Modern shopping centres across Africa began to boom in the last decade, signifying the growing middle class across the continent and its increased spending power. Malls are becoming a growing phenomenon in urban cities, with South African giant retailers such as Shoprite and Game, as well as French retailer, Carrefour, being the go-to giant retailers in the growing consumer market. Top notch markets and shopping malls in Africa are being build everywhere.
According to a study done by McKinsey, Africa’s spending power will be over $1 trillion by 2020, up from over $800 billion in 2008 as major African cities continue to experience rapid urbanization.
If you want to enjoy some retail therapy across the continent, the below markets and shopping malls in Africa are the ones to visit.
Two Rivers Mall
Two Rivers Mall, located on Limuru Road in close proximity to the affluent neighbourhoods of Runda, Gigiri, Nyari, and Muthaiga, is East Africa’s largest mall. The shopping complex covers 65,000 square metres, placing the Garden City Mall on Thika Road as the second largest mall in Kenya. There is a wide array of shops available, including French retail giant, Carrefour, as well as luxury fashion brands, Zara and LC Waikiki, luxury jewelry brand, Swarovski, giant apparel and sneaker stores, Nike, Adidas and Mr. Price, as well as popular indoor entertainment provider, Magic Planet. Kenyan brands that operate in the mall include Nove Coffee Roasters and The Designer Studio.
The mall opened in February 2017, and was a $10 million project partly owned by the investment company, Centum.
Gateway Theatre of Shopping
The Gateway Theatre of Shopping, located in Umhlanga Rocks in the KwaZulu-Natal Province in South Africa, is the largest mall in the Southern Hemisphere and on the continent, covering 220,000 square metres with over 390 stores and 70 eateries.
Gateway Theatre of Shopping opened in 2001, and has a wide array of South African and international fashion brands like Mr. Price, Zara, and Forever New. The mall features an 18-cinema Ster Kinekor complex, IMAX Theatre, as well as entertainment such as the Tony Hawk Skate Park which features a near-vertical ramp and two concrete bowls, as well as the Wave House, which is used by local surfers, body-boarders and, wake-boarders to have fun in the water while honing their surfing skills. The mall also has a hotel – The Gateway Hotel, making it easy for visitors to enjoy all the amenities of the mall complex, and all that Umhlanga Rocks has to offer.
West Hills Mall
The West Hills Mall, located about 30 minutes outside of the Accra CBD in Ghana, is one of the largest malls in West Africa. West Hills Mall covers 23 acres (over 93,000 square metres) and has a great blend of local Ghanaian and South African, as well as international brands, with major stores being Shoprite, Edgars, and Palace. The mall also has a large entertainment and recreational gallery that can host open-air concerts and theatre shows. The West Hills Mall opened in 2014, and it was a $93 million project by Delico Property Investments, Social Security, and National Insurance Trust.
Mall of Arabia
The Mall of Arabia is one of the largest malls in Egypt. It is located in Cairo, and has over 900 stores including popular brands such as Zara, Mango, and LC Waikiki, as well as a wide variety of restaurants and coffee shops, along with the hypermarket, Spinny’s. It is home to Egypt’s first dancing fountain that displays a show of sound and light in the evening until 11 p.m.
The Mall of Arabia is so big that you’ll need a couple of days to see it in its entirety. Popular days to visit the mall include Fridays and Saturdays.
Game City Mall
Game City Mall is the biggest and busiest mall in Botswana, located in the country’s capital, Gaborone. Game City Mall covers over 50,000 square metres, and has been operational since 2003. The mall has a variety of specialty stores, fashion stores and restaurants, including popular clothing retailer, Edgars, Levi’s, and Nike, along with the large department store, Game. Restaurants include popular franchises KFC, Chicken Licken, and Nandos.
Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market
The Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market in the Seychelles is not only a top tourist attraction for the island nation, but also the best market on the island to shop for fresh fruit, vegetables, spices, and fish. Located in the capital city of Victoria in Mahé, the market was built in 1840 and underwent renovation in 1999. The market remains the top spot for shopping not only for food, but also for souvenirs, art, and clothing, as well as for enjoying Seychellois cuisine at the various eateries available.
The Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market is open every day of the week; however, Saturdays are bustling with activity, which makes Saturdays the best day to visit or to go shopping.
Novare Lekki Mall
The Novare Lekki Mall, located in Lagos, Nigeria, is the biggest mall in Africa’s most populous city. The mall opened in August 2016 to cater to the rapidly urbanizing district of Lekki. It was an $83 million project by Novare Real Estate Africa and spans 22,000 square metres. Anchor stores include Shoprite and Game. Other signature stores include Nike, Swatch, and Levi’s. The mall also offers a cinema, an entertainment centre, and event-hosting capabilities.
Dantokpa Market, also known as Tokpa, is the largest open-air market in West Africa. It is located by a lagoon in the city of Cotonou in Benin and covers over 80,000 square metres. The market is quite busy, with lots of stalls, people, taxis and bicycles, so be prepared to spend a lot of time going through the market to do your shopping.
You can find everything from fresh produce, Ankara cloth, cosmetics, and gas at the market. The market also sells goods used in religious rituals, such as animal cloth, bones, candles, and herbs. Store owners are always willing to negotiate prices, so make sure to take any bargaining opportunities you may find.
Addis Mercato is the largest open-air market in Africa, located in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. You can find anything at this market, including Ethiopian spices, fresh produce, cloth, gas, and off course, you can find coffee and jebenas, which are used to brew traditional Ethiopian coffee.
The market is bustling with many people and transportation including animals, so a shopping spree at the market requires a lot of time. Interesting products you’ll find at Addis Mercato include sandals made out of recycled tyres and coffee pots made from old Italian olive tins.
Le Caudan Waterfront
Le Caudan Waterfront is one of the top commercial and entertainment centres of Mauritius. Located in the island nation’s capital, Port Louis, Le Caudan Waterfront sits next to the main market of the city, Port Louis Main Bazaar, which is a waterfront shopper’s paradise with about 170 boutiques to choose from, as well as a casino, cinema, and the Blue Penny Museum, which houses the island’s history. The luxurious hotel, Le Labourdonnais, and the business and leisure travel hotel, Le Suffren & Marina, are located next to the waterfront, making it convenient for visitors to enjoy the mall and the capital city.
The mall of Arabia, in Cairo, Egypt, is the largest shopping mall in Africa.
Previously viewed as an underdeveloped continent, huge steps have been made to modernize Africa including the building of world-class shopping complexes and malls. The big malls have attracted blue chip companies as well as world-class unique brands. Below are some of the largest malls in Africa.
The Largest Malls in Africa
The Mall of Arabia
Ranked as the largest mall in Africa, the Arabia Mall in Cairo, Egypt occupies a total of 267,000 square meters. Its construction is still ongoing. Owned by a Saudi Organization called Fawaz Al Hokair, it has a parking space for 9,000 cars. Located in Juhayna Square it has a total of 12 entrances. Once completed, will house luxurious hotels and modern cinema complex, international gyms and casinos, and shops that stock global products.
The Gateway Theatre of Shopping
The Gateway Theatre of Shopping is a vast modern mall that was built between March 3, 1998, and September 2001 by Old Mutual properties. Its architectural design was borrowed from America. Located in Umhlanga, Durban, South Africa, it occupies a total of 220,000 square meters and has 12,000 parking slots. Close to two million people visit the mall monthly to sample over 390 stores, movie theatres, 90 restaurants, skate parks, the highest fountain in Africa, and a science theme park.
Cairo Festival City
The new Cairo Festival City in Egypt is constructed on 70,000 acres to ease congestion in the old town of Cairo. Developed by an Al-Futtaim Group Real Estate, the mall houses the American International School, Motor vehicle assembly units, vast office spaces, international hotels, and fabulous villa apartments. A large theatre of 1656 seats was commissioned in 2015. The Cairo Festival City Mall is located in the Festival city and occupies close to 160,000 square feet with eateries and world-renowned hypermarkets. It has numerous stalls which stock products of world-class companies.
Located in Cape Town in South Africa, Canal Walk mall occupies 141,000 square meters and has over 400 outlets with a wide selection of household, luxurious products as well as jewelry. Opened in 2000, it is surrounded by a vast population that lives in over 300 luxurious homes. The landmark is the East and West Towers which provides modern office space. Tourists can enjoy a clear view of the Table Mountains and the famous Robben Island.
Mall of Africa
Occupying a total of 131,000 square meters with 6,500 parking slots, the Mall of Africa is located in Waterfall city, Midrand, Gauteng. It is rated as the biggest single phase mall in Africa. The mall is owned by the Atterbury Property group and has a magnificent hotel overlooking the Waterfall City Park. The architectural design was borrowed from geology in Africa, mainly the rain forests, minerals, deserts, lakes, and oil. Tenants include household names in the world like the Woolworth.
Owned by the Pareto Ltd and Liberty Holdings Limited, the shopping mall is among the oldest centers. Sandton City Mall opened its doors to the public in September 1973. It occupies 128,000 square feet with over 300 stores. Rated the Africa’s most prestigious mall, a shopper will obtain virtually everything under one roof, including all types of food. The outstanding tourist attraction is the Nelson Mandela Square.
The Two Rivers Mall
Located in Nairobi, Kenya, the mall derives its name from two rivers that streams near it. It occupies 65,000 square meters on 1,700,000 million square feet of land that also has modern residential houses, world-class hotels, and a 3,600-seat amphitheater. The mall is located just 29 kilometers from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport opened its doors to the public in February 2017. It is the largest mall in Central and East Africa.
Growing Popularity of Shopping Malls in Africa
The malls are made of world-class spectacular architecture that attracts tourists from across the world as well as bringing products close to the people of Africa. This has improved the living standard and made investors tap from the growing African economy. The malls are also popular among the locals who stream in, especially during weekends for various activities such as shopping and other fun activities. Malls are slowly becoming the center of attraction in Africa.
What is the Biggest Mall in Africa?
The Mall of Arabia in Cairo, Egypt, is the largest shopping mall in all of Africa with 267,000 square feet. The Gateway Shopping Center in Durban, South Africa, is the second largest, at 220,000 square feet.
The Largest Shopping Malls in Africa
|Rank||Mall Name||Location||Square Footage (meters squared)|
|1||Mall of Arabia||Cairo, Egypt||267,000|
|2||Gateway Theatre of Shopping||Durban, South Africa||220,000|
|3||Cairo Festival City||New Cairo, Egypt||160,000|
|4||Canal Walk||Cape Town, South Africa||141,000|
|5||Mall of Africa||Midrand, South Africa||131,000|
|6||Sandton City||Sandton, South Africa||128,000|
|7||Two Rivers Mall||Nairobi, Kenya||65,000|