A guide to living in Cape Town’s CBD

Private Property South Africa
Kit Heathcock

Convenience, an abundance of amenities and the buzz of living in a major city are all drawcards for those living in central Cape Town. Ceramicist Clementina van der Walt talks about living in the CBD.

Well-known studio potter Clementina van der Walt draws her inspiration from the patterns, colours and textures in urban and rural African landscapes.

She has lived in the CBD with her partner, Albie Bailey, for about 10 years and they love the convenience of being in the city centre. “We were looking for something with an urban inner-city feel but still private enough not to be overwhelmed by the street action,” says Clementina.

They found that in a complex off¬ Long Street. “We love being able to walk out of the complex and immediately have a choice of restaurants, co¬ffee shops and supermarkets.”

Getting around is easy when you're already in the centre of town. “There’s a very efficient MyCiTi bus route and easy road/bus/taxi access to the Atlantic Seaboard, Woodstock and Southern Suburbs. We work in Woodstock, so we travel mainly against peak-hour traffic, which is very appealing.”

This also helps with that other bugbear of CBD life: parking. “We don’t have o¬ff-street parking, so we often leave our car at work and Uber to town. Otherwise, we have a friendly relationship with several car guards and mostly we're lucky finding a spot.”

Another thing she loves about the city is the people. “It’s very real – one encounters people from all walks of life in the street. Interesting people, sometimes some hustlers, but it’s part of it all. Thanks to the Cape Town City Improvement District (CCID) there’s a general presence of police officers, which makes for some sense of order and safety. The CCID also keeps the inner city very clean on a daily basis.”

When asked about how they deal with the noise of Long Street and its clubs, Clementina says, “Initially we used earplugs, but now it’s like a background hum. We hardly notice it. Inner-city living is noisy; one gets used to it.” And there’s plenty of variety to the soundtrack of urban life.

“Sometimes one can hear the call of the nearby mosques, and, on Sundays, church bells from the Lutheran Church and St George’s Cathedral. Due to the proximity of The Company’s Garden, there’s a sense of wildlife – one regularly hears birds and hadedahs, also the menacing urban pigeons!”

The views of Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, Signal Hill and the harbour are all part of what inspires her about living at the heart of Cape Town’s vibrant centre.

“We love the convenience of being in the city centre, the proximity to so many amenities, and the general urban buzz.” -Clementina van der Walt, resident.

About Clementina van der Walt:

Ceramicist Clementina van der Walt has, over the last 40 years, lectured, run a production studio and held many one-person shows, with her work represented in national and international collections. She and her partner, Albie Bailey, run Clementina Ceramics Studio and a store in Woodstock and have a small studio and gallery outside Calitzdorp in the Klein Karoo.

Dine out:

  • South China Dim Sum Bar: for simple Asian street food
  • Lola’s: for locally sourced bistro food
  • Molten Toffee: for coffee on Kloof Street
  • Royale Eatery: for gourmet burgers and pizzas
  • Fork: for the best tapas
  • Jason Bakery: for tasty baked goods
  • Bacon on Bree: for delicious meals and craft beer

Things to do:

  • Watch movies at the Labia Theatre.
  • Take a leisurely stroll in The Company’s Garden.
  • Visit Long Street Baths for swimming and Turkish steam baths.
  • Enjoy smooth jazz at The Crypt at St George's Cathedral.
  • Watch a show at The Fugard Theatre.
  • Attend literary events and browse for interesting reads at The Book Lounge.

Property statistics for Cape Town CBD

This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.

View more of the neighbourhood here:

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Living in the CBD of Cape Town is unlike any other city centre. Table Mountain, Lions Head and Signal Hill cradle the City Centre, with mountain hikes and forests in easy access and it is within minutes’ drive to some of the world’s best beaches. Depending on which area in the city you live, the housing arrangements can vary from large leafy houses in Oranjezicht, to small studio apartments in the City Centre. Living in the CBD of Cape Town gives the best of both worlds as you're in close proximity to all amenities, as well as have nature on your doorstep.
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