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South Africans in Germany

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Shopping

It is very easy to become overwhelmed when you first go grocery shopping in Germany. The layout of the shops is different, many of the products you know are not available and you have no idea what plastic wrap is called in German.
We hope the information on this page helps you with your shopping experiences.  We listed popular shops, as well as options to have groceries delivered to your home.

When it comes to buying groceries, you have a number of options available to you. 

Mid-range

Depending on your budget and shopping habits, you may prefer to shop at mid-range stores, where you can find various high-quality products at reasonable prices.

Discounters

 If saving money is your top priority, you might opt for discounters that offer slightly lower prices, but still maintain a good selection of items. In most of these shops, it is all about savings, and not about the shopping experience. The shopping shelves can look untidy and disorderly.

Wholesale

 If you want to buy in bulk, or if you have a larger family to feed, you might consider shopping at wholesale retailers where you can find even better deals on larger quantities of food.  To shop at these you will need a business licence/Gewerbeschein (at Metro) or Client card/Kundenkarte (at Selgros). They operate similar to Makro in South Africa

Good to know

  • Shopping carts or trolley works with a coin deposit system. You can also buy plastic tokens to use.
  • Bring your own shopping bags with you. You can buy at the counter but it is sometimes frowned upon, and you also pay for the bags. 
  • You have to pack your own bags at the till. Some cashiers, especially at discounters, are extremely fast at scanning products and you can feel a bit overwhelmed to keep up. The best advice is to be prepared. Either put your bags in the trolley, open them, and pack them as fast as you can, or just put everything directly into the trolley and pack your groceries into bags later. Another option is to go with another person like your spouse, one person pack and one person handles the payment.
  • If you do need more time to pack your items, put them spaced out on the conveyor belt, and also in the order you would want to pack them
  • Most plastic and glass bottles have a deposit or Pfand on them. You get your deposit back when you hand in the bottles at participating shops. Most have automated machines or Pfandautomaten. After depositing the bottles, you will get a “Bon” that you use to get your money back at the cashier.
  • If you buy fresh produce, you might have to weigh them yourself and stick the price label on the bag. Some shops sell reusable veggie bags.
  • You can buy beer and other alcohol inside a grocery shop
  • You cannot buy medication at a grocery shop, not even aspirin. 
  • Cigarettes and vape juice are packed at the tills
  • At some stores, you can withdraw money at the cashier. There might be a minimum amount that you have to spend and also a maximum amount that you can withdraw. See the individual stores for more information. Here is an example from Rewe – Kostenlos Bargeld abheben

To help you navigate the products in the shops, we created substitute lists for known South African products

Substitutes and Food Info

There are countless South African products that can be conveniently purchased online today. In those rare instances where you can’t find what you’re looking for

Product Substitutes

Most products we know in South Africa are available in Germany, but unfortunately not all of them. Here is a list of product substitutes  for some

Buying online

Most of the shops listed above have online shops that deliver to your door. 
For a limited list of items and fast delivery, you can use apps like Flink, WoltGorillasPiCniC or Flaschenpost

Quality of produce

If you are looking for top-notch products that guarantee quality and exceptional taste, then it is highly recommended that you choose to buy local and seasonal produce. Not only does this option ensure that you are selecting the freshest fruits and vegetables available but it also helps support local farmers and their communities. It is also essential to note that some imported fruits may lack flavor when compared to locally sourced options. Thus, it would be wise to always check where your fruits come from to ensure that you get the best quality and flavor. An example of this is when fruit is shipped to Germany; most of it goes through artificial ripening techniques such as Ethylene gas. While this process does ripen the fruit, it is done at the expense of its taste, leading to the fruit being unappetizing and lacking its natural sweetness. Therefore, buying local and seasonal fruits is always the best option for quality assurance and exceptional taste.

Bioladen

Bioladen or Biomärkte sells organic products. 

Hofladen

A Hofladen is a type of farm stand that sells produce directly from a farm. By definition: “A shop that is part of a farm and mainly sells its own products directly”.
The main advantages are that you know where the produce comes from, it is fresh as it doesn’t need to be transported over long periods of time and you can sometimes even pick the produce yourself.

Meat and Fish

We have a page with information about meat cuts, as well as where to buy meat, fish and seafood

Meat

German meat cuts are different from those in South Africa. South Africa tends to follow the British way of cutting meat.Below is a explanation of the

Vegetables

Below are pages related to seasonal and local vegetables

Pumpkins

Pumpkin season in Germany is from July to January. In Germany, it is called Kürbiszeit Some facts about pumpkins Pumpkins belong to the Squash (Cucurbita)

Potatoes

Potatoes are staple food in Germany.  You will find it as a side to almost any dish you order in a restaurant.  The good news

Spargel – the German white gold

Bis Johanni – nicht vergessen – sieben Wochen Spargel essen! The Asparagus season in Germany starts towards the end of April and ends on the

Related pages

South African Recipes

Click here to submit your recipe Seasonal recipes Resources on the web Ina Paarman Pinterest – on the Braai Jan Braai Watertand resepte vir oud en

German Cuisine and Recipes

Many will describe German food as hearty, heavy and unrefined. Comfort food comes to mind, as many dishes are based on starch. But I think

Shopping

Shopping in Germany can be a daunting experience if you are not familiar with how things work here. The worst is probably grocery shopping. In

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We understand how difficult it can be to find the perfect shop where you can buy new clothes.
That’s why we took the initiative to put together a comprehensive list of shops that we believe could be helpful in your search.
 If there are shops that you believe should be included on the list, please don’t hesitate to let us know by visiting our Contact Us page.
We value your input and we want to ensure that we are providing you with the most comprehensive and up-to-date information. So take a look at our list, and if you have any ideas that you would like to add, feel free to contact us!

Good to know

  • Almost all traditional shops now have online shops. 
  • The more upmarket shops offer personal assistance in finding the right clothes.
  • Most shops offer an alteration service.
  • End-of-season sales are a great way to buy quality clothing at reduced prices. Winterschlussverkauf (WSV) usually starts at the end of January and  Sommerschlussverkauf (SSV) usually begins at the end of July. 

Outdoor, winter and sport

Outdoor sports are very popular in Germany, and the following shops will have you kitted out in no time

Personal stylist (clothes delivered monthly for you to try and either keep or send back)

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Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Woman’s Clothing

The following table is a rough guide for Woman’s clothing. Most online shops will have a measurement guide, but even then it might not fit as expected.

Shoes

This is not a precise conversion, but a rough indication. This for men’s and women’s shoe sizes

Vocabulary

EnglishGerman
Brader BH or der Büstenhalter
Dressdas Kleid
Pantsdie Hose
Blousedie Bluse
Shirtdas Hemd
Skirtdas Rock
Pantiesder Slip

Downloadable File

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Most products we know in South Africa are available in Germany, but unfortunately not all of them. 
Here is a list of product substitutes  for some of them.  
I you would like more information about where to buy South African products in Germany, see our Products we love page.

Food related products

Meat

German meat cuts are different from those in South Africa. South Africa tends to follow the British way of cutting meat.Below is a explanation of the

Substitutes – Drinks

Looking for Milo, Horlicks, Frisco, Ricoffy or Lime Cordial?  We compiled a searchable list of substitutes for some of the popular hot and cold drinks

Substitutes – Other Products

Here is a list of substitutes and translations for general food and kitchen items like cling film, maize meal, custard and biscuits    Related content

Frozen products

Here is a list of suggestions for ready-made pasty (dough) products and some translations. Related content Inspiration

Baking ingredients

For all of the passionate bakers out there! We have thoughtfully compiled a comprehensive list of alternative ingredient options that can be used for baking

Types of Sugars

Here is a list of suggestions for types of sugars, as well as some translations. Related content

Dairy substitutes

Here is a list of suggestions for dairy products, as well as some translations. You can also read more on Rewe’s site Related content

Spices and Herbs

Here is a list of the most common spices and herbs with their Afrikaans, English and German names Spices Afrikaans English German Borrie Turmeric die

General household items

South African ProductSubstitute suggestionAdditional Info
JIKTry DanklorixActive ingredient for JIK is: Sodium Hypochlorite 3.5% m/v when packed. Other Ingredients: Water, Fragrance.
Aqueous CreamCeraVe Feuchtigkeitscreme
Eucerin Original Healing Cream
You can buy online
Sugar SoapAnlauger & Entfetter
Handy Andy cleaning creamScheuermilch – available in most shops. a popular brand is VissHANDY ANDY CONTAINS AMONGST OTHER INGREDIENTS Less than 5% Non ionic surfactants 5%- 8% Anionic surfactants 7%- 15% Abrasive agent
Dettol or SavlonThe Sagrotan brand is a very good substitute and available in most shopsThere is unfortunately no subsittute for the Dettol in a bottel, you can only get sprays. Some suggests Betaisodona Lösung. You can also look in Asian/ African Shops
Sunlight Dishwashing Liquid Fairy and Pril works pretty goodIngredients: Anionic detergents, solubilisers, colourants and perfume.
Mr Min Mulit surface cleanerPronto Möbel-Spray or Poliboy Both Pronto and Poliboy makes a range of furniture sprays and cleaners. Make sure you get the correct product for example multi purpose or only for wood

Stationery Items

South African ProductSubstitute Suggestion or TranslationAdditional Information
Sellotape or Adhesive TapeKlebeband is the collective name for all kinds of Tape, and you can specify the width for most. Klebeband Transparent is what we know as Sellotape. Tesa is a well know brand and people will sometimes refer to it as Tesafilm
Duct TapeUniversalklebeband, Panzerband oder Industrieklebeband
Packing Tape – the brown tape you use to seal boxes or packagesDas Paketklebeband
Prestik or Adhesive PuttyDie Klebemasse or die Klebeknete

Medicinal Products

Health product substitutes

We are not medical professionals and cannot give any medical advice.   We do however have contact with a qualified Pharmacist who offered to answer questions you might have about substitutes for South African health products. We cannot give any information about prescription medication. We have listed some suggestions for over the counter items.

Bed linen

Most Germans sleep under their own single duvet, even on a “double” bed. The usual arrangement is a bed with two mattresses and each person sleeping under their own duvet.
To buy queen or king-size linen and duvets, look online.
If you brought your own pillows from SA, look on online shops in the UK like Amazon.co.uk. They deliver in Germany.
Some shops in Germany like Wayfair, Ikea and Home24 will have the correct sizes but you will have a limited selection.

See Beds, Mattresses and Duvets below for standard pillow sizes and other information

Beds, Mattresses and Duvets

The sleeping arrangements in Germany is a bit different from what we are used to in South Africa. The average German couple sleeps on a bed base with two single mattresses and each with their own duvet.Some would argue for this but I would at least want to share a duvet with my partner.I vacuum packed all my queen size duvets and brought them with me to Germany together with

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Products we love

We all miss familiar products we loved in South Africa. Some of these you can buy here in Germany, and for some, you will have

Back home, you know exactly in what shop to look for specific items, where to find quality products and what shops have cheaper options.
We tried to make a comparison of SA and German shops in the list below. You welcome to send us your suggestions via or Contact us page

Type of Shop or itemsSouth African ShopGerman Equivalent
Electronic GoodsHi-Fi CorporationMediamarkt
Saturn
Groceries High-EndWooliesRewe
Groceries Mid rangePick n PayEdeka
Aldi
Groceries BargainLidl
Penny
Norma
CosmeticsClicks
Dischem
dm-drogerie markt
Müller
Rossmann
Home TextilesMr Price HomeDepot
Wayfair online shop
Dänisches Bettenlager
Clothing High-EndGaleria Kaufhof
Clothing BargainMr PriceNew Yorker
C und A
Bonprix online shop
Primark
Outdoor ClothingOutdoor Wharehouse
Cape Union Mart
Sportsmans Warehouse
Jack Wolfskin
Mammut
CAMPZ
Intersport

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