What to buy:
The Lowveld of South Africa (the flat plain on the eastern side of the Drakensberg has a semi tropical environment that is ideal for the cultivation of tropical fruit.
In the Hoedspruit area, the main crops are mangoes and lychees in summer, and citrus fruit (predominantly oranges and naartjies, a local form of tangerine) in winter. There are farm stalls lining all the roads, so you have no excuse whatsoever for not boosting your Vitamin C intake!
The fruit is extremely cheap by international standards: at the time of writing in January 2012, the bags of mangoes in the picture (containing 8-10 large fruit) were selling for R25, or about 3USD.
Another advantage? Mangoes and lychees both exude a perfumed aroma which will lend an exotic air to your car interior - much more effective and pleasant than an air freshener!
Bombyx Mori is one of only two commercial silk farms in South Africa and is located in the 24 Degrees South complex off the R531 (see website for map).
What to buy: Locally produced silk is used to produce a range of bedding, clothing and silk-based cosmetics. The bedding - duvets, pillows and bed linen - is wondrous, and once you've slept in silk, you'll never want to sleep in anything again! Being a natural fabric, silk 'breathes', keeping you warm in winter and cool in summer. Silk is also extremely light, so sleeping under a silk duvet is like sleeping under a cloud! Duvets are available in a range of sizes and different thicknesses to suit the season (be mindful of the fact that most South Africans don't have central heating, so a 'winter' duvet is pretty warm) and make the ideal practical souvenir of your visit.
For those of you who can't make it to Hoedspruit, larger branches of Woolworths (South Africa's department store of choice) also sell silk duvets, although I can't guarantee that the silk is South African!