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CAPE TOWN: Our insider’s guide to Athlone

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There's a surge in sales especially from millennials and Generation Y buyers in the vibrant suburb where everything is on your doorstep. Rylands is steeped in Indian culture - fashion, shops and spices

Athlone, with its rich history and set midway between Cape Town’s CBD and the international airport, is a sought-after place in which to live. For resident Ameerah Chhotoomia the area is a city within the city.

“Athlone is extremely convenient; you will find almost everything you need on your doorstep. Access to the rest of the city is excellent: whether you are travelling to the CBD, airport, southern or northern suburbs, there are good highways within a few minutes.

“Rylands, within Athlone, is home to the oldest Indian community in Cape Town. This is special to me, it’s close to my heritage and culture.” Affordability is causing a surge in residential property sales compared with neighbouring areas, especially among Generation Y and millennial home buyers, says Knight Frank’s Athlone agent Carnita Manie.

Snoek sellers can be seen at the Fish Market just off Klipfontein Road in Athlone. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)

“The average price for a house in Athlone, based on February 2018 to March 2019 sales, is around the R1.25 million mark, with 48 sales over the period, compared to neighbouring Rondebosch East where the average sale price was R1.94m with just 22 sales.

“For first-time buyers, Athlone apartments average R840 000 with four successful sales over the past financial year compared to neighbouring Crawford which saw just one apartment sell, for R940 000,” says Manie.

Public transport is relatively good, sustained by a railway station, part of the popular Cape Flats line, and well-established bus and taxi routes. Athlone sits squarely on the Klipfontein Corridor – a main transport route to the CBD. The area is well served by schools, with more than 100 in the greater Athlone precinct.

The demolition of the cooling towers at the decommissioned Athlone Power Station made news in 2010 when they were demolished for safety reasons. An ambitious mixed-use proposal has been put forward for the site, but legal wrangles have so far stymied progress.

Eight years after the Athlone cooling towers were demolished, the site remains undeveloped. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

The area today has also become something of a sports hub with the 30 000-seat soccer stadium undergoing a R297m revamp as part of the country’s hosting of the 2010 Fifa World Cup. The stadium is also home to the Cape Music Institute, a tertiary body offering two and three-year courses in music. 

Manie says: “Athlone has lots going for it: it’s well served by public transport, offers easy access to all main arterial roads, is well served by schools and medical facilities, and offers homes at affordable prices.” This community played an important role in the struggle.

In 1985 Athlone made international headlines after what became known as the Trojan Horse incident, when police hiding in the back of a truck opened fire on an anti-apartheid protest. A memorial to the three young people who died was unveiled on Heritage Day in 2005.


Ameerah Chhotoomia’s favourite things to do

Athlone is extremely
convenient; you will find
almost everything you
need on your doorstep.
Whether you are travelling
to the city, airport, southern or northern suburbs,
there are good highways
within a few minutes. – Resident Ameerah Chhotoomia
Picture: Supplied


1 Outdoors Gatesville

Market on a Saturday morning offers over 100 stalls; food, vegetables, fashion, spice and jewellery are among the selection. There’s always something on at Athlone Stadium – be it soccer or a variety of community-based events.

2 Eat

Arshad Kitchen, special Pakistani dishes prepared on a traditional charcoal fire. My personal favourite is tikka chicken with garlic naan 021 637 2053.

The Wembley Roadhouse is a Cape Town institution. They offer authentic roadhouse service with food ordered from your car. My personal favourite is a masala steak and double-thick strawberry milkshake. 021 697 1435

3 Drink

Timbuktu Books & Coffee Shop. Perfect spot to take in a coffee and pause for a moment. 021 697 0517

4 Shop

Part of the Gatesville Shopping Centre off Klipfontein Road; many say the suburb is “a city within a city”. Picture: Jason Boud/African News Agency (ANA)

Appa Lockhat is a purveyor of typical Indian sweetmeats – barfi and jalebi are ones to try. Spices, fresh Indian veg on Mondays. 021 637 1653

Rylands Village, old-fashioned convenient strip shopping mall. You can get most of your daily needs here – traditional spices, groceries and a slice of pizza. 

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