Tips for Finding the Trendiest Travel Souvenir in George
Holidays in the Garden Route are all about breathtaking hikes, balmy weather and beautiful beach days. However, no holiday is complete without a spot of souvenir shopping. The best travel keepsakes are often handmade items that offer a genuine glimpse into the local culture. Shopping for crafts supports local entrepreneurs and helps to promote sustainable tourism. We’ve compiled a list of the top crafters, artisans and markets offering special mementos in George.
Featured: The Outeniqua Family Market
The Outeniqua Family Market is a treasure trove for authentic, locally produced handcrafts. Heaven Soaps is a small Wilderness-based producer making bespoke handmade soaps. Their blissful bars are made with organic olive and coconut oils. They are free from harmful or artificial additives. Heaven Soaps are cold processed with natural botanical ingredients, sourced from the local fynbos, forest and veld. Bring home a bag of Garden Route Bath Salts fragranced with African Rose Geranium or a bar of African Black Soap with banana plantain. LIFE Community Services is a Christian NGO working with orphaned and vulnerable children in George. LIFE has a fantastic local reputation for reaching out to more than 4000 children every week, through their dynamic education and feeding programmes. This charity helps to tackle youth unemployment and uplift women through a project called ISIPHO. The project (meaning ‘gift’) employs six ladies who sew, knit and crochet. Their beautiful fabric dolls, pretty African Shweshwe dresses and cotton beanies are sold at the Outeniqua Family Market.
A piece of Goldfish Jewellery is the quintessential George souvenir. Jewellery designers, Reinette and Zak Edgar, draw inspiration from the splendour of the Garden Route to craft unique silver and gold jewellery. The couple’s design studio is located on Merriman Street, but they also have a stall at the Outeniqua Family Market on a Saturday. You can’t leave George without a sterling silver ‘Wave’ or ‘Feather’ Stacking Ring or a delicate ‘Map or Africa’ pendent. Their earrings feature local wildlife and sea life, including starfish, chameleons, Knysna Loeries and pansy shells. The Honeybee Charm is a local favourite.
Featured: Wonki Ware
No tourist can visit George without a visit to Di Marshall’s pottery emporium. Wonki Ware Pottery is located at 42 York Street. Di Marshall is a household name in George and her “beautifully imperfect” Wonki Ware Pottery has become world famous. Locals are fanatical about the factory store on York Street, a great source of killer bargains. Mix and match different styles of dinner ware, jugs, mugs, pasta bowls and some of the potter’s genuine experiments. Some of the items at the factory shop never make it to the city lights of Jozi or Cape Town because they are a slightly different shape or colour, so you can pick up an absolute steal. Locals love the lace printed ‘Etosha’ Dishes. These large versatile serving platters are designed with high sides to hold sauces, dressings and fruit.
Wonki Ware is locally handmade, painted and fired. Their George factory employs 70 people. A fascinating insight into their production process is offered at the ‘Pottery Garden Café and Pizzeria’ where you can have a coffee while watching the potters at work. For tourists returning overseas, the small dipping bowls, coffee cups and soap trays travel well when packed. The store also stocks table cloths, serviettes, aprons and art work.
Featured: Bee Botanique
Bee Botanique on Caledon Street is a gold mine for botanical themed local gifts. Interior designer and plant enthusiast, Madél Janse van Rensburg has a wide range of funky potted plants as well as trendy soft furnishings and décor items curated to enhance beautiful living spaces. Pick up a bottle of Babylonstoren Aperitif or a bespoke terrarium. Select from a range ofceramic, fabric or wicker planters and macramé planter holders. Bee Botanique also stocks Fijn Botanical Cosmetics from the Karoo, floral placemats and deliciously scented Madame Luna botanical candles.
Blue Forest Book Shop and Collectables on Market Street is a rare find. It’s a classic family-owned second-hand bookshop in the heart of old George. The Blue Forest is a dusty atmospheric booklovers dream. It has crooked aisles, mismatched shelves and odd tables filled with both popular fiction and antique books. There are cosy spots for reading, including a few ancient armchairs. Browsing is a pleasure; ask the owner for recommendations. They even have a rare book section filled with literary gems; including rare antiquarian and Afrikana, history, art, classics and Afrikaans literature.
Featured: Bummel Shoes
If you fancy a practical souvenir of your stay in George, pop into Bummel Shoes on York Street. This small family-owned studio has been making genuine leather shoes and leather goods since 1990. ‘Bummel’ is a nod to the owner’s Germen heritage and means ‘to stroll’. Bummel shoes are certainly made for mountain wanders, desert rambles and beach hikes. These kicks are handmade in the traditional stitch-down construction. Bummel shoes are ultra-comfortable, and made with a firm focus on quality materials and real artisan craftsmanship. They have become a massive hit with locals, who have their Bummels resoled over and over again. Check out their soft suede Veldskoens, black and white Nguni hide ballerina pumps and strappy sandals. Bummel make rugged men’s hiking boots, elegant formal shoes and fashionable belts. There is a cute range of button up booties for kids too.