The alchemy of Durbanville and Welgemoed

Discovering the magic of the Northern Suburbs

Thursday 16th of May 2024

By Anel Lewis

Sun streams in through the window, casting dappled shadows across the wooden tables. The comforting sound of coffee being brewed is muffled only slightly by the animated chatter coming from the group sitting next to me. They’re dressed in trendy hoodies; one is wearing funky suspenders. He looks a bit like Francois Van Coke, the singer and the Voice SA judge. But at odds with his hipster persona, is the toddler bouncing energetically on his lap. The gentleman sitting outside, in his plaid shirt and matching newsboy cap, plays Sudoku on his smartphone. A woman with intricate tattoos on her left arm, flips open her laptop, clearly at home here in her remote “office”.

We could be sitting in a café on Kloof Street, or a pavement bistro in Sea Point. But we are in fact in the heart of Welgemoed, one of Cape Town’s northern suburbs. Here at Alchemy Artisan Roasters, the coffee is served hot, the banana bread warm and the vibe is electric. Oh yes, and the Wi-Fi is free. At first I assume that Afrikaans will be the vernacular of choice. But then a woman in gym gear collects her regular order, asking in English for almond milk. The clientele at this bustling spot, much like the growing community that calls Welgemoed and Durbanville home, is eclectic and diverse.

It is a community that enjoys good food, fine wine and being outdoors, and Durbanville and Welgemoed certainly have plenty to offer. I grew up in the southern suburbs, and always thought Durbanville was a place you visited only if you had family “out there”. It never crossed my mind that , with its plethora of wine farms, quirky eateries and myriad of trail running routes, Durbanville and nearby Welgemoed could not only be destinations within themselves, but places I too could aspire to calling home.

I mean, where else in Cape Town can you quaff a Shiraz from a cave? Klein Roosboom Boutique Winery delights in calling their old concrete wine vat a “cave”, but when the wine is that good, does it really matter where it’s being enjoyed? Groot Phesantekraal, just outside Durbanville, holds its tastings in what used to be the chicken coop. Many of the 12-odd wine farms nestled among the vineyards and hills of this beautiful part of the world offer wine tours and tastings, including the eponymous Durbanville Hills and Nitida. For the craft beer fundi, Durbanville Breweries and Hoogeberg Brewing Co. at Signal Gun Wines offer a fine selection of brews to sample. And in keeping with the growing trend for bespoke gin, one can also do gin tastings at various spots in the valley, including Meerendal Wine Farm and the Durbanville Distillery.

If you’re seeking a more energetic pursuit, there are more than 70km of bike tracks flowing through the wine farms and nearby Tygerberg Nature Reserve to explore. The Majik Forest is a firm favourite with cyclists and runners, many of whom have access to this popular route from their homes. The weekly parkrun, where runners and walkers of all ages and paces can enjoy the outdoors, takes place every Saturday at Meerendal Wine Estate. Durbanville is synonymous with horse racing and the Durban Racecourse, one of only two in the province, is a landmark. Nearby, flanked by a nature reserve, is the Durbanville Golf Course, rated as one of the top 100 courses in the country. Many sporting codes are accommodated in the area, and there are clubs for baseball, rugby and squash in close proximity.

The revitalisation of Durbanville’s commercial hub, with many of the popular restaurants and shops one expects to find closer to Cape Town, has helped to attract younger buyers to the area. The brand new Village Square has a Woolworths concept store, with a bustling café, as well as a Tiger’s Milk, Hussar Grill and Creamery among others. It is worth visiting the Village Square just to eat at Lupa Osteria, a family-styled Italian restaurant where each meal is an experience. The pasta is homemade, and best savoured with a glass of traditional Limoncello, also homemade, of course. If its Italian flair you’re after, be sure to order the Carbonara. It is served before you from a “bowl” hollowed out of a massive orb of Parmesan cheese. It’s also possible to do an ethical or artisanal grocery shop at the Village Square’s – be it a steak from Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants, or fresh calamari from Die Visfabriek. There are also the perennial favourite spots, such as Chocolat Bistro and Soet Café. The popular Durbanville Fisheries on Wellington Road has even added the “Ramaphosa Parcel” to the menu, after the President popped into its Salt River branch for a pre-SONA snack.

Not only do Durbanville and Welgemoed boast a diverse offering in terms of lifestyle; they also offer a range of property options. These include the lock-up-and-go units one sees closer to Durbanville’s central commercial hub, the trendy apartments one sees near Tygervalley Waterfront, as well as the expansive properties tucked away in the tree-lined streets of established suburbs such as Welgemoed, Vygeboom, Eversdal, Vierlanden and Kenridge. With perceptions changing about Durbanville’s lifestyle offering, Pam Golding Properties reports considerable buyer interest, and its office recorded the highest turnover regionally for the first half of the year.

Pam Golding Properties’ Durbanville and Welgemoed offices reported combined sales of over R160 million for the first six months of the year

“Many of the buyers in Durbanville and Welgemoed are from other parts of the northern suburbs, especially Plattekloof, Brackenfell and Kraaifontein. We see that as their lifestyle needs change – perhaps they have children starting school – they choose to move,” says Annien Borg, Pam Golding Properties MD for the Boland and Overberg, and area manager for Durbanville and Welgemoed. “There are more than 15 multi-lingual primary and high schools in the Durbanville area alone. Plans for a new university campus, to be developed by Stadio Holdings, a subsidiary of the Curro group, are already in the pipeline. The campus, expected to accommodate up to 5 000 students, will also attract families into the area.” Buyers from the Southern Suburbs and the Western Seaboard also drawn to Durbanville because of its excellent schooling and comparative value for money.

More than a third of Durbanville’s residents are English speaking (2011 Census)

One can’t help but notice Durbanville and Welgemoed’s well-kept streets, the ample green spaces and magnificent views of the Paarl Mountains, or Table Mountain, Table Bay and Robben Island – depending on where you are sitting when enjoying a freshly brewed coffee or a craft beer. “Despite Durbanville’s growing popularity and expansion, it has retained the country ambience that has endeared it to those who live here,” says Borg. Durbanville has a rich history, and the area includes heritage gems such as Evertsdal Opstal and the Victorian and Edwardian homes on Oxford and Church streets respectively.

Commercial development has had a significant knock-on effect on these two areas’ residential property market. One just needs to drive down Jip de Jager, recently upgraded to make access to and from Durbanville easier, to see how the construction of several office blocks has sparked further residential growth. The Klein D’Aria Estate, still under construction, offers 22 luxury homes, within walking distance of Majik Forest, as well as office and commercial space.

Lifestyle estates are always sought after, and again, there’s a range of estates in Durbanville and Welgemoed from which to choose, depending on your preferences. Welgedacht Estate, offering an upmarket country lifestyle, has properties ranging from townhouses starting at R3 million to six-bedroom homes of upwards of R27 million. Pam Golding Properties is involved in resales at Clara Anna Fontein Estate, where the median house price is R4.2 million. Catering for every life stage, Durbanville also offers retirement options such as the Zonnezicht, which offers a combination of independent living and frail care on site, with units starting from R2.1 million.

Despite its expansion, Durbanville and Welgemoed both offer a pleasing mix of contemporary and older homes. Whether you’re looking for a home with state-of-the-art features, or a well-loved property providing the ideal canvas for renovation, there’s something for you in Durbanville and Welgemoed. “These areas offering town living, within a city. They are also just a short drive away from Cape Town, Blouberg and Paarl,” says Borg.

After spending a day exploring Durbanville and Welgemoed, I thought about how best to describe my altered perception of these multidimensional areas. I think the mural on the wall of my now-favourite coffee spot sums it up best: Alchemy: a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination. There’s certainly something magical about this area, where on one drive you can experience vineyards, rolling hills, fine dining, excellent wines, trail running and a host of other activities. But don’t just take my word for it, come and visit Durbanville to experience its alchemy for yourself.

View our Durbanville and Surrounds properties here.

For more information, contact Pam Golding Properties Durbanville: 021 975 7209

Posted by The Know - Pam Golding Properties