For the International tourist, shopping in Cape Town can be relativly inexpensive due to a favourable exchange rate and comparatively low production costs for local goods. Jewellery is particularly inexpensive as many of South Africa's most talented goldsmiths and jewellery designers live in Cape Town. I have to say there is some serious "Bling" about ! Textiles are well priced as is leather & sportswear goods. The same applies to art works, antiques, books etc.
However, if you are looking at wine, rather purchase direct from a wine estate as it can be slightly cheaper and it is a great excuse to meander through the winelands ! You can also buy South African wine and have it delivered to the UK, either via the wine farm or online at www.sawinesonline.co.uk
NOTE - Currently you are not allowed to take wine as aircraft hand luggage unless purchased ONLY from Duty Free inside the airport terminal.
THINGS TO NOTE - Most Cape Town shops accept all the major credit cards and travellers cheques and of course cash. Very few now accept local cheques. There are also foreign exchange bureaux in most shopping malls. There are plenty of ATM's (hole in the wall machines) all over Cape Town.
Also, supermarkets charge for plastic carrier bags.
Tipping - Some shopping malls and centres will have trolley / car parking staff. A tip of R2 to R4 is normally given to those that find you a car parking space or help with your trolley / shopping.
VAT Refunds may be claimed back by foreign tourists / non residents on items being taken out of the country. You are required to have the original VAT Invoice, Passport, Flight Ticket, plus the items available for inspection. They must be presented at a VAT or Customs and Excise office, In the V & A Waterfront,which is situated on the second floor of the Clock Tower Centre. In order to complete the paper work, you would need to produce all your invoices, passport as well as confirmation of flight details. The operating hours are: Monday to Saturday 09h00am – 17h30pm; Sundays 10h00am – 17h30pm.
or if you have time, at Cape Town Airport, prior to departure and you are required to fill out a VAT refund control sheet (VAT255)
Inbound Duty Free Allowances per person -:
50ml Perfume,250ml Eau de Toilette, 2 Litres of Wine, 1 Litre Spirit, 200 Cigarettes, 50 Cigars, 250 g of Tobacco. New or used goods not exceeding R3000 in value.
Outbound Duty Free Allowances are the same and also detailed in the Useful Information Category under Staying & Playing.