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CAPE TOWN: Our insider’s guide to Rondebosch

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Rondebosch is an upmarket suburb which the president calls home when in Cape Town. It boasts some of the top schools in the country, the University of Cape Town and many top-notch sporting facilities

A circular grove of thorn trees on the banks of the Liesbeek River – Het Ronde Doornbosjen – gave the suburb its name. Today, Rondebosch is home to some of the country’s top government and private schools and the internationally acclaimed University of Cape Town.

Bisected by the southern railway line and with two canalised streams running through – the Liesbeek and Black rivers – Rondebosch enjoys stunning views of Table Mountain and is today a firm favourite residential precinct, particularly for families.

For auctioneer and resident Paul Hablutzel, Rondebosch has always been home. “I was born in the suburb and have always lived here. Schools are excellent and it is central to everything needed, yet it’s only a short run to the beach – False Bay or Atlantic seaboard.

Main Road in Rondebosch is a busy zone with shops, restaurants and bars. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

“There’s a strong sense of community. Having so many schools within close by ensures families mingle, and this breaks down barriers often found between schools. There’s always a Sunday game of touch rugby on a school field with boys from the entire suburb.”

Although the number of residential sales has declined over the past three years, the general malaise affecting prices is not reflected in Rondebosch. 

According to Lightstone, freehold homes have been on an uninterrupted upward curve since 2010. The average price for a freehold property is R5.253 million, and for a sectional title unit R1.701m.

The Groote Schuur Estate, home to Genadendal – the president’s Cape Town residence – is in Rondebosch. In May 1990 this is where the Groote Schuur Minute was concluded. It was the commitment that saw the beginning of the end of apartheid and included the release of political prisoners, a return of exiles and the eventual lifting of the state of emergency.

“An abundance of good quality educational institutions – prep, high and tertiary – are the catalyst for the strong prices,” says Brooks and Michaels consultant Jane Stirton.

“Rondebosch is a short commute to the CBD on good highways. Increasing decentralisation, especially financial services to nodes such as Claremont, makes homes here even more attractive.

“Areas commanding premium prices include the Golden Mile, Sunnybrae and Silwood, each within walking distance of Bishops College, Rondebosch Prep and high school, Rustenburg, Micklefield and Oakhurst Prep.” There is also a wide range of excellent sporting facilities.

The Western Province Cricket Club has extensive grounds and offers bowls, cricket, hockey, tennis and squash. Rygersdal is a popular soccer club. Rondebosch Golf Club is a huge drawcard.

“There are cycle paths along most main roads. It’s a blast from the past watching pupils making their way by bicycle or on foot. “Needless to say, there’s a fierce competitive spirit among the traditional boys’ schools. It’s not uncommon for the Bishops and Rondebosch derby to attract thousands of spectators.”

For thespians, the acclaimed Baxter Theatre is ideally positioned on the UCT lower campus and regularly features world-class productions. The rental accommodation market is alive and well, thanks to the proximity of UCT. Adding to the lure is the Jammie Shuttle, UCT’s free student transport.

Rondebosch offers double and single-storey homes on large leafy erven. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Running on a defined route and schedule, the buses are a common sight. Examples of rental units on the market are 56m² for one bed, one bath with garage at R9500 a month, and a 100m² three-bed with oneand-a-half bathroom and three parking bays at around R15000 a month.

“Rondebosch is a family-oriented suburb. Schools are excellent, there’s abundant shopping and medical facilities close by, properties tend to be larger and there is good value on offer. If you are raising a family and seek an old-fashioned ambience, Rondebosch could be the suburb for you,” says Stirton.

Paul Hablutzel’s favourite things to do

There’s a strong sense of community. Having so many schools close by ensures families mingle, breaking down barriers often found between schools. There’s always a Sunday game of touch rugby on one of the school fields between boys from the entire suburb. – Paul Hablutzel, resident Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

1 Outdoors

Keurboom Park is one of few free-run parks for dogs. Keep pets under control and they can enjoy time off the leash. Another favourite is Rondebosch Common. This 40ha green lung surrounded by highways and homes supports a wide range of flora – 300 plant species of which nine are on the Red Data List – and 110 bird species have been recorded.

2 Eat

Prego is a local favourite. Their Prego rolls of the same name are legendary; 021 686 0421. A hidden gem on a petrol station forecourt is Nice ‘n Spicy. Their strap line is Say Goodbye to Bland; 083 770 3024.

3 Drink

Michael’s is perfectly situated for a coffee after dropping children at school. They have a decent wine selection; 021 689 9188. It’s private but visitors are allowed. The Western Province Cricket Club, set among 8ha of park-like surrounds, offers spectacular mountain views from their balcony. A range of sports is on offer; 021 657 3330.

4 Shop

Rondebosch Potters’ Market is typically held in March and November. However, in light of virus curbs, check Facebook to confirm. The market features professional and hobbyist potters’ products from across the Western Cape; 083 290 3310. 

Rondebosch Potters’ Market is held at Rondebosch Park on Campground Road twice a year, but this month’s market might be jeopardised by the Covid-19 outbreak. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)


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