Joburg Expat: The Expat Shopper in Johannesburg

July 16, 2015

The Expat Shopper in Johannesburg

I'm not the world's biggest shopper. I don't love the excitement of going out there to hunt for bargains. I don't revel in waiting with bated breath for the grand opening of a long-awaited store. And I don't go all crazy over finding my favorite brand-names far from home.

Because I don't love shopping, I've become really good at making it efficient. Especially as a newly-arrived expat, you need to know where to buy your steaks, your chocolate chips, your converter plugs. Especially your converter plugs, if you live in a country like South Africa where all the power outlets are wrong, no matter where you've come from.

I've come a long way from my first shopping trip in Johannesburg as a newly-arrived expat, that day I found myself staring at an empty fridge that needed to be filled before the kids came home. I somehow learned the ropes of shopping in Johannesburg, painful trip by painful trip, and even though I'm not a bright-eyed Mommy blogger who inundates her readers with links to all the things they absolutely must own, I have put together a surprisingly long list of tips on where to buy all sorts of different stuff in Joburg. So I thought, why not share it with you all in one place to save you the trouble.

You may have to do a bit of work and scroll to the bottom of some of these posts to get to the place where I reveal where you should go or XYZ, only because I learned the painful way. I apologize if you have to read through some of my complaining to get there.

In Johannesburg, this is where you buy your...


Groceries
Baking supplies
German sausage (for Germans only:-)
Good bread
Cappuccino
Electric appliances
Drugs and beauty supplies
School uniforms
GAP clothes
Furniture
Picture frames
Gardening and building supplies
Gas bottles (and refills)
Sporting goods
Sports, Health, and Wellness
African crafts
Stone art from Zimbabwe
Christmas trees (the real deal)
Christmas tree (the fake kind)
Books
Goods on Amazon (not really)
Anything you can't find anywhere else (aka street vendors)
Used stuff
Used cars
If you have to ship it from the U.S.

I'm sorry if this picture is misleading; this is all the stuff I had trouble finding in South Africa.