A guide to De Waterkant area

Private Property South Africa
Kit Heathcock

Known for its cafe culture and cosmopolitan vibe, De Waterkant neighbourhood has a lot to offer its residents.

About the area

Curving around the base of Signal Hill close to the CBD, De Waterkant shares much of the history of neighbouring Bo-Kaap, its quaint cobbled streets and cottages built by the first Malay slaves dating back to the 18th century and giving the area a village feel that endures today, despite the injection of a contemporary urban element over recent years with many shiny new developments of residential and office space.

Known for its cafe culture and cosmopolitan vibe, as well as being a laid-back and gay-friendly neighbourhood, De Waterkant is full of trendy restaurants, chic design shops, guest houses and hotels, its location within easy walking distance of the CBD and the V&A Waterfront making it a favourite choice for visitors, as well as the young professionals who make up many of its residents. Those who are lucky enough to have rooftop terraces enjoy fabulous views over the harbour to the ocean or back over the shoulder of Signal Hill to Table Mountain.

The Cape Quarter shopping centre which opened in 2009 added a new heart to the area for sophisticated shopping and relaxation, full of individual upmarket boutiques and decor shops, cafes with tables spilling out onto the open-air square, everyday stores from hardware to florist and a good Spar supermarket. There’s a yoga studio and gym and, across the way, the European-style Piazza is home to the Lindt Chocolate Studio, galleries and more eateries. Of course, exploring the charming streets turns up many more pavement cafes and architectural gems, and walking up the mountain into nature refreshes the spirit. Many of the historic houses and cottages rely on street parking, but many residents prefer to live car-free, with MyCiTi bus routes linking to the city centre, Sea Point and Camps Bay and much of central Cape Town within walking distance.

There’s an eclectic vibe embracing all cultures and walks of life in De Waterkant. It’s a very relaxed and liberal piece of Cape Town, with lots of hidden gems like quaint little restaurants and architectural wonders to discover.

Riaan Vermaak of Sugar Hotel

Best in food:

  • Cafe Manhattan as a hip meeting place and legendary institution
  • Marc’s Table for fresh seasonal cuisine
  • San Julian for tacos and tequila
  • Origin Coffee Roasting for great coffee and brunch
  • Yumcious for Jenny Morris’s fresh and zesty cooking
  • Loading Bay for stylish breakfasts and coffee
  • Beluga for sushi, dim sum and cocktails

    Things to do:

  • Embrace the cafe culture.

  • Browse the interiors stores for design inspiration.
  • Explore on foot and walk to the CBD or the V&A Waterfront.
  • Sample the night life with vibey bars and clubs open till late.
  • Take part in a free Tuesday yoga class at the Cape Quarter with Yogalife.

Transport plus:

  • MyCiTi bus routes between the CBD, Sea Point and Camps Bay Easy road access to the N1 and N2
  • Walking distance to CBD, V&A Waterfront and Cape Town Stadium

This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.

Take a spectacular journey through the Cape Town City Bowl:

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