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Fontainebleau: Spreading branches

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Named after a French palace, the suburb has a river running through it, and it is a friendly area close to schools, popular shopping malls and entertainment centres

Fontainebleau may not have an Eiffel Tower, as its name suggests, but it does have the highest climbing wall in Africa.

Tucked away in the established northern suburbs, the friendly neighbourhood of Fontainebleau lies in the north-western cradle of Randburg, neighbouring Randpark, Randpark Ridge, Robin Hills, Malanshof and Ruiterhof.

The original surveyor of the neighbourhood named it Fontainebleau after a visit to France and seeing the famed French palace of the same name.
Pieter Roux, area specialist for Vered Estates, says France’s “Fontainebleau” was a favourite hunting lodge and residence of the kings of France because of abundant game and many springs (fontaine) in the forests surrounding the impressive castle. The Randburg version has a waterway running along the northern edge in the form of the Jukskei River.

“With regards to buying and selling property, Fontainebleau offers affordable family accommodation in a great environment and families with children have a choice of excellent Afrikaans and English schools. Property turnover in the area is relatively low. Families enjoy a great lifestyle and normally stay on until children move out of the house and it becomes time to scale down,” says Roux.

He says a further drawcard for families and property owners are numerous shopping malls, medical suites and clinics and sport/entertainment centres close by, including Randburg Sports Club.

“Fontainebleau is certainly a gem in the north-west of Johannesburg and property owners can expect a good return on investment.”

Estelle Langenhoven has lived in the area since September 1991, when she moved in with her young family. “It is an old, established neighbourhood, with lots of lovely old trees. Sadly, I see many new residents chopping down big trees for no apparent reason. I love the rich birdlife and feed the birds every morning. The area is central with easy access to freeways and shopping centres and several good English and Afrikaans schools.

With the help of social media, there is more of a cohesive neighbourhood spirit. Over the years, the area has become more diverse, originally from predominantly older Afrikaners to a
variety of cultures and races over time, which I believe adds to the community. Resident Estelle Langenhoven
Picture: Karen Sandison/ANA Pictures

“We went through a lot of upheaval some months ago, first with new water pipes and then optic fibre cables being installed. I believe the shared irritation around trenching and crews cutting electricity and water supplies brought the community closer,” says Langenhoven, who manages a newly-formed residents’ association.

She says many new residents are doing maintenance, improvements and extensions to original homes to the benefit of all. Crime, however, continues to be a problem.

“Social media groups like WhatsApp help to keep residents informed about crime. We are lucky to have a number of pro-active and reactive security companies in the area.”

She says there are number of good restaurants in Cresta shopping centre and in Boskruin.

“Randburg Harriers Athletics Club has their home base at the sports grounds and arranges regular club runs, as well as an annual 10km Valentine’s race, which has become quite an event. We are lucky to have two committed and involved councillors – Mike Wood and David Potter – who help residents resolve municipal service delivery issues.”

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