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CAPE TOWN: Our insider’s guide to Mowbray

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A suburb with a cosmopolitan community which has many heritage Victorian houses, as well as modern apartments and spacious homes. It is close to highways, the city centre and UCT

Home to Mostert’s Mill – the only working windmill in sub-Saharan Africa – Mowbray is one of Cape Town’s best-kept residential property secrets. It’s close to the CBD, the airport, wellserved by public transport and offers well-valued properties encompassing apartments and free-standing homes.

The Liesbeek River separates the suburb into two distinct entities – the western side on the lower slopes of Devil’s Peak, comprising mainly commercial activities, and the eastern area, known as Little Mowbray, which offers predominantly residential properties.

West of Main Road is also home to a number of UCT residences so, while varsity is in session, the entire precinct is a veritable hive of student activity – with a positive knock-on for private rental accommodation.

“I love living in Mowbray because it’s an eclectic mix of old suburbanites, students and young families,” says resident and mother Mandy Schreiber. “The mix is diverse and friendly and the communal parks are a great way to get to know your neighbours.

Mostert’s Mill is the only functional windmill in sub-Saharan Africa. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

“There are also several community events, such as an organised Halloween trick-or-treat adventure for the neighbourhood’s children. “I like to call it the two-minute suburb because we’re so close to all the highways; it’s two minutes to any highway in any direction, so super-convenient for travel in all directions.” 

“With just 820 houses and around 600 residential apartments, it is a relatively small suburb,” says Knight Frank area agent Linda Gibson. “Yet, it is serviced by six schools and about 140 businesses.

“Mowbray’s balance of university-village alternative chic, blends well with a Cape culture evidenced by some of the province’s oldest Victorian homes – several declared national monuments. Mowbray brings together a unique, wonderful, cosmopolitan community.”

Current buyer profiles identify it as a Millennial and Generation X market for urbanites looking to grow in both entrepreneurial business and lifestyle stature. According to property data specialists Lightstone, the average price for a sectional title unit is R1.367 million; freehold homes sold for R2.997m.

Prices in the suburb are influenced by what happens in Gardens, Vredehoek and Tamboerskloof – similar benefits, but with a 15 minute drive to the CBD added. As a mature area, there is almost no vacant land available for development. In the past 12 months only one vacant erf sold, for a little in excess of R2m.

There has been a significant shift in the age profile, with buyers in the 18-35 group making up around 46%. While this year’s prices are slightly off last year, according to Lightstone, they are in line with current levels and are properties are trading fast.

The corner of Glencaird and Salford roads in a suburb where prices are influenced by Gardens, Vredehoek and Tamboerskloof. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Those between R1.9m and R2.5m receive most buyer interest, says Gibson. Mowbray offers a wide range of homes, from cottages to modern apartments and spacious homes, amid greening projects and trendy coffee shops. There’s excellent public transport – taxi, bus, train are all options – and there are top amenities close by.

Two of the Cape’s finest golf courses, Rondebosch and King David Mowbray, are a few kilometres away, with Newlands cricket and rugby stadiums just down the road. “Anyone looking for residential property in the southern suburbs should definitely give Mowbray a second look,” says Gibson.

Things to do, see and places of interest in Mowbray 

I love living in Mowbray because it’s an eclectic mix of old suburbanites, students and young
families. The population is diverse and friendly and the communal parks are a great way to get to know neighbours. – Resident and mother Mandy Schreiber with Indigo and Finn
Picture: Supplied

1 Outdoors

There are two lovely well-maintained children’s parks in Little Mowbray, as well as the Rosebank Common, bordering the Liesbeek River. There’s a giant rope swing installed by residents and plenty of space for dogs and children to run wild and play ball games; there are many impromptu soccer matches on this beautiful stretch of green. Rondebosch Common is also just around the corner, a protected conservation area with snakes, tadpoles, frogs, butterflies and giant moles – not to mention the flora that boasts a beautiful show of small pink, yellow and white flowers in winter with patches of arum lilies – all free.

Raleigh Park on Raleigh Road is child-friendly, which suits this close-knit community. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

2 Eat

The Durban Road strip in Mowbray is home to a number of excellent eateries. Bruegels is a quaint, unassuming pizzeria in the hub of little restaurants. They’re child-friendly, tables are all covered with paper table cloths for budding artists to refine their skills; the good ones are on the wall. 021 685 6046. 

Fraiche Ayres, the restaurant within the Starke Ayres garden centre, is a firm favourite – a safe environment with a jungle gym, ideal for a Saturday breakfast. 021 686 6004

3 Drink

Alma Cafe is a hidden gem. Featuring local musicians – some of the country’s biggest names have played there – in a micro environment, there’s about 40 seats; best to get on their mailing list. 021 685 7377.

The Salt Yard offers a selection of craft beers and a vibey younger crowd. 021 685 0307 4 Shop Starke Ayres has been around for 140 years, one of the go-to garden centres in the suburbs. If you’re looking for plants or a place for a quiet walk among a plethora of shrubs, seedlings and herbs, this is it. 021 685 4120


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