Price Check: a Cape Town Shopping List. Camps Bay, Cape Town, South Africa. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Price Check: a Cape Town Shopping List

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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.

Price Check: a Cape Town Shopping List

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

Price Check is a series of posts from every destination we visit where we settle in for a while, that could serve as a shopping list for you to stock the kitchen at the start of your stay, as well as a cost of living index, giving you an idea as to what things cost in that place. We include some basic items to get you started, plus a local specialty or two from the place.


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A travel and food writer who has experienced over 70 countries and written for The Guardian, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Feast, Delicious, National Geographic Traveller, Conde Nast Traveller, Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia, DestinAsian, TIME, CNN, The Independent, The Telegraph, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, AFAR, Wanderlust, International Traveller, Get Lost, Four Seasons Magazine, Fah Thai, Sawasdee, and more, as well as authored more than 40 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, DK, Footprint, Rough Guides, Fodors, Thomas Cook, and AA Guides.

8 thoughts on “Price Check: a Cape Town Shopping List”

  1. Gee, thats really interesting, I always thought supermarket shopping was super expensive, but its quite affordable huh. Excellent. Enjoying your journey guys.., SA sounds a blast.

  2. Some things were cheap, other things not so, and I think that has skewed our shopping list somewhat, because many people would simply forego the more expensive items while there. But it was fairly affordable.

  3. That oil must have been olive oil as normal cooking oil is less than ZAR20 for a 750ml. Prices are a little more than that now but it is 2014 so inflation :-)

  4. With the ZAR being so weak at the moment, South Africa is very affordable for overseas visitors especially the Australians, Americans and British

  5. Yes, it was olive oil. I think we said that in our very first Price Check post. The basic shopping basket we purchased in every destination on our 2010 trip consisted of olive oil that could be used for a basic salad (hence the tomatoes and onions) or a simple pasta. A lot of holiday rentals would already have some jars of herbs and spices and dried pasta in their pantries for guests to use but wouldn’t necessarily have olive oil, which can be more expensive. We also noted in both our first and last Price Check post of that 2010 trip that due to inflation prices will go up, so people should adjust accordingly before they travel.

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