Spotlight on the Cape Town City Bowl

Spotlight on the Cape Town City Bowl

Private Property South Africa
Kit Heathcock

With cafe society, cultural happenings and the mountain on your doorstep, Cape Town’s City Bowl offers an enviable lifestyle.

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At the heart of happening Cape Town, the cosmopolitan City Bowl and its suburbs have soared in popularity in recent years as young professionals have joined those savvy longtime residents who have been enjoying its amazing views and proximity to the centre of town for years.

“It feels like living in a European city rather than in suburbia,” says Mel Hagen, who has lived in Oranjezicht for 34 years. “We’re really close to everything, within walking distance from the CBD, down Government Avenue, which is a delight through the changing seasons.”

We were attracted to the area because we wanted to be in a more vibey, cosmopolitan area and, of course, we have a view that is absolutely world-class.

Gallery owner Penny Dobbie is another longtime resident, who was way ahead of the curve: “When we selected Tamboerskloof 43 years ago it was singularly unfashionable, and all our friends in Constantia, Bishopscourt and so forth thought we had seriously lost the plot. We were attracted to the area because we wanted to be in a more vibey, cosmopolitan area and, of course, we have a view that is absolutely world-class.”

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Those gorgeous views over the city to Table Mountain or towards Lion’s Head and Signal Hill are a big attraction, as is the easy access to the mountain itself. The trails take you deep into nature within minutes of leaving the streets of Vredehoek, Oranjezicht or Tamboerskloof, allowing residents to combine inner-city living with energetic walks, runs or bike rides, even before work.

More affordable than the restored Victorian houses and larger homes on the upper slopes, the apartments and cottages of Vredehoek and Gardens are home to young professionals drawn by the vibrant hum of the city centre, now revitalised and full of creativity. “There is an electricity to town, especially in the evenings – it comes alive with beautiful and interesting people,” comments Reese, who has been living in Gardens for the past six years. “There is always something happening, whether it is a new restaurant opening, live music or a gallery exhibition.”

At First Thursday events, when art galleries and workshops stay open late on the first Thursday of the month, visitors are encouraged to walk between cultural happenings. Moonlight Mass is a regular cycle ride through streets on the night of the full moon. Infecting the City brings interactive art to the public spaces in March. And the Zombie Walk on Halloween has become a fun yearly fixture for charity. And that’s only the start of the list of events on the doorstep of City Bowl residents.

Every day there’s the buzz of cafe society to dip into at will. Favourite neighbourhood gems include The Blue Cafe in Tamboerskloof, The Sidewalk Cafe in Vredehoek and Societi Bistro in Orange Street. Or stroll down Kloof Street, Gardens, for an embarrassment of riches.

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Bree Street in the CBD has claimed its place as foodie central. “You can’t go wrong with Bree Street. You’ve got Bacon on Bree, Bocca, Charango and Birds, to name a few of my favourites,” adds Reese. “Also it has great places for drinks like Door 221 and Mother’s Ruin Gin Bar.”

When you need to escape the bustle and breathe deeply, there’s plenty of green space to relax in. De Waal Park in Upper Orange Street is ideal for dog walkers, families and picnics, with a Victorian bandstand that hosts free summer concerts and a weekend coffee shop. Or carry on up the hill to the Oranjezicht City Farm (OZCF) in Heritage Park and volunteer to weed lettuces, make compost and learn about organic vegetable growing. The hip Saturday morning organic market that it supplies is now held down at Granger Bay and is a regular shopping date for urban foodies. And, of course, the historic Company’s Garden is a personal back garden for many locals, flanked by the South African National Gallery and Iziko South Africa Museum.

I love sitting in the Company’s Garden, reading and doing some people-watching, going to a pub to watch a game, catching an awesome local band performing, or checking out a new exhibition

While there is a tendency for young families to move out to the ’burbs when the kids grow to school age, whether for a greater choice of schools or for larger properties with gardens, those who stay put have schools such as Herzlia, St Cyprian’s, Hoërskool Jan van Riebeeck, the German International School Cape Town (DSK) and the French School of Cape Town to choose from.

If you love to feel the hum of urban living, be part of the city’s cultural activities, soak up its creative energy, walk to work and see the mountain on your horizon every day, then City Bowl living is the answer.

Eat like a local

• Bocca, for great pizzas and pasta and a lively vibe
• Societi Bistro, for tasty bistro fare and a lovely courtyard for sundowners
• The Blue Cafe, for tasty breakfasts with a relaxed neighbourhood cafe vibe
• Black Sheep, for a trendy crowd and seasonal modern cuisine
• Bacon on Bree, for the best artisanal bacon sandwiches
• The Company’s Garden Restaurant, for relaxed lunches in an outdoor setting

More things to do

• Watch awesome indie and mainstream movies at the Labia Movie Theatre on Orange Street.
• Work out at the Virgin Active health club in trendy Wembley Square.
• Shop at City Bowl Market on Hope Street on Thursday and Friday evenings.
• Indulge in afternoon tea at the (Belmond) Mount Nelson Hotel.
• Join aquarobics classes at Swimmable in Gardens Centre.
• Take a free cable car ride up Table Mountain on your birthday.

Get to know the City Bowl better by watching our brilliant neighbourhood video below:

Property Demand

• Properties listed for sale in the Cape Town City Bowl comprise approximately 7% of the total sale listings in the Cape Town region.
• Approximately 9% of the interest (views) in properties for sale in the Cape Town region is attributable to properties listed for sale in Cape Town City Bowl.
• Properties listed for rent in the Cape Town City Bowl comprise approximately 14% of the total rental listings in the Cape Town region.
• Approximately 17% of the interest (views) in properties for rent in the Cape Town region is attributable to properties listed for rent in Cape Town City Bowl.

Median asking prices for City Bowl properties

• R3,18m For a typical property (two-bedroom apartment)
• R5,33m For a property in a complex
• R5,14m For a house
• R2,85m For a flat/apartment

Median monthly asking prices for City Bowl rentals

• R18,800 For a typical rental property (two bedroom apartment)
• R22,200 In a complex
• R21,000 For a house
• R16,100 For a flat

Can I afford to buy in the City Bowl?

The monthly bond repayment to purchase a typical property in Cape Town City Bowl, namely a two-bedroom apartment house, with the median asking price of R3,1m, is R29,641 a month over 20 years at prime of 9,5 % with no deposit.


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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.