When it comes to shopping, Cape Town has something for everyone—from sophisticated malls to trendy markets. Although African art and curios are obvious choices (and you will find some gems), South Africans have woken up to their own sense of style and creativity, and the results are fantastic and as diverse as the people who make up this rainbow nation. So in a morning you could bag some sophisticated tableware from Carrol Boyes, a funky wire-art object from a street vendor, and a beautifully designed handbag made by HIV-positive women working as part of a community development program.
Cape Town has great malls selling well-known international brands. The V&A Waterfront is an excellent place to start by virtue of its location at the harbor. Cavendish Square in Claremont and Canal Walk at Century City are also vast, the latter on the N1 heading out of town toward Paarl. But you could be anywhere in the world. Gardens Centre in the suburb of Gardens is small and manageable, offering a good selection of stores (Germans love it for the German deli). It's beyond the malls that you can get a richer shopping experience, one that will give you greater insight into the soul of the city and its people.
Shopping malls usually have extended shopping hours beyond the normal 9–5 on weekdays and 9–1 on Saturday. Most shops outside of malls (except for small grocery stores) are closed on Sunday.