Thrift items on hangers in a thrift store

The Best Clothing Thrift Stores In South Africa

Over the past few years, thrifting has really picked up - especially in South Africa. However, thrifting has been a booming industry for ages throughout the rest of the world. 

Europe, in particular, has been at the fore of creating what the thrifting scene is today.

Nonetheless, South Africa is a resilient nation, and thrifting has increased. 

Some parts of South Africa have more established thrifting scenes but be that as it may, each province has its own thrifting culture, which contributes to South Africa's unique thrifting experience.

Throughout the 9 provinces nationwide, each province has its own unique flare. Some offer a more retro item, while others provide a more modern twist to preloved fashion. 

Below is a comprehensive walk-through of the thrifting scene per province, highlighting specific cities that contribute significantly to making thrifting what it is in South Africa.

Western cape

To start off strong, we have a very well-established Western Cape thrifting scene. The Western Cape often mirrors the European scene in that it offers a substantial bit of every type of vintage.

Picked straight from the 80s, some of the Western Capes thrift stores have some of the most unique retro preloved items, which are quickly making a comeback.

Power suits, two-piece sets and leather coats are making a comeback, and the Western Cape scene has grabbed that opportunity with both hands and made it its own. 

What is becoming more of a trend now than ever is something called upcycling. Here, vintage items seeming dated and "out of fashion" are taken apart and then restructured to create new garments.

You can find some of the Western Cape's most buzzing and incredibly creative thrift stores in either Cape Town, Stellenbosch, or Knysna. 

Most of the physical stores are located in Cape Town, but Stellenbosch and Knysna offer a quaint thrifting experience that should definitely be on everyone's bucket list

Thrift Stores In Stellebosch

Northern Cape

Home to the iconic Kimberly Big Hole, Northern Cape is another that offers quite an exciting shopping experience.

Although very different from the others, the Northern Cape caters more to antique shoppers than anything.

Thrift Stores In Knysna

Holidaymakers often drive into or through the Northern Cape's charming towns and leave with one-of-a-kind pieces that add character to any home.

Some of these antique stores are sparsely spaced but can mainly be located in either Kimberly or Upington. However, that should not deter you. 

The Northern Cape has so much to offer. What better way to explore than to see the sights and find these hidden gems along the way.

I guarantee there is something unique for everyone, whether it be a wooden sculpture or a well-kept brass piece, that would be a spectacular addition to your home. And an even better reminder of your travels.

Eastern Cape

One of my favorite places to travel to is the Eastern Cape, because of its rich history as well as the depth of the culture. As the native home of the Xhosa tribe, the thrifting scene in Eastern Cape is one like no other, literally!

Although the province is not as established as the Western Cape thrifter, the Eastern Cape's niche seems to be that they love BOOKS!

As a fellow book lover, I love a good vintage book store that takes pride in preserving the look and feel of an aged book. What's more, the seaside scenery is incredibly picturesque and just heightens the experience.

Aside from the bookstores, there are fantastic antique stores in East London and Port Elizabeth, specifically in the Beacon Bay and Nahoon areas.

thrift garments on clothing rail
Thrifting In South Africa
Thrifting In South Africa


A common misconception, at least on my part, is that Limpopo is a bit of a dark horse in terms of thrifting. But surprisingly, there Limpopo has quite the up-and-coming scene, thrifting-wise. 

Although they are an emerging thrift scene, there is a bit of everything from antique furniture, to preloved clothing, to second-hand books, to little trinkets for your home decor. Definitely worth the visit.

Kwa-Zulu Natal

KwaZulu Natal is no stranger to the thrifting scene. In fact, they may even be considered one of the top 3 thrifting provinces in the country. 

KwaZulu Natal's vibrant culture offers a unique thrifting experience that caters for people of all ages. Similar to the Western Cape, there is an elaborate selection of vintage clothing.

Specifically, there are quite a few flea markets and thrift stores in the Durban area, especially along the waterfront.

Their thrifting culture is more retro but definitely has a more culturally historical feel. It is fantastic because once you have lunch along the beach, you can walk down the waterfront and shop to your heart's content.

North West

For a small province, North West is starting its thrifting journey off strong. In my opinion, creating a thrifting scene with clothing is always easier because everyone needs clothes at any given point.

This is what has happened in North West, specifically in bigger cities like Rusternberg, but also in smaller towns such as Groot Marico and Zeerust. Their thrifting community is still small, but there is excellent potential to grow.

Vintage clothing writing lit in LED light
Thrifting In South Africa
Thrifting In South Africa


If "thrifting for locals" was a place, Mpumalanga would be just the place for it. Similar to the North West, the thrifting scene is predominantly clothing, but honestly, there is a bit of everything from home decor items to clothing to tourist souvenirs.

It is trendy amongst holidaymakers passing through the province and going to other more remote gaming and camping areas. Coupled with its picturesque views, visiting these humble surroundings should be at the top of your holiday destination list.


Last but definitely not least, we have one of the bigger and more established thrifting scenes in Gauteng. With the bigger provinces such as Western Cape, KwaZulu Natal and now Gauteng, there is an array of what you can find and the type of preloved items you find.

While Western Cape, for instance, is more retro, Gauteng takes on more of a street style-inspired preloved approach. What Gauteng offers that many others do not is a preloved marketspace such as Wisi-Oi that one can buy and sell online. An innovative platform that brings preloved fashion to the rest of the country no matter where you live.


Final Thoughts

So wherever you are, doing whatever you are doing, or wherever you live, you are guaranteed to find something. But if you are looking for an excellent place to start, Wisi-Oi is a great option. 

However, if you would like to walk into stores, use this as a guide on your next trip or when you decide to go exploring.


  • Mashudu Lauhangwa

    Can you pls keep me posted all the time

  • Careen Mabuza

    May you please expose and alert me to recent clothing as especially found in Gauteng.

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.