City Bowl at a glance
CITY CENTRE / CBD
Cape Town's city centre or Central Business District (CBD) covers approximately 8,25km2. The CBD is located at the foot of Table Mountain, in the centre of the City Bowl. The area is bound to the north by the N1 highway (Foreshore), to the east by Adderley and Roeland Streets (Gardens/Zonnebloem), to the south by Orange Street (Gardens), and to the west by Buitengracht Street (Schotschekloof ‘Bo-Kaap’).
The CBD is extremely pedestrian-friendly, and many walkways such as St Georges Mall, Government Avenue, and Waterkant Street are teaming with people on any given day. The CBD also offers a multitude of transport options which include MyCiti Bus Rapid Transport system, Golden Arrow Bus Services, private taxis, scooter and bicycle rentals, and the Cape Town railway station (opened in 1863).
There are approximately 1,400 freehold properties (including large buildings) and 5,000 sectional title apartments and offices in the CBD. Most of South Africa’s large financial institutions, accounting, and legal firms have offices within the CBD. The city centre has also become a popular location for start-up tech firms, international designer brands, art and music festivals, nightclubs, and trendy restaurants.
De Waterkant is a sub-district of the suburb of Green Point in central Cape Town. The neighbourhood is adjacent to the central business district (CBD) on the south eastern end of Somerset Road. To the south, it is neighboured by the colourful, largely-Muslim community of Bo-Kaap.
Due to its central location, niche restaurants, night clubs and retailers, De Waterkant is extremely popular amongst working professionals, tourists, and companies in the designer, finance, and tech. spaces. The area is home to the Cape Quarter Shopping Centre and Vega College's Cape Town campus.
The Foreshore is a mixed use area in central Cape Town, situated between the historic city centre and the modern port of Cape Town. The area is built on land reclaimed from Table Bay in the 1930s and 1940s in connection with the construction of the Duncan Dock to replace the old harbour.
Much of the Foreshore area is occupied by transport infrastructure for the port and Cape Town Railway Station, but the area also represents the point at which the N1 and N2 highways converge into the city. Notable buildings in the area are the Cape Town Civic Centre, Artscape Theatre, Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital, and the Cape Town International Convention Centre. In recent years, numerous high-value residential and commercial high rises have been constructed within the Foreshore.
SCHOTCHESKLOOF / BO-KAAP
Bo-Kaap is a residential area of Cape Town, formerly known as the Malay Quarter. It is a former township, situated on the slopes of Signal Hill above the city centre and is the historical centre of Cape Malay culture in Cape Town. The Nurul Islam Mosque, established in 1844, is located in the area.
Bo-Kaap is traditionally a multicultural area. The area is known for its brightly coloured homes and cobble stoned streets. As a result of Cape Town's economic development and expansion, and after the demise of forced racial segregation under apartheid, property in the Bo-Kaap has become very sought after, not only for its location but also for its picturesque cobble-streets and unique architecture. Increasingly, this close-knit community is facing a slow dissolution of its distinctive character as wealthy outsiders move into the suburb to snap up homes in the City Bowl at relatively low prices.
The Bo-Kaap museum located at 71 Wale Street, which dates back to the 1760s, is the oldest house in the area still in its original form. It highlights the cultural contribution made by early Muslim settlers, many of whom were skilled tailors, carpenters, shoe makers and builders.
Tamboerskloof is one of the oldest inner-city residential suburbs, and covers an area of approximately 1.04 km2. It is situated on the south eastern slopes of Lions Head and Signal Hill, adjacent to the neighbourhoods of Gardens and Bo-Kaap. Tamboerskloof is one neighbourhood within the bouquet of neighbourhoods referred to as the City Bowl.
Beautifully styled Victorian homes grace many of Tamboerskloof’s streets, while numerous contemporary residences have been added to the hillside over the last two decades. Due to the suburb’s proximity to the city, frequent MyCity buses along Kloofnek Road, and several local cafés and convenience stores all within walking distance, there is very little need for residents to use private transport.
The suburb has a very active neighbourhood watch called Tamboerskloof Neighbourhood Watch (TBKWatch) which assists the community with volunteer patrols, a radio network, a CCTV network and reporting of service issues such as out of order street lights, traffic lights, potholes, and blocked drains. They work very closely to a community control room (Watchcom), the South African Police Service, City of Cape Town Metro Police, nearby City Improvement Districts, local Armed Response/Security Service Provider companies, and nearby Neighbourhood Watches. This has made Tamboerskloof one of the safest suburbs in the City Bowl.
Several schools can be found within Tamboerskloof, including Tamboerskloof Primary School, German International School Cape Town, Jan van Riebeek Primary School, and Jan van Riebeek High School.
Higgovale is an affluent, residential suburb situated to the south of Camps Bay Drive on the City Bowl side, and is bordered by the suburb of Camps Bay to the west and Oranjezicht to the east with Lions Head to its immediate north west. There are approximately 260 freehold properties and 172 sectional title properties within the suburb.
Due to its sheltered, forest-like setting within the gorge between Lions Head and Table Mountain, Higgovale is known as one of Cape Town’s most wind-free areas. Higgovale is one neighbourhood within the bouquet of neighbourhoods referred to as the City Bowl.
Gardens is an inner-city suburb of Cape Town, situated south east of the city centre, from the lower elevations of the "City Bowl" right up to the entrance of the Table Mountain Cable Car. It is considered an affluent neighbourhood, populated largely by young to middle aged professionals and contains numerous chic restaurants, hotels, boutique shops, and apartment blocks. Gardens is one neighbourhood within the bouquet of neighbourhoods referred to as the City Bowl.
The suburb is also a hub for the Cape Town creative industry, being home to several design and film studios, modelling agencies, publishing companies and their associated industries. It is also home to the world-famous five-star Mount Nelson Hotel, Gardens Shopping Centre, and iconic Labia Theatre (68 Orange Street).
Vredehoek (Afrikaans: "corner of peace") is an inner-city suburb of Cape Town, located on the slopes of Devil’s Peak and Table Mountain. Due to its elevated position and orientation, the suburb enjoys some of the last sunlight of the day. Vredehoek is nestled between Oranjezicht, the city centre, and Devil’s Peak Estate. The suburb was proclaimed after the First World War and expatriates from many European countries settled there after peace was declared. Vredehoek is one neighbourhood within the bouquet of neighbourhoods referred to as the City Bowl.
Since the early 2000s, the suburb has undergone a tremendous urban revival, as older apartment blocks are either revamped or replaced with high-end, modern apartments. Numerous, modern, freestanding homes have also been built towards the upper reaches of the suburb.
Local favourites include Deer Park and its café, as well The Sidewalk Café (of Madame Zingara) in Derry Street. Due to its proximity to the mountain, the suburb is particularly popular with hikers and mountain bikers. Herzlia Highlands Primary, Middle and High Schools are located in MH Goldschmidt Avenue at the top of Vredehoek.
Oranjezicht is an inner-city suburb of Cape Town, roughly 113 ha in size. The suburb was built on the site of the old Oranjezicht farm. Oranjezicht is one neighbourhood within the bouquet of neighbourhoods referred to as the City Bowl.
The story behind the farm is that the Swiss canton of Fribourg, bought a property on the slopes of Table Mountain that he called “Oranjezicht” because of the good view from there of the Oranje (Orange) bastion of the Castle. Subsequent to his death, the farm was evidently acquired by Pieter van Breda (1696–1759), who arrived at the Cape in 1719 from the Netherlands. “Oranjezicht” was a farm for the next two centuries. The farm used to supply the Castle of Good Hope with fresh produce. Some of the buildings of the farm as well as the old slave bell are still at the location where the farm once stood. The farmhouse was on the property directly to the East of what is now a public park and playground. It was torn down in the 1960s to make way for a bowling green, which was later replaced by the Oranjezicht City Farm, a community farm, in 2013.
Oranjezicht is considered to be an affluent residential neighbourhood which offers a full spectrum of housing options, from studio apartments to palatial residences. The area contains numerous chic restaurants, hotels, boutique shops, and cafés.
The Molteno Dam in Oranjezicht, which is still operational today, was built in 1877 to provide water for Cape Town by storing natural spring water from Table Mountain. At the time it was located on the mountain slopes above the infant city, but the city grew around it, and it is now situated in the middle of the suburb, two roads above De Waal Park. De Waal Park is one of only two leash-free parks in Cape Town, the other being Keurboom Park in Rondebosch.
St. Cyprian's School and the Booth Memorial Hospital are both located in Oranjezicht.
Zonnebloem (Dutch for ‘sunflower’) is an inner-city mixed use suburb of Cape Town, which was previously part of District Six. It is located to the south east of the city centre.
Zonnebloem’s beginnings date back to 1707, when it was a small farm (or market garden), whose original purpose was to supply the ships anchored at Table Bay with scurvy-preventing fresh fruit and vegetables for their long ocean trips. Zonnebloem farm had a succession of owners until the early 19th century, when it became a suburb of Cape Town as the population and city boundaries grew. The suburb became a home to freed slaves, merchants, labourers, and immigrants. During apartheid, the area of District Six was declared a white-only area and the existing residents were evicted. Much of the open land has stood vacant since then, but redevelopment and redistribution is being planned in conjunction with the families that were previously, forcibly removed.
Zonnebloem is home to the District Six Museum, Fugard Theatre, the new E-TV head office, and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (Cape Town Campus).
University Estate is a residential suburb of Cape Town, located at the foot of Devil's Peak Mountain to the east of the city. The suburb is bounded by the De Waal Drive to the south, Eastern Boulevard to the north, and Mountain Road to the west. To the south lie the slopes of Devil's Peak within the Table Mountain National Park, to the north lies Woodstock and Salt River, and to the west lies District Six (Walmer Estate). Pedestrian access to Devil's Peak is possible via stairs to De Waal Drive on Kylemore Road and via a short walkway on the median between the highway's inbound and outbound lanes. Upper Woodstock and Salt River are accessible by foot from two pedestrian bridges across Eastern Boulevard.
Until F.W. de Klerk's government repealed the Apartheid’s 1950 Group Areas Act in June 1991, University Estate had been classed as an exclusively "white" area. Up until this point, the suburb was indeed inhabited solely by whites - a large number of the residents being from the Portuguese immigrant community. Over the years that followed, the suburb has become very popular among wealthier families from previously excluded racial groups.
Since the suburb is zoned almost exclusively for residential use, there are few businesses in the area. Exceptions include 88 Roodebloem Road (a small factory complex adjacent to Eastern Boulevard), a small number of guest lodges scattered throughout the area and some low-impact home businesses.
Maria Montessori Preschool is located on Garrick Road in University Estate, and there is a public park on the corner of Rhodes Avenue and Haig Road.
Woodstock is located between the docks of Table Bay and the lower slopes of Devil's Peak, about 1 km east of the city centre of Cape Town.
Woodstock has changed dramatically over the last decade. Young professionals have been quick to take advantage of relatively affordable Victorian semi-detached homes, many of which have been beautifully renovated and restored. Trendy restaurants, innovative media and other businesses, offices, shops and furniture showrooms have sprung up in cleverly converted and revamped warehouses, abandoned buildings and even a disused Castle Brewery.
The area was inhabited by Khoikhoi until the arrival of Dutch in the 1600s. Their subsequent decline followed as a result of fighting over land with the Dutch, imported European diseases and eventual assimilation into the Cape community. Three freehold farms (Zonnebloem, Leliebloem and Roodebloem) were established on the slopes of Devils Peak in 1692 and as the area became populated it became known as Papendorp - after Pieter van Papendorp, who had settled in the area during the mid-eighteenth century. By the middle of the 19th century, especially after the arrival of the railway line, Woodstock had become a fashionable seaside suburb with cottages next to the sea and a beach which stretched until the Castle of Good Hope. In the ‘age of sail’ a number of violent storms led to many spectacular shipwrecks along the beach. After a brief stint as New Brighton the residents voted in 1867 at the Woodstock
Hotel to change the area’s name to Woodstock.
During the 1870s with the subdivision of the old farms for low cost housing, Woodstock began to grow so rapidly that by 1884, less than a year after becoming a separate municipality, Woodstock was the third largest ‘town’ in the country. Ease of access to the harbour; improved transport; increased industrialisation and a rapidly growing working class population meant that the massive demand for supplies from the British troops during the First and Second Anglo-Boer Wars (1881 and 1899-1902) could be met, and industrial activity flourished, permanently changing the nature of the suburb. The first glass manufactured in South Africa was made at the Woodstock Glass Factory in 1879.
With the massive land reclamation of Table Bay in the 1950s to create the Cape Town foreshore, Woodstock beach was lost, and combined with the increasingly industrial nature of the suburb, Woodstock ceased to be a seaside resort. Woodstock however managed to remain integrated during Apartheid and survived being declared a ‘whites only’ area with the attendant forced removals and demolition of houses as was the case in nearby District Six. As a ‘grey’ area, many coloured and black people started to move into Woodstock during the 1970s and 1980s, laying the foundation for the urban renewal which was to start in the late 1990s.
Salt River is a suburb of Cape Town, to the east of Cape Town's central business district (CBD). Salt River is named after a river of the same name. The Salt River is formed by the confluence of the Liesbeek and Black Rivers. The river has been canalised and flows into Table Bay between Paarden Eiland and Brooklyn. Due to its close proximity to the CBD, Salt River was once the industrial heart of Cape Town.
The suburb became popular with Cape Malays and the so-called “coloured” working class. Most of whom moved into the area from District Six in the late 1950s and early 1960s, even before the "forced removals" from District Six (1966). Cape Malays and "coloureds" could buy houses in Salt River but Indians could not. However Indians were allowed to live in Salt River provided they buy or rent a house attached to a corner grocer shop. On almost every corner in Salt River there used to be grocer shops where people could buy daily necessities over the counter. Today Salt River is still largely populated by second and third generations of Cape Malay and "coloured" families. "Coloured" people are mostly of the Christian faith. Salt River is known to be one of the most religiously tolerant suburbs in the Cape, with Cape Malays, who are of the Muslim faith and "coloured" Christians getting along very well. There are several churches in the area and two mosques (Masjids) - one in Tennyson Street (Muhammadiyah Masjid) and one in Addison Road.
Salt River has many schools, a football club and sports field (Shelley Road), several small-medium breweries (including Devil’s Peak), and in recent years many large businesses have established offices in and around Durham Avenue and Foundary Road.
Affectionately known as Obz, the suburb is bordered by Mowbray to the south, and Salt River to the northwest. It is best known as a student neighbourhood, most of whom attend the University of Cape Town (UCT) located close by.
The suburb’s name is derived from the location and construction of the Royal Observatory in 1820, located in the area at 33°56′7.13″S 18°28′38.47″E. The Observatory houses the McClean Telescope. The building was designed by Sir Herbert Baker and was completed in 1897. The original buildings now serve as the headquarters of the South African Astronomical Observatory, with an on-site museum exhibiting various historic instruments and telescopes.
Observatory is also home to Groote Schuur Hospital - one of only three tertiary hospitals in Cape Town – and the place where Professor Christiaan Barnard famously performed the first successful heart transplant in the world.
During the years of apartheid, Observatory was one of the few de facto 'grey' suburbs where all races lived together. The neighbourhood has a longstanding, vibrant entertainment scene, with numerous restaurants and bars – many located along Lower Main Road.
The area is served by the Observatory railway station on the Southern Line, with regular trains every 40 minutes or so, and every hour on Sunday. In 2006, the Observatory Neighbourhood Watch was established, and CCTV cameras were erected at most of the exits and entrances to Obz. The Raapenberg Bird Sanctuary, which protects 10 hectares (25 acres) of land along the Liesbeek River, sits adjacent to Observatory.
Observatory has a soccer and hockey stadium (Hartleyvale Stadium) situated below the station, which is flanked on one side by Liesbeeck Parkway and on the other by Willow Road. In this section of land, there is also an outdoor swimming pool that is popular on summer afternoons – between the two there is a circus school. A driving range and nine-hole golf course is housed at the River Club.
Mowbray sits on the slopes of Devil's Peak, in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town. The suburb takes up roughly 2.76 km2 and has approximately 5,000 residents. Its original name was Driekoppen ("Three heads" in Dutch).
The Liesbeeck River flows from south to north through Mowbray, and separates the suburb into two distinct sections. The western section lies on the lower slopes of Devil's Peak, and contains most of the commercial development in the suburb. The eastern section, known as "Little Mowbray", lies on the low hill between the Liesbeeck and Black Rivers.
Mowbray is at a junction of several major Cape Town highways and has an important multi-modal public transport interchange at Mowbray railway station - served by the Metrorail Southern Suburbs railway line, a large Golden Arrow bus station with routes spread across Cape Town, and a minibus taxi rank.
Rhodes Memorial, built in memory of Cecil John Rhodes, lies on the slopes of Devil's Peak west of Mowbray near the M3 Highway. A national landmark, Rhodes Memorial lies within the Table Mountain National Park and was built with granite from the rock bases on which the mountain rests. The memorial site offers panoramic day time and night time views of the Cape Peninsula and Cape Town and is popular amongst tourists and locals.
The Mowbray Golf Course, adjacent to the N2 Highway, was established in 1910 and is recognised for being amongst the best in South Africa. It is an 18-hole golf course with a combination of links and parklands. The course has hosted the South African Open several times.
Another historical attraction - Mostert's Mill (a 7.94m high windmill) is located at the top of Mowbray. It was built in 1796 and is the oldest surviving and only complete windmill in South Africa. It was restored to working order in 1995 by Dunning-Bremer.
Pinelands, the original Garden City, was established in 1919. This primarily-residential area of 3,000+ houses and 1,500+ apartments is located just north of the southern suburbs and is flanked by Cape Town's major motorways - N1, M5, N2, and Voortrekker Road - making the suburb incredibly well-located, regardless of where one works in Cape Town.
Pinelands is renowned for its numerous Cape Dutch and thatch homes, excellent public schools, and abundance of trees. Occupying roughly 5,86 square kms, Pinelands was originally a pine tree plantation on the farm Uitvlugt. Its conversion to a formal suburb was the first attempt at a town-planned area in South Africa, and was based on the revolutionary town planning ideas of Sir Ebenezer Howard. The first home to be constructed and occupied in Pinelands was 3 Mead Way (February 1922), which was declared a national monument in 1983.
Pinelands is home to the head office of Old Mutual (Mutualpark), shopping centres Howard Centre and Central Square, and The Oval sports grounds.