Chic African Culture Africa Factbook

Shopping Malls Exist in Africa You Need to Know

Africa has some of the world's largest and most modern shopping malls. 

There are over 430 modern shopping malls throughout Africa. These magnificent malls stand as powerful symbols of Africa's advancement. 

Africa's expanding economic development and growing  middle and upper class have paved the way for the emergence of large and modern shopping malls across the continent. 

African Shopping Malls Media Presents

Many people do not have up-to-date information about the development and growth of shopping malls in Africa. The media often focuses on negative narratives and stereotypes about Africa, which can overshadow positive developments. 

The Morocco Mall in Casablanca, Morocco, is a highly esteemed shopping center in Africa, boasting an extensive area of over 2 million square feet. The mall is home to renowned international brands such as Balenciaga, Givenchy, and Swarovski. 

One of the mall's main attractions, Aquadream, is a massive aquarium with over 40 different fish species. It holds more than 260,000 gallons of water. It offers activities such as riding through the aquarium's center or scuba diving with a professional instructor.

These malls symbolize Africa's position in the global economy, offering luxurious amenities, international brands, and diverse entertainment options. 

Africa's most notable shopping malls, highlighting their size, features, and unique offerings.

malls symbolize Africa's progress

Traveling to Africa for a luxurious shopping trip then learn about the top five African countries with the most shopping malls. 

Morocco, has the largest mall in Africa, the Morocco Mall in Casablanca, covering 250,000 square meters and featuring over 350 shops and a giant aquarium.

Kenya, has the second largest mall in Africa, the Two Rivers Mall in Nairobi, covering 65,000 square meters and offering a wide range of local and international brands, as well as entertainment and recreational facilities.

South Africa, has many large malls, such as the Mall of Africa in Midrand, the Sandton City in Johannesburg, the Gateway Theatre of Shopping in Durban, and the Canal Walk Mall in Cape Town. These malls have hundreds of stores, restaurants, cinemas, and other attractions to suit every taste and budget.

Egypt, also has several large malls, such as the Mall of Arabia and the Cairo Festival City in Cairo. These malls have a mix of local and global brands and cultural and leisure activities for shoppers and visitors.

Ghana, which has the West Hills Mall in Accra, is one of the largest malls in West Africa. The mall covers 23 acres and has a variety of shops, eateries, and entertainment options for customers.

Gateway Theatre of Shopping, Durban, South Africa
Durban, South Africa

Details About New and Prestigious Shopping Malls in Africa.

Mall of Arabia in Cairo, Egypt is the largest shopping mall in Africa, covering 2.8 million square feet; it boasts luxurious hotels, cinemas, gyms, casinos, and international brands, along with a hypermarket, food court, family entertainment center, and bowling alley. A hypermarket is a retail store that combines a department store and a grocery supermarket.

Gateway Theatre of Shopping, Durban, South Africa is the second largest mall in Africa, spanning 2.3 million square feet; it attracts millions of visitors with its 390 stores, 90 restaurants, skate parks, a science theme park, IMAX theater, wave house, rock climbing wall, and go-kart track.

Mall of Africa in Midrand, Gauteng, South Africa is the newest shopping mall in Africa, covering 1.4 million square feet; it features over 300 stores, a unique architectural design, a hotel overlooking Waterfall City Park, a nine-screen cinema complex, and a food market with diverse cuisines.

Sandton City in Johannesburg, South Africa, is the oldest; it spans 419,792 square feet and offers high-end fashion brands, a food court, a cinema, a library, a gym, and a medical center. It is a landmark complex encompassing the Sandton Convention Centre, Sandton Sun Hotel, and Nelson Mandela Square.

A&C Mall in Greater Accra Region, Ghana was the first shopping mall in Ghana; it has evolved into A&C Square, a mixed-use center with retail, offices, services, and a university. Anchored by Maxmart supermarket and Lancaster University, the mall accommodates 63 businesses and offers various restaurants, cafes, health and fitness centers, and entertainment options.

Morocco Mall in Casablanca, Morocco, is one of Africa's largest and most prestigious malls; it covers over 2 million square feet and hosts international brands like Balenciaga, Givenchy, and Swarovski. Its attractions include Aquadream, a massive aquarium with diving experiences, along with recreational spaces, restaurants, and entertainment options.

Cairo Festival City in New Cairo, Egypt; this diverse mall spans 1.7 million square feet and is part of a larger development that includes schools, office spaces, hotels, and apartments. It features a large theater, international brands, hypermarkets, an outdoor plaza with fountains and light shows, a kids' zone, and a sports club.

Canal Walk in Cape Town, South Africa, is known for its scenic surroundings; this mall covers 1.5 million square feet and offers breathtaking views of Table Mountain and Robben Island. It includes over 400 outlets, two office towers, an adventure golf course, a cinema complex, and a fashion district.

These eight remarkable shopping malls in Africa serve as retail destinations and showcase the continent's economic growth, provide world-class amenities, and offer a variety of entertainment options for visitors.

Africa's impressive contemporary shopping malls

Let's look more closely at eight of Africa's impressive contemporary shopping malls.

These magnificent malls stand as powerful symbols of Africa's advancement, embodying opulence, boasting international brands, and providing a vast array of entertainment choices. 

Mall of Arabia.

The largest shopping mall in Africa is the Mall of Arabia in Cairo, Egypt, which covers an area of 2.8 million square feet or 267,000 square meters and has 12 entrances. It was opened in 2010 and is owned by a Saudi organization. The mall features luxurious hotels, cinemas, gyms, casinos, and international brands. The mall also has a hypermarket, a food court, a family entertainment center, and a bowling alley.

Gateway Theatre of Shopping.

The second largest shopping mall in Africa is the Gateway Theatre of Shopping in Durban, South Africa, which covers an area of 2.3 million square feet or 220,000 square meters and has 12,000 parking slots. It was opened in 2001 and is designed after American malls. 

The mall attracts about two million monthly visitors and offers over 390 stores, 90 restaurants, skate parks, a science theme park, and the highest fountain in Africa. The mall also has an IMAX theater, a wave house, a rock climbing wall, and a go-kart track.

Mall of Africa.

The newest shopping mall in Africa is the Mall of Africa in Waterfall City, Midrand, Gauteng, South Africa, which covers an area of 1.4 million square feet or 131,000 square meters and has 6,500 parking slots. It was opened in 2016 and is the largest mall ever built in one phase in Africa. 

The mall has over 300 stores with seven anchor tenants and a unique architectural design inspired by geology in Africa.  The mall also has a hotel overlooking Waterfall City Park, a nine-screen cinema complex, and a food market with local and international cuisines.

Sandton City.

Sandton City is the oldest shopping mall in Africa, dating back to the 1970s when it was first opened as a small complex. Since then, it has expanded and renovated several times, becoming one of the continent's largest and most modern malls. 

It covers an area of 419,792 square feet, which includes over 300 stores, a food court, a cinema, a library, a gym, and a medical center. Sandton City is also part of a larger complex that includes the Sandton Convention Centre, the Sandton Sun Hotel, and the Nelson Mandela Square, which features a six-meter statue of the former president. 

Sandton City attracts millions of visitors annually from South Africa and other countries. It is known for its high-end fashion brands, diverse dining options, and entertainment facilities. Sandton City is more than just a mall; it is a landmark and a symbol of the economic growth and development of South Africa.

A&C Mall.

The first shopping mall in Africa is the A&C Mall, a privately owned business providing a set standard for mixed-use retail shopping centers in Ghana. It is located in the Greater Accra Region, Ghana at East Legon, Jungle Road, after the American International School. 

The mall was founded by Dr. Adu Gyamfi, a former director of the World Health Organization, and his wife, Mrs. Comfort Gyamfi, who is also a medical doctor. The mall opened in 2005 and was the first mall in Ghana. It has now evolved into a mixed-use center called A&C Square, which comprises retail, offices, services, and a university. 

A&C Mall has 30,000 square feet of mixed-used space with parking for over 500 cars. It accommodates 63 businesses, of which 50% are operated by Ghanaian businesses. The mall is anchored by Maxmart, a supermarket chain, Lancaster University, a UK franchise, and international NGOs. The mall also has a variety of restaurants, cafes, health, and fitness centers, and entertainment options for visitors.

Morocco Mall.

The most high-end mall in Africa is Morocco Mall in Morocco. If you want a shopping experience like no other, you should visit Morocco Mall in Casablanca, Morocco. It is one of the largest shopping malls in Africa and the only destination mall in the Mediterranean and Africa. 

It has over 2 million square feet of floor space and features more than 350 stores and services. Many international brands opened their debut store in Africa at Morocco Mall, such as Balenciaga, Givenchy, Swarovski, and Off-White TM. You can also enjoy a variety of recreational spaces, restaurants, and entertainment options at the mall. 

One of the most impressive attractions is the Aquadream, a massive aquarium that contains over 40 different species of fish and holds more than 260,000 gallons of water. You can ride through the aquarium's center or go scuba diving with a professional instructor. 

The Morocco Mall boasts numerous restaurants and cafes offering a diverse range of cuisines, catering to different tastes and preferences. Visitors can expect a mix of local Moroccan dishes, international cuisine, fast-food chains, and upscale dining options.

Cairo Festival City.

The most diverse shopping mall in Africa is the Cairo Festival City in New Cairo, Egypt, which covers an area of 1.7 million square feet or 160,000 square meters and has various facilities. It was opened in 2013 and is part of a larger development that includes an American international school, motor vehicle assembly units, office spaces, hotels, and villa apartments. 

The mall has a large theatre with 1656 seats and hosts many international brands and hypermarkets.  The mall also has an outdoor plaza with fountains and light shows, a kids' zone with rides and games, and a sports club with tennis courts and swimming pools.

Canal Walk.

The most scenic shopping mall in Africa is the Canal Walk in Cape Town, South Africa, which covers an area of 1.5 million square feet or 141,000 square meters and has over 400 outlets. It was opened in 2000 and is surrounded by a canal and a residential area with over 300 homes. 

The mall has two towers providing office space and a clear view of the Table Mountains and Robben Island.  The mall also has an adventure golf course with waterfalls and caves, a cinema complex with 20 screens, and a fashion district with local and international designers.

modern shopping experiences

The perception that there are no shopping malls in Africa stems from factors such as media coverage, lack of awareness, and historical bias.

Africa is often portrayed in international media as a continent plagued with challenges, conflicts, and poverty, overshadowing the positive stories and significant developments taking place. This one-sided narrative reinforces the stereotype that Africa lacks modern amenities like shopping malls.

Africa has long been associated with poverty, underdevelopment, and rural landscapes, perpetuating the stereotype that the continent lacks modern infrastructure, such as shopping malls. This outdated perception fails to acknowledge Africa's progress in various sectors, including retail and consumerism.

Some people may hold preconceived notions about African culture and assume that traditional markets or informal economies dominate retail spaces. While traditional markets continue to play a vital role in African economies, the rise of shopping malls demonstrates the continent's diversification and adaptation to global consumer trends.

Recognizing the significant progress made in Africa's retail sector is essential, and it's crucial to challenge any misconceptions. The emergence of shopping malls across the continent clearly indicates economic growth, urbanization, and the increasing middle class. These modern shopping experiences contribute to job creation and support local economies.

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