African Crafts in the Harbour

African Crafts in the Harbour

African Crafts in the Harbour
African Crafts in the Harbour

Hout Bay, nestled between the mountains and the ocean, is where crafters come to ply their trade. It is also here that most seal or shark spotting cruises leave so its the ideal spot to trade to tourists.

As I walked through this craft market it was hard to believe that I was only a 20 minute drive away from the Cape Town city centre.

This craft market has a wide range of African art and curios including pottery and wire crafts, woodwork and even painted ostrich eggs. I was quite surprised to see that it has little in the way of South African art. Most of the art and crafts in this market is either made in Zimbabwe, Lesotho or some other African country. Though the art is beautiful, it is just sad to think that our own local artists lose out in this deal.

It is funny how synonymous any and all “African ” art has become with South Africa. People associate African wooden masks and even West African drums with South Africa. It the blending of a thousand different cultures contained on one continent and mistaken as one.

We can probably not blame all the tourists if this is their perception as this is advertised as a local South African market and the goods are all sold as “South African made”. All over the country so far I have found “local craft” shops selling beautiful crafts created not only in South-Africa but in “African” countries. It feels like Cape Town has become one of the big offset points for arts and crafts from all over the continent.

Although it is not a large market it is definitely worth a visit for the location and atmosphere. After wondering through the market and maybe purchasing an African key holder you can relax at the lookout deck with a glass of local wine before heading back to the city.




  1. Here in Canada we have ‘fair trade’ stores that buy products from Africa and other countries directly from the artists so that they get the best price for their work and not have to go through a middle man. Are the crafts in this market sold directly by the artists? It sounds like that my not be the case.

    Liked by 1 person

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