CapeTownMagazine.com

Milnerton Flea Market in Cape Town

Unwrapping Cape Town with you.
Also engage with our other channels
to find something you don't want to miss.
 
www.capetownmagazine.com/subscribe
CapeTownMag
CapeTownMagazine.com
capetownmag

Milnerton Flea Market in Cape Town

A treasure trove of colourful collectables, rare bargain finds and eclectic odds and ends

Last Update: December 21, 2016

Finding a desired item for a meagre R20 at one of the Mother City’s many artisan fairs – or anywhere else these days, for that matter – is a near impossible feat. Nonetheless, I was tasked with just that: take a twenty, head down to Cape Town’s sprawling Milnerton Flea Market and pick up something spectacular. For someone who’d rather ride white elephants than search for them (pre-owned bits and pieces typically sold at church or garage sales), the challenge seemed almost unattainable; much to my surprise, though, when I arrive at the outdoor bazaar one balmy Saturday morning, I discover a cornucopia of choices.

Established over two decades ago in Milnerton (it moved more recently to Paarden Eiland), this lively open-air trading space, which populates an extensive stretch of land straddled by Marine Drive on one side and the cool Atlantic Ocean on the other, is not only one of the city’s largest, oldest and most iconic informal fairs, but a veritable Disneyland for deal seekers, a heaven for irredeemable hoarders. 

Aside from a gaggle of somewhat arbitrary, discounted household utensils and foodstuffs (think cheap batteries, wall plugs and Kellogg’s Corn Flakes packets), the kid- and canine-friendly souk’s key specialities are inexpensive second-hand goods, dusty old odds and ends, discarded bric-a-brac and antique collectables. Weekend after weekend, the almost interminable lines of temporary stands (there are over 250) are littered with an endless assortment of what some may deem treasure amidst a vast array of what many would consider trash. 

And it would seem that it is, in part, the thrill of sifting through the clutter and seeking out that one rare hidden gem, that irresistible bargain find, that keeps the throngs of market-goers – a mix of serious collectors, incurable magpies, nostalgic Afrikaans elderlies, deal-hungry artisans and curious tourists– coming back religiously several times a month.

“I just love old things with lots of character,” proclaims one avid buyer as she caresses her new purchase, an ornate floral Victorian vase I had my eye on only moments earlier. “You have to really look to find the good stuff, but every now and then, you’ll pick up something very valuable.”

As I stroll down the fair’s wide tarmac walkways on such a quest, passing by numerous make-shift trestle tables and open car boots laden with porcelain gravy boats, elaborately-decorated antique jugs and tea sets, unwanted wetsuits, copper door knockers, vintage accordion cameras, gold-plated buddhas, old records, vehicle parts, light fittings and glass kitchenware, I briefly hover – more out of interest than an intent to make my big R20 buy – over war medals at an intriguing militaria stand. 

It’s clear from the chatty Russian owner’s vigour and enthusiasm, and from the general vibrancy of the bazaar, that for many traders here – from the irregular casuals to the committed permanents – this is more than just a matter of making money; it’s a hobby, a passion, a social pursuit.

“This market isn’t just a place to sell goods,” explains the seasoned antique dealer who, for almost 20 years, has been devotedly sourcing priceless pieces from auctions and garage sales, and who, for some questionable reason, refuses to pulge his name. “It’s like a club, like a family; everyone knows their neighbours.”

Nearing the end of my loop and somewhat worn out from the visual overload, I stop and sit for some respite near one of the fair’s several food stalls – trailer-like stands that sell anything from waffles, pies and spring rolls to croissants, coffee (instant no doubt) and curry mince – and nibble on a sugary pancake. It’s from this resting place that I finally spot my must-have piece.

Across the bustling path dotted with intent bargain hunters and bric-a-brac gathers, amongst laboratory flasks and oddly-shaped mugs sits, glistening in the midday sun, a pretty cut-glass decanter marked with a stick-on price tag declaring its value: R25. 

“Can I have it for twenty?” I ask the veteran vendor manning the booth, motioning to my desired find and trying my hand at a little haggling, a practice that’s as common at a market like this one as grandmas’ adored white elephants. 

“It’s yours,” he grunts, already wrapping it up tightly for me in old newspaper and a thin blue plastic packet. 

And just like that, in a city where neither sweets nor cigarettes go for such a ‘pittance’ anymore, I trundle away to the adjacent parking lot with my little treasure in tow, bank balance still more or less intact.

Tip: Be sure to arrive at the Milnerton Flea Market early as most of the best bargains are had before 10am (a time when most Capetonians are only starting to wipe slumber from their eyelids); also, go on a Saturday rather than a Sunday to benefit from new stock before the weekend crowds roll in.

Opening Times: Saturdays:8am - 2pm,Sunday:8am - 3pm and public holidays (excluding Christmas Day and Good Friday)7:30am - 2pm

Marine Drive (R27) and Milner Road Intersection | Paarden Eiland | Cape Town

VideoCredit: theLocalTourist

---

Take a trip down memory lane for one night only with Cole Porter at Let’s Do It!

Looking for fairs located a little more centrally? Have a gander at our overview of markets in Cape Town’s City Bowl.

Great vibes, over 115 stalls, live music, delicious food and planet-friendly recycling at the monthly Thrift Fest.

---

Teens can pick up the exciting skill of photography with this Photography Boot Camp for teens

Also, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, join our Google+ circle and check out our Pinterest boards for updates.

Cape Town Events Calendar
August 2019
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

afcon_hockey_tournamentWatch Africa’s Hockey Stars Pave ...

Can our local teams earn their place in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics? And will South ...

Ash_EvansBecome A Video Star

Learn how to handle yourself on camera

blowfish_new_4Half-Price Sushi Every Wednesday and ...

And drink in the sunset and view (and a cocktail)

Jedi Tedi 3Drink Rosé & Find Inner Peace

Yoga, meditation and rosé on tap at this Women’s Day brunch in Milnerton

sounding_the_voidDiscover the Art of Listening At A ...

A free audio exhibition exploring fantasy islands, suits that give you a different ...

goudini_buffetA Sunday Buffet That’s Worth Taking A ...

Take your swimming gear along and enjoy the hot pools while you’re there

Kinky BootsSmash-Hit Kinky Boots Now On At The ...

With music by Cyndi Lauper, several Tonys and a Laurence Olivier Award

chicha2Sundays at Chicha!: Wine Tasting and ...

Beat the Sunday blues with wine, tapas and live music

ac_marriott_roast2Treat the Fam To a Sunday Roast at AC ...

Don’t feel like cooking? Relax in the elegant AC Kitchen and let their chefs prepare a ...

Comedyclub_new12Half-Price Sunday Special at Cape Town ...

Experience Cape Town’s funniest comedians (for less on Sundays) at the Waterfront’s ...

LaParada22End The Weekend Right: Sunday Funday ...

Round off the weekend by dancing the day away at La Parada Constantia Nek’s Sunday ...

Om Revolution vinyasa poseHave an Outdoor Yoga Experience with ...

Embrace your inner yogi outdoors

Coco Safar 16The Weekend Spoil: Luxury Breakfast and ...

Sea Point’s premier all-day cafe offers a breakfast worth waking up early for, and a ...

Bugz Playpark in Cape TownMake Sunday Funday For The Whole Family ...

End the weekend on a high note with fun rides, educational play and something for ...

Vergenoegd_duckrun1Cheer On The Ducks At Vergenoegd Löw

Bring the kids along to experience the Duck Parade

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips

Curious to make exciting discoveries in Cape Town every day? "LIKE" us for a daily hidden gem.