Save up to $1,665 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article