We’ve all been there — not enough vacation days to skip work and make a Friday flight to sunnier shores. If you’re heading to Africa from the US, you will lose a day in flight (or on a layover) and ultimately arrive on Sunday aka “the day of rest”.
Normally, you might assume that this will be the perfect time to get rid of jet lag and otherwise take it slow. In South Africa, you can do this in style — the farmer’s market scene is amazing and unique from city to city and is the perfect recipe for getting in some relaxation while soaking in the vibe.
From Johannesburg to Capetown to Stellenbosch and beyond, South Africa’s farmer’s have dumped the overalls and muddy boots in exchange for stylish residences, organic cuisine, and seasonal craft cocktails served up to residents and visitors on Sunday mornings.
Here are our top picks in each city:
Market on Main
If the savoury aroma from Tutto Food Co’s ginormous paella pans aren’t enough to keep you here until they kick you out, the rooftop cocktails, eye-popping art, and beautiful people should do the trick.
Housed inside the Arts On Main creative hub in the Maboneng Precinct, Market On Main is a weekly food & design market with over 100 independent traders. The market reflects it’s a bohemian community, choosing both style and substance in selecting the best in food and design loved by culinary experts, food entrepreneurs and food lovers.
Be sure to leave room to explore the vintage goods section and bring home some souvenirs you won’t find at the airport.
Market on Main
Opening hours: Sundays 10 am to 3 pm
Location: Maboneng Precinct, Johannesburg
Fourways Farmers Market
An actual living nursery, the Fourways Farmers Market feels like walking into a fairytale. Perfect for a picnic or a boozy brunch with friends, you can sit under the shade of South Africa’s storied Jacarandas, layout on the lawns, or sit surrounded by the seasonal plants filling the air with the wonderful scent of eternal spring.
The owners carefully select produce and products ranging from organically grown vegetables, herbs to farm eggs, locally made cheeses and cured meats. Baked goods, Jams and Preserves. Sustainable sourcing and local agriculture take the stage with about 50 vendor stalls run by marketers eager and passionate about their product.
Fourways Farmers market
Opening hours: Sundays 9 am to 2 pm
Location: Sandton, Johannesburg
Not to be outdone, the “mother city” boasts a large share of weekend markets with Sunday hours. The lush greens and mountain backdrops of the cape set the tone for an easy breezy way to meet people and go with the flow.
V & A Market on the Wharf
From Charcuterie to Corn Dogs, Tacos to Bubble Tea the V & A Market on the Wharf has one of the most wide-ranging selections of food ready to have your mouth watering as soon as you walk through its doors.
Not your traditional farmer’s market, V & A is styled like a global food bazaar with more than 50 permanent vendors offering a taste of the world under one roof. If that’s not enough MasterChef South Africa runner-up Sue-Ann Allen runs a demo kitchen at the market that can be reserved for private functions.
You can have your belly full, tastebuds tingling, and a stunning waterfront view at less than 100 South African Rand per person!
V & A Market on the Wharf
Opening hours; Sundays 9 am to 7.30pm
Location: Waterfront District, Capetown
Bay Harbor Market
Located in a renovated fish market at the edge of the sea; the Bay Harbor Market with its sweeping mountain views is home to over 100 vendors.
Perfect for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you can find everything from Tunisian cuisine, Seafood platters, Oven-fired Pizza to gourmet Sandwiches, speciality soups and everything in-between.
A well-known market, it’s best to arrive earlier in the day to avoid the crowds or come just before closing to catch the last set of one of the many live bands that grace the market’s KWV Soundstage.
Bay Harbour Market
Opening hours: Sundays 9:30am to 4pm
Address: 31 Harbour Road
Stellenbosch & Western Cape
If you’re lucky enough to have access to some wheels (or be willing to do a long-haul Uber) shake off the jetlag and go the extra mile (s) out to Stellenbosch or Western Cape for a true Farmer’s Market experience.
The experience at one of the region's vineyards is unparalleled and if you go during the summer (Oct — Feb) you are in for a sunnies and selfies filled start to your trip.
Val de Vie
Irresistible food stands offer a variety of delicious bites from oysters, pies and gourmet delicacies to decadent sweet treats. Drink stations selling bubbly, wines, local beers and fresh juices are close to nearly all of the stalls, making an even bigger case for taking the ride.
The Sunday market also features live polo matches, an added bonus if you’ve never seen one. Not as stuffy as you might think, you’ll see Capetown hotties and even young families enjoying a day of “leisure” at the market.
The Market at Val de Vie
Opening Hours: Sundays 10 am to 3 pm
Location: Jan van Riebeeck Drive
Surrounded by vineyards, rolling hills, and tree saplings (through a sustainability partnership with TreesSA) Root 44 definitely hit the mark on idyllic. With close to 100 traders, the market has something for oenophiles, beer aficionados, and foodies alike.
Much like other markets in the Western Cape, the vibe is very family friendly for the “hip tot” in you. A cool perk: the onsite treehouse available for a private rendezvous or kid’s party depending on your “thing”.
Address: Audacia Wines
Corner of R44 & Annandale Road