Bumper car stickers are generally best avoided. They tend to be ever so worthy (Save the Baby Seal/Yellow-shouldered Blackbird/Knysna Banana Frog) or just plain lame (Don’t talk to me, Talk to my Lawyer/Let’s Not Meet by Accident). But “Proud Rondebosch Family” – though a tad cheesy – produced in me a momentary warm and fuzzy. It’s just so apt, for Rondebosch really is all about family.
There are those who would say that Rondebosch is all about students, and that’s true too. But the two go together – like love and marriage.
With no fewer than 14 schools, including a couple of the country’s finest, plus the University of Cape Town, Rondebosch is the ideal place to live if you’ve got kids.
Noel and Ellen de Villiers have four: three daughters and a son. Nine years ago, when they decided to leave Edgemead in the northern suburbs to migrate south, Rondebosch was the obvious choice. “The schools were the deciding factor,” says Ellen. “We also worked out that if you want to beat the traffic, you need to live north of the schools.”
So Noel and Ellen bought a great big six-bedroom house (north of the schools) which is still their home today – though two chicks have just flown the coop. The house has been a great investment; it’s now worth almost three times what they paid for it.
Property in Rondebosch is sought after for good reason. Apart from the many schools, the suburb is superbly situated less than 10 kilometres from the city centre and close to the airport. The M3, M5 and N2 are easily assessible and you’re minutes away from Kirstenbosch Gardens and the mountain.
In addition to good schools and easy access to the major highways, safety is always a big factor for parents. According to a recent Cape Argus report, Rondebosch is regarded as one of the safest suburbs on the Cape Peninsula. This is largely thanks to the efforts of the Rondebosch Community Improvement District (RCID), a voluntary body that is actively involved in safety and security in the suburb. The RCID regularly meets with the police and the suburb’s security provider and reports to residents.
RCID manager Shirley Aldum says the organisation has proved highly effective and is now able to serve the community in other ways, like, for instance, looking out for lost pets.
Rondebosch folk love their pets. Every day scores of people can be seen walking or jogging around Rondebosch Common or Keurboom Park with pooches in tow. Occasionally you’ll see the odd overindulged lapdog, tucked under the arm of a shopper in one of the more upmarket malls, like Cavendish in neighbouring Claremont.
Rondebosch has more than its share of supermarkets and shopping centres, catering for just about every type of shopper.
In terms of dining and entertainment, Rondebosch is home to the famous Baxter Theatre and a couple of great restaurants. Borruso’s, a family pizzeria, is highly rated by locals (and Eat Out magazine too), and Star Dust is a popular haunt among students and the southern suburbs theatre-loving set. Star Dust offers a “theatrical dining” experience: the waitrons are dinkum drama queens – all highly talented performers and arts students. The Mediterranean fare isn’t too shabby either.
And then the pièce de résistance is Rondebosch’s newest coffee shop, Common Ground Café on Milner Road. They make the best cappuccinos in Cape Town and the views, overlooking Rondebosch Common and UCT’s top campus set against the mountainside, will take your breath away.
What might also take your breath away, in a pleasantly surprising way, is the price of property in Rondebosch. The average price of a freehold property in the suburb is R2.3 million and the average price of a sectional title property in Rondebosch is R867 000. This is according to Lightstone property analysts.
Over the past three months 51 sales, amounting to R82 million, have been concluded in the suburb.
The rental market in Rondebosch is also healthy. According to Tandice Gorton Lennox, who is the principal of Just Letting in Claremont, the average rental for a freehold property in Rondebosch is R9 500. “[But] you can expect to pay anything from R5 250 for a two-bedroom cottage to R17 500 for a family home with all the bells and whistles.”
In the sectional scheme space, Tandice says a bachelor pad in a new complex can cost about R3 500 to rent, while a newish two-bedroom spot can cost R5 000 and R6 000 a month to rent.
She says that stock in Rondebosch represents 16.5% of Just Letting’s total portfolio. And student accommodation comprises 72% of Rondebosch stock. A five-bedroom student digs can easily fetch a rental of R10 000 a month.
Rondebosch: A family affair
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