11 More Things to Put on your Shopping List for South Africa

shopping list for South Africa


My previous post, 19 Things to Put on your Shopping List for South Africa, proved quite popular. Everyone jumped in and had another item they wanted to add to my list, particularly in the food department. Every nationality feels quite strongly about their particular foods.

So I thought I’d give you Part Two featuring all those essential reader additions. It’s Black Friday today. There is no better time to go online and do some serious shopping. Click on any of the links below and it’ll take you straight to Amazon. It’s also a great way to support this blog. Any item you buy on Amazon when linking from here gives me some advertising $$ back. If you’ve enjoyed reading my stories, heading to Amazon straight from a link on my blog is a great way to show your appreciation. (And it’s SO much more relaxing than jostling with the Black Friday crowds in the stores!)

Happy Shopping!

More items for your South Africa shopping basket:


  1. Marmite. By request of Clara, of Expat Partner Survival fame. Know that I’m only doing this in the spirit of US-UK cooperation. It’s a nod to our English friends, including Clara, that we support them despite their serious lapse of taste. Whoever came up with a spread that tastes like you took a bunch of Knorr chicken bouillon cubes and mashed them up with some vegetable oil and molasses? Only the Brits, that’s who! It’s the biggest scam ever that UK parents pull on their kids, serving them Marmite on their toast and making them buy into the notion that it’s yummy, so that they grow up and their senses are so warped that they honestly think Marmite is such a desirable food item as to order it from overseas when living far from home. But as I said, we like to support our friends here and besides, this is a list of reader favorites, so there you are. (By the way, isn’t another horrible spread named Bovril the SA equivalent of Marmite? And who lays claim to that other one, Vegemite?)
  2. Nutella. For those of you like me who now have an urge to counteract that salty pungent taste in their mouth that the Marmite left behind, here is a nice treat – as my husband, with the fitting name of Noisette would attest, the greatest invention of mankind. Mind you, Nutella can be bought no problem in South Africa, but typically in much smaller jars. Whereas here in the U.S. you can get gigantic jars of it. Although that can be deceiving. The very cheapest Nutella can be found in Germany. While the above link will take you to Amazon.com where the pictured jar (33.5 oz) is sold for $18.33, on Amazon.de you can find a 450g jar, which is about half that size, for €2.49. Times two equals €4.98 which translates to $5.31, which is a whopping $13.02 cheaper than the U.S. price for the same amount of Nutella. Soooo – you might want to hold off on the Nutella purchases if you’re coming from the U.S. I really only listed it here to get that funny taste out of my mouth.
  3. Graham Crackers. Lara wanted to make sure I added those. I think one can make a nice living without these, but I will say they are definitely gentler on your teeth than a South African rusk.
  4.  Hershey’s Chocolate. Now, while I agree that chocolate is much nicer on the tastebuds than a certain pungent salty spread, I still have to make a little fun of this one. Only someone growing up on Hershey’s chocolate will think that this is the best chocolate in the world. It is really more like the most mediocre chocolate in the world, if you compare it to Lindt or Milka, but I do realize that American expats are going to want their Hershey’s bars when overseas, if only to sit around a campfire and make S’mores (with the addition of the Graham Crackers plus the next item on my list). You’re going to encounter plenty of campfires and braais in South Africa, and plenty of balmy evenings to sit around them to roast marshmallows (which are perfectly easy to source in South African stores).
  5.   S’more forks. To supplement above two items, while you’re at it. I’m sure it will go over well with your South African host when you bring those the next time you’re invited over and stick them into his braai.
  6.  Indoor S’mores kit. Digressing a little bit here, but I couldn’t resist. This might make a great present for the soon-to-be-departing expat in your midst.
  7.  Toilet Paper. I know you will now say Here she goes again, given my track record of toilet talk, but this was Anne’s idea, not mine. She strongly felt that toilet paper should be on the list if you move from the U.S. to Europe, because your bum will thank you. Toilet paper in German and apparently Switzerland can be quite harsh on your nether regions, to put it mildly. Although it still beats the kind I remember from traveling to France as a kid and feeling very confused when what came out of the dispenser at the public restroom had the feel of those sheets of waxed paper you use at the grocery store to grab donuts with to put into a paper bag. You know, shiny and slick. Totally does not do the job of toilet paper. What were they thinking? Anyway, I feel quite strongly that Charmin Ultra is the best TP there is. I didn’t really miss American toilet paper in SA, so it must have been okay. Definitely not European. But I’m putting old Charmin Ultra on this list anyway.
  8.  Lipton Onion Soup. Suggested by Darleen. Guys, this is another American thing. You have no idea how useful this is for us. It’s sort of like the baking soda of food – you can simply make anything with it. At any given Thanksgiving potluck I bet you that at least 5 out of 10 side dish casseroles have Lipton Onion Soup mix in them. Anytime a non-American would just add a little salt and pepper and perhaps some Worcester Sauce, the American cook will reach for the Lipton Onion Soup packet. Brilliant stroke of marketing by Lipton, I must say.
  9.  Cheerios. How could I have forgotten those? My favorite are Honey Nut Cheerios. I don’t eat them often, as I hardly ever eat sweetened cereal, but when I do, there is no stopping. they are SO good! Are they really not for sale in South Africa? Or maybe just more expensive?
  10.    Pencils with erasers.Yellow pencils are almost as quaint an American institution as yellow school buses. But Darleen, who suggested these, is onto something. Thinking back, I realize that all the pencils I bought in SA over the years did not have any erasers on them. The kids didn’t seem to mind, so I never missed those. What I missed more was my automatic pencil sharpener, another great American invention. Ours died the first week when someone plugged it into a 220V outlet without the transformer. Poof! (Please see the previous list for the transformer. You definitely need one of those, not just to operate your pencil sharpener.)
  11.  Not-Starbucks Coffee. I got the message loud and clear that Starbucks was NOT something greatly missed by most, so to make up for this lapse, I thought I’d feature the coffee brand that was highly recommended by Jeff as a great alternative – Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC.

On that note, I’ll take my leave for today, because the coffee beans reminded me that my morning cappuccino beckons. And wouldn’t you know it, combined with the previous list, I’m now at a nice and tidy number of 30. Now I can sleep easier.

Do let me know your comments and suggestions. I’m sure we’ll meet again for some more online shopping in the near future!

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