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CAPE TOWN: Our insider’s guide to Pinelands

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Rub shoulders with celebrities, sportspeople, politicians, business leaders or just a friendly neighbour, in one of the oldest planned suburbs close to the city and airport.

Where more and more younger people are choosing to live in the tree-lined streets and family-suited residences.

A devastating flu epidemic which killed thousands in crowded Cape Town in the early 20th century was a precursor for the emergence of Pinelands as a decentralised residential suburb – first attempt at a planned township in South Africa.

Pinelands became South Africa’s first garden city – the inaugural live, work, play community, a strap line today frequently punted by property developers. For resident foodie and entrepreneur Nolu DubeCele, diversity makes Pinelands home.

“There’s an amazing mix of age and class. Young and old, a celebrity or just an average Joe, we regard ourselves as locals. Go for a walk or a jog on the treelined streets and you’re bound to encounter a wellknown sports person, politician or business leader.

“Another benefit of the older properties is they tend to be larger – both erven and the rooms’ internal dimensions – a renovator’s delight,” says Nolu. 

Pinelands is known as the 15-minute suburb, thanks to its ideal location – 15 minutes from the CBD and to the international airport via the adjacent N2 highway. According to Knight Frank property consultants David Sims and Christina van Schoor, Pinelands is favoured by young and older residents.

“The main access road is appropriately Forest Drive. A proliferation of large trees sets the tone for a family-friendly suburb, complemented by children,” says Van Schoor.

The Wild Fig Restaurant, Observatory. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

“The area is well served by schools – preparatory and high; UCT is a short hop away and medical facilities, private and public, are great,” says Sims. While Pinelands is perceived as a retirement community, Lightstone statistics indicate a rapid shift to younger owners. Last year buyers under 49 made up 73% of all buyers.

As is the case with most residential sectors, prices have been under pressure. After uninterrupted growth since 2009, average freehold property peaked in 2008 at around R3.4 million; The median price dropped to R3.2m last year.

Freehold property remains in demand, mainly in the R3million to R4m range. Prevailing town planning and title deed restrictions are such that densification – popular in Claremont and Mowbray – is not possible in Pinelands, making the downsizing trend difficult to implement.

There are many older homes with larger erven and densification doesn’t prevail because of town planning and restrictions. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Comparatively, sectional title properties have stagnated over the past few years and now average around R1.275m. Significantly, sales of these units have fallen to 2009 levels. “There is an exciting development project in the pipeline on the Conradie Hospital site but it will be some time before the ground is broken,” say Van Schoor and Sims.

“Pinelands offers much: access to the city’s broader offering is easy because of excellent access, there are abundant family-necessary amenities such as schools, medical and shopping facilities; property prices are extremely competitive. There are also work opportunities in several industrial precincts – it’s the total residential package,” says Van Schoor.

Nolu Dube-Cele’s favourite things to do

There’s an amazing mix, young and old, celebrities or just the average Joe. We all regard ourselves as locals. If you go for a walk or jog on the tree-lined streets you’re bound
to encounter a well-known sports person, politician or business leader. – Nolu Dube-Cele, resident
Picture: Supplied

1 Outdoors

Pinelands in aptly called the garden city – a favourite is to walk or jog through the streets or enjoy one of many parks. For the more adventurous there’s pony/ horse riding at the Oude Molen EcoVillage; 073 199 7395

A family outing with horse riding at Oude Molen Eco Village. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

2 Eat

A local institution, Magica Roma authentic Italian eatery in Pinelands has been wowing locals for decades. Bookings a must; 021 531 1489. For sea fare, Saltwater Grill is a good option. 021 558 6450

3 Drink

While there are no alcohol off-sales in this suburb there are several sports clubs to visit and rub shoulders with long-time locals. If craft beer is your thing a visit to Hoghouse Brewing Co in Ndabeni, a light industrial area on the outskirts, is worthwhile; 021 810 4545

4 Shop

Mutual Park, head office of the global insurer, has an amazing centre on its property. Some shops are not available elsewhere in Pinelands; several good coffee options are suitable for meetings.

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