Finding the perfect souvenirs to take back home for family and special friends can be a challenge. Discovering keepsakes that connect to local culture is fun and we think items which are functional, sentimental or downright quirky are the way to go. Here are some tips to get you started.
Make sure you understand your customs regulations: It is common to be asked to declare any gifts or souvenirs and some countries have particular rules about certain things. Some items like fruit, vegetables, plants, seeds, meat products, wooden items and some cultural artefacts might be restricted.
Be prepared: Pack all your souvenirs together so that if customs ask to inspect your luggage the process is easier. Keep all your purchase receipts too and have them on hand for the officials.
Think about your luggage allowance and limited space. Plan ahead and pack some clothing items you can leave behind for charitable purposes. This will free up space in your bag and put a smile on someone’s face at the same time. The Morukuru Goodwill Foundation (MGWF) can distribute to local communities in need.
Avoid mass-produced tacky knick knacks. We encourage the support of the creative economy and suggest you look for locally-made handicrafts instead of cheap touristy items. Local edible specialities are also great gift ideas as long as they comply with customs rules.
Don’t spend your holiday stressing about finding the perfect souvenir. Your trip is about new experiences and relaxing. There is no need to worry about finding the perfect memento. Some of our favourite, unbreakable and easy to pack South African products to consider are:
Rooibos tea– as served at all our properties. Also called “Redbush” this is a local tea that has been popular for generations prior to gaining worldwide recognition. International guests tell us It resembles hibiscus tea, in terms of taste and colour.
Rooibos is a member of the Fabaceae family of plants that grows in South Africa’s fynbos regions like the De Hoop Nature Reserve which you can spot when out on a ramble.
Pap: this will be a definite conversation starter back home! Pap is similar to fine polenta and you can enjoy it as a side-dish when tucking into a bushveld braai at Morukuru Family. We like to serve it with a rich tomato and onion relish.
African Fabrics: when in Johannesburg you will notice bright printed fabrics in traditional patterns, worn as skirts or headgear. Shwe Shwe is a local favourite and is quite commonly available. Local entrepreneurs have come up with clever ideas to showcase this fabric and use it for fabric-covered notebooks, fashionable footwear and stylish homewares like tablecloths or cushions.
Wire Art: Look out for exquisitely hand-crafted sculptures of animals, cars, motorbikes, birds, made using beaded wire, as well as tin and other recycled materials. These wire-craftspeople create amazing decorative items like napkin rings and other useful things like keyrings.
Beaded homewares: local craftspeople are famous for creating gorgeous, functional items – look out for beaded placemats, coasters and intricate food and jug covers made from recycled materials and local beads.
Jewellery: South Africa is famous for its abundance of precious gemstones – and something sparkly makes for a great memento. You have plenty of options available, from high end fine jewellery to affordable accessories made from interesting materials like rubber, recycled wire and locally crafted beads.
Music: A well-known African proverb says “When the music changes, so does the dance.” Take some South African music home with you and get your party started – from jazz to township; from Kawaito to Kwela or traditional penny-whistle jive – the rhythms will take you back to Africa.