Holiday season is upon us, so let’s be jolly and embrace the love and spirit of sharing. You know what they say, sharing is caring and when you’re about to swan off to some exotic location, we are pretty sure your loved ones would appreciate a gift upon your return. South Africa is known to have very unique creations of all types and for all tastes. Here are a couple of ideas we recommend for you to bring back something authentic back home whilst trying to avoid the clichés of South African souvenirs
BETTER THAN ROOIBOS TEA…ROOIBOS INFUSED BEAUTY PRODUCTS
The rooibos plant grows exclusively in South Africa’s fynbos and is used mainly for tea making but has long been used in traditional South African medicine, where it is claimed to treat all manner of skin problems such as acne, eczema, sunburns, itchy rashes, allergic reactions and general irritations. Being both high in antioxidants and free of caffeine, the health benefits of drinking rooibos are similar to green tea.
We all have this one woman or man in our life who enjoy pampering themselves so why not treat him or her to something unique, useful and gentle to make them feel good. South Africa offers a wide variety of amazing and natural beauty products from local brands such as Africology or African extract which will assist in relaxation and the uplifting of their mood.
SOUTH AFRICAN CRAFT GIN
South Africa went through a process of coffee and beer enlightenment; gradually realizing that just like wine, there’s a huge world of expertise, craftsmanship and appreciation out there that is waiting to be explored. Gin is the latest craze in Cape Town and boutique gin distilleries are popping up offering unique handcrafted gin with wonderful brands and stories to go with it. From liquorice and citrus flavours to nutmeg and even fynbos, each gin distillery has its own secret recipe and technique to give their gin its depth of flavour, infusion of natural botanicals, character and story. We highly recommend the Musgrave pink gin, distilled by the hope on hopkins distillery. This rose water based pink gin is aromatic with exotic notes reflecting the spice route of africa, and let’s be honest, it just looks so glorious.
If you happen to be in Cape Town and enjoy a good G&T then do yourself a favor and give some of Cape Town’s new gin bars a try, here a couple of addresses we recommend – the Secret Gin bar on Wale Street and Mother’s Ruin Gin bar in Bree Street and Daddy Cool in good old Long street.
SOUTH AFRICAN WINE
Let’s just be honest, wine is always a good idea and South Africa is well-known for its ability to make world awarded wine. You can either buy wine directly from a wine estate, or from any reputable liquor store. The majority of wineries lie in the cape winelands of stellenbosch, paarl and franschhoek, a trio of towns about an hour east of cape town. You can have your wine shipped home, or you can take a small quantity with you in your checked luggage (packed in bubble-wrap or an equivalent container, to avoid breakage). Wine glass markers with an animal theme are a nice accessory to help you remember your trip. We highly recommend the Almenkerk 2013 Vineyard Selection, a true South African wine.
UNIQUE AND EXQUISITE BEADED JEWELLERY PIECES
South Africa is emerging in the fields of art and design and has taken the world by storm in the last few years. Why not select a design piece of jewellery for a friend or someone you would like to impress. South Africa’s jewellery is known to be beautiful and original and you’ll find pieces for everyone’s taste. For the bold and bright women in your life, we recommend Pichulik – a bespoke range of accessories designed by Katherine-Mary Pichulik. Each piece is handcrafted in Cape Town using locally manufactured ropes and interesting found materials. Inspired by african and middle eastern ornamentation, Pichulik creates statement pieces for bold and courageous women.
For more minimalist women, we recommend Dear Rae. Each Dear Rae piece is designed and made by Karin Rae and her hand picked manufacturers at her Cape Town based studio. The studio and workshop create one space, allowing the ancient art of jewellery making to be exposed to all who visit.
There is no doubt that South Africans are a crafty bunch. South Africa is up and coming as a design nation and people all across the country are producing a wide range of arts and crafts, from street vendors to highly acclaimed designers, you will find wonderful things to take home with you. These range from pretty tableware, Christmas tree decorations and magnificent embroidered cloths to the simplest of items, such as keyrings and candle-holders. Shops, markets and collectives dealing in African craft are thriving, providing much-needed employment and income in local communities. The V&A Watershed is a unique spot for that kind of shopping experience so make a turn and you will be delighted by all the variety of crafts available to you.