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“Gritty and authentic” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Greenmarket Square

Greenmarket Square
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Private Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens Photography Tour with Cape Malay Cookery...
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Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Greenmarket Square is one of Cape town's oldest markets, full of crafts, jewelry, clothing and curios at a great value.
Sebastopol, California
Level Contributor
144 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“Gritty and authentic”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 July 2014 via mobile

My partner, who is not used to markets in the "Third World," wondered why so many of the hundreds of stalls here sold such similar items, creating so much competition among sellers. Answer: because here, like North African souks, is where potential buyers congregate.
Came to Greenmarket looking for a fairly carved elephant that would represent the "parent" of the 6" one I'd purchased at a considerably smaller open air market in Livingstone, Zambia. Only found one man selling what I was looking for but, after some pleasant conversation that eventually moved to price negotiation, got a 15 lb., beautifully carved item for about 40% of the initial asking price. Airport metal detector confirmed my hope that the weight was a function of high quality hardwood rather than a lead plug secreted inside.

What I'm getting at is that if you're a bit wary and are willing to spend a few minutes in good-natured haggling, you can acquire some good quality craft objects from all over Southern Africa at prices far better than in nearby shops. Also a good place to buy accessories made in exotic leathers from farm-raised animals like ostrich & kudu. On the other hand, many sellers offer only modest, seemingly mass-produced tourist kitsch.

You will pay far to much and miss out on an opportunity to see how small merchants earn their living if you cannot or will not haggle. As one seller explained, his $400/month rent defines his lowest price point.

Lastly, Greenmarket gives visitors an opportunity to see how a significant portion of the local population earns a living and to get a sense if their personalities.

4 Thank Don L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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843 reviews from our community

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English first
Level Contributor
990 reviews
302 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 485 helpful votes
“Wonderful shopping experience”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 July 2014 via mobile

We are staying at the Holiday Inn Express in downtown Cape Town and this market is a two minute walk from our hotel. We were ready to barter and knew from the start to offer 50% of what they were asking for items and negotiate from there. Everyone was very friendly and funny and while they can be insistent - like others we wanted them to make a profit too. Walk all around first and ask questions then go back to shop. If you promise to go back to a stall do so - I was rewarded for my integrity by lovely stall owner Lucy because I kept my promise and she gave me a great deal on some wooden items I wanted. They take all currencies - dollars, pounds, Rand so we found that helpful today when my hubby needed money for a mask - the stall owner took US dollars and gave us change back in Rand! No Bureau de change fees lol! Everything is reasonable and it's a great place for souvenirs or gifts for friends/co-workers. Lucy told me the square used to be a slave market - so it's historic too.

2 Thank mwooduk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level Contributor
520 reviews
83 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 151 helpful votes
“Tatty not good for the soul Avoid”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 July 2014

Unpleasant really Horrible atmosphere

The notion persists that FLEA MARKETS are alluring. Not really true.

For bargain seekers and for the bored.

Parking space very limited. So called car guards are very greedy and can spoil your day by making false claims re saving you from traffic fines etc

Visited July 2014
Thank 871edieh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
20 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Massive Range Of Gifts & African Items.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 July 2014

A pretty square in the centre of Cape Town. Whilst the market looks pretty setup for tourists - this isn't a bad thing.... Massive range of items from craft to art. People have mentioned about the prices - but based on what the actual cost is, i'm not too concerned.... Who is really going to barter over $2. The best part of the visit her however was Crazy Joe - the musician on his drums who had a great crowd going and was full of joy and energy. Clearly loved Cape Town and a great advocate for it. Some of our experience here - http://youtu.be/PvA_mX9GuR0

Visited July 2014
1 Thank OzNicko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Low Grade African Tourist Tat”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 July 2014

I am just a tourist and this was only my second visit to Africa and I knew that this market was filled with low grade tourist tat. Go look at the shops and markets around the Greenmarket such as the Pan African Market but the Greenmarket is only worth a quick look on the odd chance something good might be there.

Visited July 2014
1 Thank gadmia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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