With a history dating back to the late 17th century, Wynberg has been transformed over the decades from a farm into a suburb that is today a sought-after, and affordable, address
The rich history of Wynberg, situated about 14km from the centre of Cape Town’s CBD, dates back to the late 17th century. Originally known as the farm De Oude Wijnberg (Old Wine Mountain), urban development increased when the British took over in 1795. The area evolved into a thriving farming community which sparked the rise of commercial and residential properties.
It served as a halfway house between the Cape and Simon’s Town, a holiday destination with views all the way across False Bay. A military base was established in 1804, and visitors included the astronomer John Herschel and evolutionist Charles Darwin.
Later, after the farmlands were subdivided to build more properties, Wynberg became a fully-fledged town with its own municipality and magistrate’s court in 1886.
During the apartheid era, Wynberg was split between east (coloured) and west (white), or Lower and Upper, respectively. The train line which runs between the two served to further emphasise the separation of the race groups.
With remnants of the past expressed in the architecture of the suburb, Wynberg remains self-contained and is a much sought-after address because of its central location, says Fiona Eadie, area specialist for Chas Everitt International.
“The Main Road, which links the Cape Town CBD to the False Bay coast, runs through the middle of Wynberg, and the M3 freeway on the suburb’s western boundary provides quick access to the University of Cape Town, Groote Schuur Hospital, the CBD and the Foreshore. Wynberg also has its own station on the main commuter railway line between Cape Town and Simon’s Town,” she says.
An enclave within Wynberg is Chelsea Village, made up of a network of quiet lanes leading off Wolfe Street and containing a large number of Georgian cottages, townhouses and heritage homes which are among the most desirable in the area.
Despite its location and cachet, Wynberg is a relatively inexpensive area in which to buy property compared to neighbouring Claremont, Bishopscourt and Constantia, says Eadie.
“It has a large number of sectional title apartments, which makes it attractive to younger buyers. A total of 34.5% of recent buyers were young professionals and entrepreneurs in the 18 to 35 age group.
“The area also boasts some of the top schools in the metro. This is a major attraction for family buyers, who accounted for 33.9% of recent purchases. These include Wynberg Boys and Girls high schools and associated junior schools, Springfield Convent and St Augustine’s.
“Consequently, there is always high demand for property in Wynberg and almost always a shortage of homes for sale, and this has underpinned strong price growth over the past five years.
“The average house price in the area has more than doubled since 2013 from R1.3million to R2.66m, and the average apartment price has risen 62% to R950000 currently.”
Places of interest and things to do in the area
Four And Twenty in Chelsea Village (021 762 0975) is a popular spot for all-day breakfasts, hearty lunches and a pantry full of sweet and savoury delights. In Ottery Road, it’s a toss-up between Aneesa’s (021 797 5682) and Cosy Corner (021 797 2498).
We’re well out of season at the moment but during the summer months, Maynardville presents an annual Shakespeare production in its open air theatre, and other theatrical shows including ballet and a variety festival. It also hosts the annual Community Chest Carnival, which everyone who was a child in this area remembers with great fondness. 021 421 7695.
The Main Road is filled with shops which offer fantastic bargains – you just have to be prepared to put in the legwork. Maynard Mall (021 762 1500), on the corner of Wetton and Main roads, is convenient for everyday shopping – just up the road from the station and on the bus and taxi route – with Shoprite as an anchor and an array of fashion and beauty stories, banks and service outlets and fastfood restaurants.
Spanning 22ha, Wynberg Park is renowned for its conifer garden and carpet of colour its hydrangeas create when in bloom. There are paths for walking and lawns for picnics and braais. The playground and duck pond make this perfect for youngsters to spend the day. 021 710 9403.
Pick your own roses – which really smell like roses, unlike their hothouse cousins – at Chart Farm on Klaassens Road. In season, visitors can also hand-pick grapes, apples and other fruit. A farm stall offers homemade goods and a coffee shop provides a pick-me-up. 021 761 0434