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
May 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

Big Boys Don't DanceBig Boys Don’t Dance … Or Do They?

A decade since the creation of The Big Boys saga, the humourous dancers are back with a ...

Dylan Lewis Sculpture GardenExplore 7-Hectares of Garden Art ...

Veteran artist Dylan Lewis has over 60 artworks in this one-of-a-kind sculpture garden

Kizomba WeekendLearn To Dance The Angolan Lambada, Or ...

Workshops, socialising and lessons from the champs at one unmissable African-dance party

playful_veganSave Your Bacon With A Creative ...

Bring your own wine and let the conversation and laughter flow as your learn the art of ...

wine_of_exileNapoleon Loved Cape Town Wine. Find Out ...

Plus see Bonaparte’s cut-glass crystal goblets and taste the modern version of his ...

sundoo2019_10Lamb Curry to Duck Briyani and Bunny ...

Sundoo’s South-Indian-inspired tapas are ideal for that lazy lunch that turns into ...

grub_vine_8What Happens at Brunch Club at Grub & ...

Chef Matt Manning serves a two-, three- or five-course brunch

ghost_walksWalk With Ghosts In A Haunted Village ...

Discover the mysterious Lavender Lady, an unsinkable coffin, butchering barbers, exhumed ...

OX Seals 04Smile: You Get 10% Off Seal Snorkelling ...

Up close with wild Cape fur seals in small, intimate excursions that are super special, ...

tigger_2_royaleOn Bended Knee, Out At Sea, Aboard The ...

Turn the Tigger 2 Royale catamaran into your personal Love Boat, with their special ...

Teen Photography Boot CampTake Your Shot: Photography Boot Camp ...

The course includes live demo training, camera equipment to hire plus an official ...

Jack BlackBeers and Bands at Jack Black Brewery ...

Every Friday night the Jack Black stage is lit up with local talent

Knife 6A Meal and Sparkling Wine on the House ...

Knife will treat you to a free meal on any Saturday that falls in the month of your ...

Camissa Tour 5 2015Get A Unique Sunday Gospel Experience ...

Embark on a spiritual Sunday journey through one of the Mother City’s most soulful ...

Glowing Rooms 3Get a Great Saving on 3D Mini-Golf with ...

Pay a special rate for entrance into SA’s first 3D space-themed glow-in-the-dark ...

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

Embrace your inner yogi outdoors

Roast and Co Daily: Two Hours of 2-For-1 Specials at ...

Plus: Half-price on all “To Share” plates – see what’s on the menu here

Coco Safar Dinner NEW 2Indulge In Dinner and Dessert At Coco ...

And now they have added couture alcoholic cocktails to the menu at this all-day cafe

Battlefield Live SA Laser Tag Children's Events Cape TownSave on your kids’ birthday party ...

Make your kids’ birthday party extra special with outdoor laser tag with Battlefield ...

Radisson Blu 12Save on Having Your Dream Wedding at ...

Have a stress-free wedding when hosting it at this city location

Leopard's Leap Harvest Table 1Savour the Lekker in What's Local at ...

Discover South Africa through its flavours and traditions at a family-table event ...

zingara_manhattanBonding Experiences to Share with Dad ...

Use this day to reconnect with your old man

Fire and Ice Weekend PartyParty in the Fire & Ice Hotel Lobby ...

Live DJ, killer cocktails, 38 gourmet milkshakes and the chance to meet exciting new ...

digital_sangomaCelebrate Modern Africanness This ...

Discover a new way of expressing African identity with local arts, crafts food and music

Andre the Hilarious HypnotistThink You’re Immune To Hypnotism? ...

Find out why this veteran comedian can still makes people laugh with the same 25-year-old ...

Vergenoegd_duckrun1Cheer On The Ducks At Vergenoegd Löw

Bring the kids along to experience the Duck Parade

masque_theatreHeroes Assemble to Save A Local Theatre

See an award winning play and help actors save the Muizenberg theatre that started their ...

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips

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