This was our first visit to Cape Town so we didn’t have any expectations about what things cost or the cost of living generally, so we were surprised to find it fairly affordable, especially when it came to grocery shopping. Here’s our Cape Town shopping list for visitors staying in a holiday rental.

While the cost of groceries – as well as eating out – in Cape Town wasn’t as cheap as Buenos Aires and Mexico City, two of our more recent destinations, and were more on par with Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town wasn’t as expensive when it came to self-catering than, say, Costa Rica.

Like everywhere we’ve been this year, in Cape Town it made more sense to buy local – and that’s where you can make savings. Prices for, say, a local jar of chutney or jam, were significantly lower than a similar imported product, which isn’t the case everywhere. And who wants to eat a French jam that you can find in supermarkets all around the world, when you can buy something made in Cape Town that you might not find elsewhere?

Terence did quite a bit of cooking at our holiday rental in Cape Town, making dishes he’d learned on the Cape Malay cooking course as well as perfecting his Tomato Bredie, a classic Cape Town stew, and as the local ingredients were good (especially the delicious sausages the Capetonians love to barbecue!) it made sense to eat in and cook occasionally. Believe it or not, it doesn’t always.

We had a good supermarket, the Pick n Pay, just a two-minute walk from our house at Camps Bay. It was perfectly fine and it satisfied our needs, though it would have been nice to have a bit more choice when it came to shopping for groceries in the neighbourhood. If we wanted more variety we had to head to Woolworths at the V&A or in the city centre, or to the Neighbourgoods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill, Woodstock.

We were also baffled as to why there wasn’t a good wine shop or liquor store nearby and we’re still not really sure why there isn’t, however, the fact that there wasn’t was a good excuse to shop at Caroline’s Fine Wines, in the city centre and at the V&A, which are absolutely brilliant. Or to head out to the Winelands! More on that in our next and final Cape Town post…

Below, in the first column you’ll find prices in the local currency, the South African Rand (ZAR) and in the second and third columns the conversion to UK£ and US$. The exchange rate was accurate on the day this post was published, so do check the rate again before you travel and when you arrive in your destination.

2 litre wate ZAR8.50 £0.76 US$1.22
1 litre milk ZAR$9.00 £0.81 US$1.29
Bottle of local wine ZAR$90.00 £8.06 US$12.87
330ml beer ZAR$6.50 £0.58 US$0.93
100g Nescafe ZAR$59.00 £5.28 US$8.43
250g coffee beans ZAR$37.00 £3.31 US$5.29
50 tea bags ZAR$16.50 £1.48 US$2.36
1 kg sugar ZAR$8.20 £0.73 US$1.17
Jar of jam ZAR$23.00 £2.06 US$3.29
1 loaf of bread ZAR$15.00 £1.34 US$2.14
250g quality butter ZAR$14.90 £1.33 US$2.13
200g cheese ZAR$19.50 £1.75 US$2.79
500 ml oil ZAR$74.00 £6.63 US$10.58
1 doz organic eggs ZAR$29.00 £2.60 US$4.15
1 kilo tomatoes ZAR$10.00 £0.90 US$1.43
1 kilo onions ZAR$7.00 £0.63 US$1.00
1 kilo apples ZAR$8.00 £0.72 US$1.14
250 g pistachios ZAR$52.00 £4.66 US$7.43
1 Mrs H.s. Ball’s Chutney ZAR$17.50 £1.57 US$2.50
Total: ZAR$504.60 £45.20 US$72.14
End of Article

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