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CAPE TOWN: Our insider’s guide to Rosebank

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On the eastern the slopes of Devil’s Peak, Rosebank is accessible, has a mixture of housing stock, is close to UCT and good schools, and has the green lung of Rondebosch Common.

Defined by three landmarks – Rondebosch Common, the Liesbeek River and Mostert’s Mill – Rosebank is a central suburb rich in history and natural treasures.

Set on the lower eastern slopes of Devil’s Peak, it is a vibrant haven reflecting the cosmopolitan city that Cape Town has become, providing a unique living space for scholars, students, academics, active families and senior citizens. Rosebank’s outstanding characteristic is its centrality, says Linda Gibson, Knight Frank property consultant for the area. 

“It’s close to highways leading in every direction. Access is easy and public transport, both the southern suburbs train line and buses, is within in walking distance of the entire suburb.” Much of the land on the mountain side of the railway line and Main Road belongs to UCT with the rest of the suburb bordering on Rondebosch and Mowbray.

“Properties in Rosebank are so sought after that when one comes on to the market it is quickly sold,” says Gibson. “Finding my own home here when I moved from Joburg was very lucky. 

“Properties in Rosebank are so sought after that when one becomes available it is quickly sold.” – Linda Gibson, property consultant, Knight Frank Picture: Supplied

“Rosebank has a friendly communal spirit, a robust neighbourhood watch and active community care organisations such as Friends of the Liesbeek and Friends of the Rondebosch Common. I love living here.”

Stretching from Rhodes Drive below UCT all the way to Campground Road and the edge of Rondebosch Common to the east, Rosebank is divided in half by Liesbeek Parkway, the Main Road and the railway line.

Below the parkway you’ll find a mixture of blocks of flats and detached houses; many of the residences in this area are occupied by UCT students. Proclaimed a national monument in 1961, the common was originally used as a military camp (hence the name of Campground Road, which borders one side of the common).
Starke Ayres Garden Centre is a community hub. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)
It was here early Dutch farmers rallied before the decisive Battle of Blaauwberg in 1805, and troops were regularly stationed here, even up until World War II. As housing encroached over the decades, stealing the land piece by piece, the open area steadily decreased until only the current 40ha remained.

Those hectares are, however, an important conservation area for the endangered Cape Flats sand-fynbos vegetation, which exists only in Cape Town. A few patches of renosterveld and a seasonal wetland host a hugely varied biodiversity for such a small area, and this piece of land also protects 110 species of bird, as well as small mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

Leading schools such as Bishops, Rustenburg and others are “just around the corner”, says Gibson. “Newlands cricket and rugby stadiums and Hartleyvale are 3km away as are Vincent Pallotti hospital and Rondebosch and King David Mowbray golf courses.” The Cape Town offices of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – South Africa’s premier scientific research and development organisation – and the South African Bureau of Standards are also located in Rosebank.
Tenille Lindeque’s favourite places and things to do 
Rosebank is wonderfully central, just a quick hop on to all the highways, close enough to
town but far enough away to feel like you’re not part of the madness. I love Rosebank Park – it’s a serene place to recharge and walk the dogs. There’s also a lovely mix of people in the area. A glass of wine at Starke Ayres cafe, Fraiche Ayres, is my favourite way to unwind at the weekend.” Resident Tenille Lindeque
Picture: Supplied

1 Eat

Klipfontein Road forms the northern boundary, and crossing that is Durban Road leading to Mowbray. On the left is the original Fat Cactus, home of Tex Mex and frozen magaritas. Get festive with daily happy hours from noon until 6pm on all margaritas and tequilas. Telephone 021 685 1920.
2 Music
Alma Café provides a stage for musicians and performing artists to entertain and do their thing. In its own words “it’s a homely little place where good food, good music and good people reign supreme”. Coming up on October 12 are Rowan Stuart and Digby and the Lullaby. Tickets are R150. Telephone 021 685 7377.

3 Run
Encircled by a level pathway and a spider’s web of criss-crossing paths, Rondebosch Common is a favourite spot for walkers, hikers and dog lovers, and is home to one of the oldest and best supported Parkruns in the country. This weekly timed 5km event takes place every Saturday at 8am, when it’s just you against the clock. Afterwards, runners usually grab a coffee at Common Ground Café, about 150m from the start, and there are breakfast specials for participants.
The Irma Stern Museum, formerly the artist’s home, is dedicated to her art. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)
4 Garden
Find everything you need at Starke Ayres Garden Centre, including the Fraiche Ayres Café where you can have a light meal or a coffee in a tranquil leafy green setting. Charles Ayres established his nursery here in the late 1870s, along with a seed and florist shop. In 1920, the company merged with C Starke & Co which was involved in the grain and produce business. Telephone 021 685 4120
5 Art
Visit the home and studio of renowned South African artist Irma Stern. Administered by UCT and the Irma Stern Trust, the museum, formerly her home, holds a permanent collection of her richly coloured art and artefacts as well as regular exhibitions by contemporary South African artists. Telephone 021 685 5686.

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