Durban on the east coast of Africa is famous for its long stretches of golden beaches and warm waters, but it’s also a city where you can find secondhand gems and save some money. Read our guide to the best flea markets and thrift stores in Durban to make sure you get some sun and savings.
Car Boot Flea Market
The Car Boot Flea Market was established in 1992, making it one of the oldest of its kind in Durban. It’s situated in the heart of Durban, on the old circus site behind the Greyville Racecourse, and offers plenty of free parking for those wanting to peruse the many stalls. This convenient access and the facilities make the Durban Car Boot Flea Market a great option for a family day out or a shopping trip. It’s open every Sunday from early morning until early afternoon and is a dream for thrifty hunters. Shoppers can look forward to a range of items, including bedding, videos, DVDs, CDs, curtains, sportswear, bicycles, tools, carpets, tiles, light fittings, crockery, cutlery, ornaments, books, and a whole lot more. Make sure you get there early to find the best bargains before they’re gone.
The SPCA in Kloof runs a shop aptly named The Fine Feathers Ladies Boutique. This little store stocks a variety of everything, from computers, furniture, kitchenware and books to secondhand clothing donated by well-wishers of the animal shelter. They’re open every Monday, Thursday and Saturday from 8am to noon, and on the last Sunday of every month from 9am to 1pm. For first dibs on their vintage goods, visit them on Thursday mornings when they restock the shop. Beside the chance of finding a hidden treasure at a bargain, you’re also supporting a good cause, as funds raised go toward helping the animals in the shelter.
Secondhand furniture at The Stables | Courtesy of The Stables
The Stables Lifestyle Market
In the heart of the city, close to the stadium and near the beach, you can find the Stables Lifestyle Market. Approximately 230 stables have been renovated into little stalls, with the emphasis being on home-grown and craft-type merchandise. The Stables has it owns charm and atmosphere, with live music and affordable prices that make it a cheaper choice than the burgeoning rise of hipster markets in Durban. The market is a maze of stalls, with vintage clothing stores, secondhand book stores and a number of products that range from household mops to homemade soaps. Even with all the changes made to modernise the complex, the market purposefully still looks like stables and each stall is named after a famous race horse to add to the ambience. The Stable Lifestyle Market operates twice during the week: Wednesdays and Fridays from 6pm to 10pm, and weekend trading is on Sundays from 10 in the morning until five in the afternoon.
If you don’t mind digging through piles of clothing, Windsor Road in the business district of Pinetown is lined with clustered secondhand stores. TJ Clothing (67 Old Main Road), stocks a variety of quality secondhand clothes at bargain prices. Some churches in the area host jumble sales or run charity shops from their premises; Christ Church on Mellar Road in Pinetown hosts a monthly jumble that is worth a visit if you’re in the area. Thrift shopping in Pinetown requires a lot of patience, but it could just pay off when you locate that jacket you’ve wanted all your life.
The Highway Hospice has three branches in Hillcrest, Pinetown and central Durban. Like the SPCA, they sell various discounted, donated items ranging from books and clothing to household items, like teapots and vases. The funds raised go toward the hospice, so not only are you picking up a bargain but you’re also supporting a good cause. For more information visit their website.
Factory Café have teamed up with Colombo Coffee to produce a space where you can not only get hip new and secondhand clothing, but also some of the best coffee in Durban. The café hosts Button Up, a clothing store that sells secondhand and new clothing every Saturday from 9am. They also have vintage goods for sale in the factory and the first ten people through the door in buttoned-up shirts receive a free cappuccino.
I Heart Market, located at Moses Mabhida Stadium on the first Saturday of every month, is known for its trendy and hipster atmosphere but also has some secondhand stalls that sell quality vintage clothing and bric-a-brac. In fact, you could literally find a few gems, with some stalls selling vintage jewellery with varied and colourful histories. The secondhand clothing stalls have good quality clothing that have often not even been worn and still carry their tags. The price may be a little higher than usual secondhand-store buys but the quality is what you pay for.
The town of Uvongo on the KwaZulu Natal Hibiscus Coast has had a flea market for the past 19 years (run by the Rotary Club) that still serves the community every Saturday. There are 160 stalls to choose from and you can buy almost anything, from fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, cheese, clothing, toys and games to secondhand bits and bobs. An open-air tea room provides a wonderful area to relax with friends for a weekly catch-up while enjoying a cup of coffee and a slice of homemade cake.
One of the most famous and long-running flea markets in Durban, this bright and busy flea market was first based in the Amphitheatre section of North Beach, but in recent years, due to zoning issues, has moved across the road to the parking lot. It’s held every Sunday along the Golden Mile, on Durban’s Beachfront. The market is the perfect place for a day excursion with the whole family; children are catered for with a jumping castle, food stands and a wide selection of interesting stalls. The Amphitheatre spills out onto the beach – perfect for a long stroll. It offers visitors a taste of food from around the world, including Indian food such as rotis, curry, samosas and, a real Durban treat, cut pineapple sprinkled with masala. It also has Zulu curios, beaded neck pieces and discounted wood and leatherwork.