Johannesburg

Locally made Joburg gift ideas

07 Dec 2022
'Local is lekker (good)' as they say and we love supporting and promoting homegrown brands. From beautiful homeware pieces and cool statement T-shirts to the finest artisanal food and drink items, here's our always-evolving guide to fantastic Joburg gifts made by local small businesses.

JOBURG TOURS AND EXPERIENCES

Joburg is full of interesting things to see and do, and the best way to experience the city is with a local tour guide leading the way. Book a Joburg walking or cycling tour or inner city immersive storytelling experience for a friend and you're not only giving an extra unique and fun gift, but supporting a local small business. Check out some of our favourite tour guides and companies below, and see their websites for availability of specific tours that you can book as a gift or join yourself.

JoburgPlaces runs unique guided walking tours and experiences that focus on the inner city and storytelling — sharing entertaining tales of Joburg's gold-rush origins, its glory days and its eventual spectacular decline, and the fascinating story of the city's rebirth during the past decade. Joburg 360 Tours offers a variety of guided walking tours that explore the historic neighbourhoods of Newtown, Troyeville, Marshalltown and Braamfontein, with a focus on the larger than life characters who shaped them. If you enjoy cycling, consider one of MicroAdventures themed bike ride tours of the city (or further afield, to the Cradle) or book a Soweto cycling experience with the excellent Lebo's Soweto Bicycle Tours. Another favourite is the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation, an advocacy organisation that lobbies for the protection of Joburg’s historical buildings and runs a diverse range of walking and bus tours, led by local heritage specialists, that focus on the city’s history and architecture. The Johannesburg Heritage Foundation offers an annual membership package that provides preferential rates on all tours, as well as invites to exclusive events. Booking a tour or membership would make for a special local gift, and look out for discounted membership rates, offered during the festive season.

 

FOOD AND DRINK

Handmade chocolates from Chocoloza

Sample gift box of luxurious handmade chocolates from Chocoloza.
A box of the best handmade Belgian chocolates from Chocoloza can never fail to impress. Trained in Belgium, chocolatier Vicky Bain’s chocolates are made using only the finest ingredients and she likes to experiment with flavours, meaning that every season there are always new and unusual varieties to try. (There are even vegan and sugar free ranges!) Visit the Chocoloza shop at 44 Stanley and mix and match from more than a dozen flavours – sampling them yourself before you choose what to gift is all part of the fun!

Locally roasted coffee

Special coffee roasts, mugs, and other java-themed gifts for sale at Bean There coffee shop at 44 Stanley.
In Joburg, coffee is not just a drink, it’s a lifestyle and the city now has an incredible range of independent coffee roasteries making unique blends to choose from, packaged as beans or grounds for the perfect gift. One of the very first Fair Trade coffee roasteries to open in Joburg is Bean There, whose coffee shop at 44 Stanley is a lovely place to sit and savour the heavenly smell of roasting beans while enjoying the finest cup of coffee, then perusing the curated shelves. Other favourites include Coffefe coffee bar in Birdhaven, Double Shot Coffee and Tea who also make excellent organic tea blends and small batch flavoured syrup, Father Coffee for their neatly packaged signature blends, the super friendly Craft Coffee who have a branch in Parktown North, and Motherland Coffee Company who have several Joburg branches and a good online shop. Check out our guide to great gifts for coffee lovers for more inspiration. 

Joburg craft gins and spirits

Craft gin hamper from Primal Spirits.
Among our favourite Joburg craft gin labels is Time Anchor Distillery, whose colourful Mirari range magically changes colour when you add tonic. Their online shop also stocks a special gift range, where you can mix and match small bottles of a variety of flavours. Primal Spiritswho have a distillery at Victoria Yards, have a beautiful range of craft gins on offer, including a neat little Taster Box containing small bottles of each of their four signature products. Check out our guide to Joburg's craft spirits and cocktails scene for more inspiration, including additional local gin labels, as well as other locally made artisanal spirits such as Leonista, a mezcal-like libation made from agave harvested in the Karoo, and Tapanga Rum, who brew their amber rum from sugarcane grown in KwaZulu-Natal. 

Short-form cookbooks by local authors from That Food Guy Shop

That Food Guy is a uniquely South African initiative that seeks to create and invest in opportunities for underrepresented individuals and communities in the food and beverage sector. Its latest venture is a publishing arm and accompanying e-commerce shop that showcases local and international voices from across the industry. Concurrently, That Food Guy Shop released its own exclusive series of short-format cookbooks by new South African authors. Available in both digital and paperback versions, the series of cookbooks includes guides to breadmaking (Ons Dagliske Brood by Chef Corvin Pietersen of Broodkop Bakery) and healthy eating (The Healthy Plate by Payal Ramdhial), among others.

Sweet treats from The Lollipop League

Handmade lollipops featured in The Lollipop League's Botanical Gift Jar.

Available online and at various retailers including the The Pantry market, The Lollipop League make small batch, handmade lollipops and candies that make for the perfect stocking stuffers, or gift acompaniments. For the kids in the family, or the young at heart, these delicate confectioneries are as beautiful to look at as they are to eat. The range of lollipops includes unique flavour combinations such as pineapple and paprika, orange blossom and fennel, and amarula and butterscoth, adorned with garden-fresh herbs, fruit pieces, petals, seeds, spices, gold leaf, and other edible decorations. You can also place a custom order, blending your own flavour combination or inserting a personalised image into the lollipop.


DECOR AND HOMEWARE

Quirky homeware by Rialheim

The Rialheim store at Rand Steam in Richmond.

Rialheim specialises in fun and functional ceramic design items that are uniquely South African, with an updated retro feel. The studio's flagship store is at the cool Rand Steam centre in Richmond. We love Rialheim's statement plates, bowls and platters which come variously shaped as skulls or hippos, or embellished with whimsical elephants or piglets, as well as their elegant vases, table lamps (the French bulldog which carries the lamp cable in its mouth is particularly adorable) and the beautiful little plant pots that have the power to transform any humble balcony garden. In addition to their flagship showroom, you can also find Rialheim at the SOKO District in Rosebank Mall.

Luxurious linens from Mungo Designs

Shelves of options at the Mungo Designs showroom at 44 Stanley.

Started by Master Weaver Stuart Holding in 1998, Mungo Designs features an exquisite range of natural fibre woven textiles, all locally milled in Plettenberg Bay, which make great gifts loved for their balance of contemporary design and traditional weaving techniques. Passionate about preserving the traditional art of weaving everything is made using only repurposed and antique looms. You'll struggle to find more beautiful blankets, throws and 100% linen bedding and bedcovers than those made by Mungo. The label is also renowned for their signature flat weave towels which come in a range of geometric designs. For taking to the beach the light kikoi style towels, available in a variety of colours, are super versatile and can double as a sarong, picnic blanket, dress or headwrap.​​​​Visit the Mungo Designs showroom at 44 Stanley to browse the latest collections in person.

African objet d'art from Amatuli Artefacts

The treasures of Amatuli Artefacts.

Long-established suppliers of unique and original African artefacts and objets d’art. This awe-inspiring showroom is filled with collectable items such as central African Kuba cloths, handpainted West African barbershop signs, Zanzibari doors and Yoruba beaded chairs among many other items of curiosity. There are beads and basketry, beautiful fabrics and so much more plus treasures from plenty of other destinations including Morocco and India. Visit the stunning Amatuli Artefacts showroom at 6 Desmond St, Kramerville. Next door is the Razor Charlie Eatery, perfect for breakfast, lunch or coffee after you shop.

Contemporary handmade ceramics

Storm in a Teacup's handcrafted ceramic gifts.

From dinnerware to vases, delicate homeware items to showstopper decor pieces, the selection of handmade ceramic items produced at boutique galleries and shops across Joburg is a delight. At each of the spaces mentioned below, you’ll find the perfect handmade ceramic gift for you or someone else.​​​​​​ At Sue Weston's Storm in a Teacup store at 44 Stanley, every item is handmade in South Africa or Swaziland and exquisitely crafted. Danish-trained ceramist Kim Sacks stocks collectable ceramic pieces, produced through artistic collaborations, in her eponymous gallery conveniently located along Parkwood's Art Gallery Row. Here you'll also find baskets, wood carvings, textiles and beadwork (look out specifically for the irresistible Marigold Beads), items from tribal art to contemporary museum-quality handmade objects that span rural and urban makers. Actually Ashleigh takes blank ceramic pieces and transforms them with colourful contemporary designs into functional art. Her whimsical designs are all once-off and her ceramic creations include bird feeders, butter dishes, pitchers, and a particularly fun oil and vinegar bottle set.

Unique finds from a local market or antique fair 

The maker's market at Victoria Yards First Sundays open day.

Joburg has its fair share of markets, from weekly mainstays the Bryanston Market, The Playground and the Rosebank Sunday Market, to once-a-month or seasonal pop-ups, including First Sundays at Victoria Yards and the Linden Market. Markets are hands down one of the best places in Joburg to find unique artisanal gifts, while supporting a huge variety of local makers working in a range of mediums, from beads and basketry, to ceramics and jewellery. Not to mention, the social atmosphere of a market, live entertainment, food trucks, and kids activities that often accompany the retail vendors, make for a particularly enjoyable day out while gift shopping. And if you're on the hunt for something truly one-of-a-kind, check out Gauteng's top antique fairs, the monthly Brooklyn's Antique Fair in Pretoria and Nelson Mandela Square Antique Fair in Sandton.

House plants from JFF Rooftop Farm

The lush urban garden and nursery at JFF Rooftop Farm in Braamfontein.

If you're looking to bring the outside in, look no further than JFF Rooftop Farm, a public rooftop garden and micro-nursery accessible only via ladder in a discreet city courtyard in Braamfontein. Aimed at urban gardeners with balcony and patio gardens, JFF Rooftop Farm has a beautiful collection of unusual aloes and cacti on sale, as well as larger house plants, and the knowledgable staff are very willing to help point you in the right direction. They recently opened a second location, the JFF Plant Shop, at 44 Stanley

A bountiful bouquet 

A daily bouquet for delivery from Petal & Post, whose shop is in 44 Stanley.

And if you don't have a green thumb to speak of, we suggest going all out on flowers, always a welcome gift for any occasion. We love The Gorgeous Shop on Parkhurst's 4th Avenue for their spectacular arrangments. Florist to the stars Johannes van Greunen's Hyde Park Corner florist Botanicus is another great place to pick up statement bouquets that will definitely not be mistaken for something you just picked up at the garage on the way home. Petal & Post is an independent e-commerce florist based out of 44 Stanley whose posey arrangements arrive beautifully wrapped and which can be ordered online for same-day delivery. You can also buy special Petal & Post gift packages at their online store that include flowers and other items like handmade soaps and luxurious sweet treats.


FASHION AND ACCESSORIES

Heritage blankets by Aranda Textiles

The Bodulo blanket in Sahara/Natural, one of the limited-edition designs from Aranda's Young Basotho Designers Collection.

Located in Randfontein just outside Joburg, Aranda Textile Mill is one of the oldest blanket, throw and shawl manufacturers in South Africa. Especially known for their beautiful heritage blankets, Aranda’s latest limited-edition range — the Young Basotho Designers Collection — comprises 10 original Basotho blankets, designed by multi-hyphenate young creatives from diverse backgrounds including fashion and beauty, interior and furniture design, art, music, and filmmaking. The striking blanket designs are inspired by traditional art and symbols of the Basotho people and lifestyle, and each come in a variety of colour options and are made from wool and acrylic. 

Guillotine at 44 Stanley

Ophelia Forever by Olivié Keck imprinted on one of the L'MAD limited edition silk scarves available at Guillotine.

Boutique conceptual design and fashion store Guillotine by Lisa Jaffe is one of our favourite places for timeless, chic fashion inspiration. With a longstanding flagship store at 44 Stanley and an online retail site, Guillotine sells its own range of limited edition women's fashion collections, and represents and partners with other top female-led, sustainable South African brands. Guillotine's luxurious ready-to-wear collections are designed to be cross-seasonal and multi-purpose with the intention that you can curate a long-lasting capsule wardrobe around a few beautiful essential items. At the 44 Stanley Guillotine boutique you can find a finely curated collection of items from other local woman-led brands we love, including L’MAD Collection, a South African luxury fashion label that works with African artists to create beautiful, limited-edition garments and accessories such as silk scarves; Cape Town accessories and jewellery brand Pichulik; Carla Pinto and Zydia Botes' beautiful knitwear label Romaria; and Simon and Mary bucket hats.

African designer labels from AfricaRise

AfricaRise in the Joburg City Centre and Sandton City has a range of contemporary African fashion designers to check out.

A must-visit store for contemporary African fashion, launched in 2019 by leading South African fashion designer Thula Sindi, AfricaRise now has three fashion emporiums — in Sandton City, in the City Centre at 66 Anderson Street, and at Menlyn Mall in Pretoria, each showcasing an exciting array of top African fashion brands whose labels aren't usually found in high street malls. Each designer has been given space within the store to represent the unique aesthetics of their brand, creating a colourful and inviting shopping experience and there's an amazing collection of items on sale for him and her, ranging from jewellery and accessories to suits and evening wear.

African fabrics from Makotis

Traditional African fabrics at Makotis.

Makotis (meaning ‘bride’ or daughter-in-law in Zulu) is one of the largest retailers of African traditional fabric in South Africa and is run by the Wadee family, who have been selling traditional fabrics and bespoke garments in downtown Joburg since 1961. At the perennially busy shop at 112 Helen Joseph Street in the heart of Joburg's historic Fashion District, you can browse for different shweshwe fabric designs in the biggest range of colours and prints from Da Gama's original Three Cats Shweshwe label. There is also a wide range of other traditional African fabrics, including those from the Zulu, Tsonga, Xhosa, Sepedi and Venda traditions, as well as typical Basotho blankets. 

Joburg themed T-shirts and homeware from Love Jozi

One of Love Jozi's popular unisex T-Shirts, designed and manufactured right here in Joburg.

Love Jozi, an innovative South African T-shirt and design company, mixes urban fashion with social consciousness and humour, finding design inspiration in optimism about the rise of Joburg as a world city. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. As well as their iconic Joburg T-shirts, Love Jozi also produce a fantastic range of accessories and homeware such as bags, greeting cards, candles, mugs, key racks, bookends and posters, emblazoned with graphic designs that reference the city's streets, neighbourhoods, skyline and other familiar Joburg iconography.

Contemporary jewellery from Tinsel gallery 

Elegant earrings in silver with gold leaf by jewellery designer Karien van Langelaar, available at Tinsel gallery.

Geraldine Fenn and Eric Loubser's exquisitely curated jewellery gallery Tinsel showcases unique contemporary pieces, as well as locally-made work by other South African top designers. Fenn and Loubser are champions of contemporary jewellery design in South Africa, and their store and studio in Melville is an exquisite showcase of the art and craftsmanship of jewellery making. Tinsel puts contemporary jewellery in its rightful place as a recognised art form. The pieces you will find here are not mass-produced, cheaply-made high street designs and neither are they flashy status symbols. Each piece is unique, with a story to tell and hopefully, a connection to make with its buyer.

Knitwear from Wrapt

The iconic The Joburg Throw from Wrapt.

Based in Victoria Yards, Hannelie Bekker's Wrapt is a specialist in manufacturing high-quality knitwear from South African wools including merino, mohair and cotton. The label is all about creating beautiful pieces using sustainable fibres, and each piece is knitted at the Victoria Yards and then finished by hand. The only way to describe that is special. The online shop stocks an incredible range of items, from jumpers and hats to tank tops and cardigans, although for a gift you can't go wrong with a scarf or a luxurious wrap. The 100% cotton The Joburg Throw, embellished with an abstracted silhouette of the Joburg skyline and available in teal or chartreuse, is especially beautiful.

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