Mountain biking before work, quiet leafy streets, fantastic schools and chic cafes… Cape Town’s beautiful, established Southern Suburbs offer a fantastic family lifestyle
Some of Cape Town’s most desirable property lies within the Southern Suburbs. If mountain, forest and green spaces are what you resonate with, rather than beach and ocean, then the leafy upmarket suburbs clustered around the skirts of Table Mountain are the place to live.
From the village atmosphere of Newlands to family homes with gardens in Rondebosch, expansive properties in Bishopscourt and palatial houses on 1ha plots in the oldest parts of Constantia, what all the Southern Suburbs have in common is proximity to the mountain, with its dramatic peaks soaring in the background of every vista and its hiking trails, forest, mountain streams an extension of your back garden, enabling you to enjoy the active outdoor lifestyle that is so much part of everyday life in Cape Town.
Kirstenbosch is a regular social meeting place for many families in the Southern Suburbs and you’d be hard-pressed to find a family without a Botanical Society membership card. They drop in for impromptu picnics and let their preschoolers paddle in the garden’s streams, or explore the new Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway (the “Boomslang”), meet friends at the coffee shop or enjoy concerts and the Galileo open air cinema in summer.
For thespians, more alfresco culture is to be found down the road at the Maynardville Open-Air Theatre, where the annual Artscape Shakespeare in the Park production is not to be missed. And for all that is cutting edge in the performing arts in Cape Town, the Baxter Theatre at the foot of the UCT campus on Rondebosch Main Road is the place to be.
“There’s a great selection of schools, the wine farms are right here with some fabulous restaurants and there are craft markets and food fairs. It’s a short drive to Hout Bay for the beach and Tokai Forest for horse riding.”
There’s a very different flavour to each of the suburbs, Constantia being the furthest from the city centre, with a lush greenbelt providing secluded trails for dog walking and horse riding. “Living in Constantia feels almost like country, with great views and lots of open green spaces, but there’s a connected feel with so much going on,” says Louise Joseph, whose two teenage sons have grown up here. “There’s a great selection of schools, the wine farms are right here with some fabulous restaurants and there are craft markets and food fairs. It’s a short drive to Hout Bay for the beach and Tokai Forest for horse riding.”
Newlands, with its quiet tree-lined streets and the mountain close by, provides the easiest access to the city. “Newlands is by far my favourite suburb,” says Holly Durcan, who rented there for two years before buying in Claremont. “I love the village atmosphere, and it’s a special place for kids: my son could walk to school, the forest is a few minutes’ walk up the hill and yet town is 10 minutes’ drive away.
Claremont is the suburb with the greatest demand as homes are more affordable homes and it is in proximity to excellent schools. Holly says, “Claremont offers incredible value and neighbours are likely to go to one of the good schools in the area, so the kids have their friends close by. It’s further from the forest, but Keurboom Park is a sociable walking spot nearby with magnificent views of the mountain.”
As if the Southern Suburbs didn’t already have enough going from them, they are home to some of Cape Town’s best schools, including South African College Schools, or SACS, Rondebosch Boys’ High, Bishops Diocesan College, Herschel Girls’ School, Sans Souci Girls’ High, Westerford High and Rustenburg junior and high schools for girls. The list goes on… They are all old, established schools with impressive architecture and spacious grounds, including playing fields and excellent sports facilities.
Rugby and cricket fans are perfectly placed, with (DHL) Newlands Stadium – home to the Stormers – hosting international games, as does the nearby Newlands Cricket Grounds.
Grown kids moving on to university have UCT right on their doorstep, and apartments in the area tend to be snapped up by savvy parents thinking ahead to student accommodation needs.
In our street we know most of the people, the kids play with each other and older kids baby-sit.
While Rondebosch has a lively student population, it’s known as a family-friendly suburb with old houses in good-size gardens and a strong community centred on the large common and several parks. “Rondebosch doesn’t have a very high turnover of residents and because of that people make the effort to get to know each other,” says Kirsty Donald, who grew up in the Southern Suburbs. “In our street we know most of the people, the kids play with each other and older kids baby-sit.”
Chic cafes, delis and shops are scattered among various busy hubs: Newlands’ Dean Street is the latest spot, with Wakaberry overflowing with teens choosing toppings for frozen yoghurt. It is next door to The Creamery (for decadent ice cream) and Rootbar (for healthy juices), while Melissa’s and Cassis hold court at the Kildare Road end of Main Street. Cavendish Square is a trendy shopping hotspot for the whole Southern Suburbs and is full of boutiques and hip outlets, supermarkets and entertainment, from movies to bowling over at Stadium on Main.
Between great shopping and cafe culture on the one hand and the lure of the verdant mountain slopes for mountain biking, running and dog walking before and after work on the other, the Southern Suburbs provide an enviable environment for raising families.
Where to eat in the Southern Suburbs
• The Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenort for fine contemporary dining.
• Myoga at The Vineyard Hotel for modern fusion cuisine.
• The Gardener’s Cottage at Montebello for cosy breakfasts.
• Starlings on Belvedere Road for casual coffee and lunches.
• Beau Constantia for wine tasting and sushi from Sushi Box, with fantastic views.
Property prices in Southern Suburbs
• A typical property for sale in the Southern Suburbs is a four-bedroom house at an average asking price of R4,25m.
• 19% of properties for sale are flats and/or apartments at an average asking price of R980 000.
• 4% of properties for sale are in complexes at an average asking price of R2,57m.
• Average monthly rental for a three-bedroom house: R23 000
Properties for sale in Cape Town Southern Suburbs comprise 8% of total sales listings in the Western Cape.
• 8% of the interest
• 75% more views per listing
• 83% more leads per listing than properties elsewhere in the Western Cape.
Originally published in Sunday Times Neighbourhoods