Cape Town Northern Suburbs

Living in the beautiful outskirts of the Mother City

What locals call the 'Cape Town northern suburbs' is not really covering the area to the north of Cape Town but more to the northeast of the Mother City. Cape Town's northern suburbs are located around the slopes of the Tygerberg hills. 

View from Tygerberg in Cape Town's Northern Suburbs

The suburbs in this area are so popular due to its quiet and friendly neighborhoods and lots of tree lined avenues and gorgeous views. The Tygerberg hills kind of divide the area into a northern area around Tygerfalls, Kenridge, Durbanville and Bellville as well as a southern area including the suburbs lying on the southern slopes of the hills like Plattekloof, Welgelegen, Panorama and Plattekloof Glen and the lower lying areas called Panorama and Tygerberg.

The N1 is the main traffic arterie wich connects Durbanville and the surrounding northern suburbs with Cape Town's city center as you will see on the picture below. So the main access roads into Cape Town from these suburbs are the N7 and M5 if coming from Plattekloof and the southern parts and the N1 if coming from Durbanville and the other northern and eastern suburbs. Among the Cape Town northern suburbs which are furthest out are Brackenfell and Vredekloof, but these are still popular with expats as many international offices are located in the Durbanville business district. The suburbs to the south of the N1 are generally referred to as Bellville and Parow. 

View from Tygerberg Cape TownViews from Tygerberg

The Cape Town Northern Suburbs at a glance:

  • Population: 54,000 residents in Durbanville. Predominant home languages: 56% Afrikaans, 42% English. Unemployment rate: 3.8%. (2011 census)
  • Distance to Cape Town CBD: 30km
  • Distance to Airport: 20km, Taxi Fee: R350
  • Driving Time into Cape Town: 40 min on the N1 In Rush hour: 90min-150min, between 6.30 and 9.00 as well as 16.00 and 18.00. There is a train connection to town from Bellville
  • Shopping: all the major chainstores and hyperstores, numerous major shopping centers in Durbanville like TygerValley Shopping Center, boutiques
  • Hospital: Panorama Mediclinic, Durbanville Mediclinic, Tygerberg Hospital
  • Schools: various excellent public schools and a range of private schools.

Durbanville and other popular Cape Town Northern Suburbs

There are two roads connecting the N7 with the N1: These are the M14 Plattekloof Road to the south of the Tygerberg and the M13 Tygerberg Road through the Durbanville Valley, where you pass - or better should stop and enjoy! - the wonderful wine estates of the Durbanville Wine Valley. 

Plattekloof Road divides Plattekloof from PanoramaPlattekloof Road

Durbanville itself has got a expansive town cente along Wellington Road where you can find everything from groceries to hardware stores to factory shops.

At the backside of the Tygerberg Hills you will find the Durbanville hills of the Durbanville Wine Valley with its wine estates such as Nitida, Bloemendal, D'Aria, Durbanville Hills and all the other wonderful places to enjoy a leisurely lunch or winetasting. Read more here. Read more here about the various wine farms.

The beautiful lush suburb of Welgemoed on the northern slopes of Tygerberg from where you are close to main entrance to the Nature Reserve, the new estates at Oude Westhof and older suburb Kenridge closer to Durbanvlle Center where lots of families want to move to due to the excellent public school are located to the west of busy Durban Road which leads to the N1.

From many of the properties in Eversdal, Sonnstral and Vredekloof to the east of Durban Road you can enjoy great views towards Stellenbosch. The properties in this area are often quite big, often beautifully renovated and come with lots of garden space.

Plattekloof 's Keurboom Crescent: geogeous views over Cape TownViews from Keurboom Crescent in Plattekloof

Plattekloof at the slopes of Tygerberg enjoys with awe inspiring views across Cape Town, but has got a funny naming history. The street planers made some mistake when developing the area at the slopes of the Tygerberg when naming this suburb and mixed up their plan with those of Panorama. So Plattekloof (literally "flat valley") is in fact one of the nicest places for housing in and around Cape Town as you have splendid views from most of the properties. 

Panorama however is much further down the slopes and lies in fact at the foot of the hills, but you will still have some views. So the suburbs Panorama, Welgelegen and Plattekloof Glen lie below Plattekloof Road and are slightly more densely populated and less expensive although as quiet and friendly.

Cape Town Northern Suburbs: Main Attractions

Here are some of the attractions when living in the Cape Town Northern Suburbs:

View from Bloemendal in the Durbanville Wine ValleyViews from Bloemendal in the Durbanville Valley
  • Visit the Durbanville Wine Valley: All the wine estates at a glance here.
  • Enjoy South African flora and fauna at the Tygerberg Nature Reserve
  • Take your kids tobogganing at Cool Runnings, see this and my other popular Cape Town kids activities here
  • Shopping galore: Visit the Willowbridge Mall: Outdoors mall schopping at its best or have great shopping experiences at the other big shopping centers in the area or shop till you drop at the Tygervalley Shopping Centre.
  • Enjoy the goodies at Durbanville craft market or visit the exhibitions at the historic Rust en Vrede Estate.
  • Improve your Golf Handicap at the Durbanville Golf Club

Cape Town Housing and Amenities in the Northern Suburbs

Shopping: There are great shopping facilities in Durbanville, Plattekloof and Brackenfell with the huge multi-storey Tygervalley Shopping Center, the outdoors mall at Willowbrige, the Lifestyle Centers at Cape Gate in Brackenfell or the slightly smaller shopping centers in Plattekloof off Plattekloof Road.

Housing in the Cape Town Northern Suburbs

Housing Prices for a 3-bedroom House range from ZAR2,500,000 to ZAR4,000,000. Rentals for a 3-bedroom house average at about R20,000. There are many new gated housing estates popping up in the area, most of them with big houses and lots of facilities, like at Van Ribeeckshof Oude Westhof, Avalon, Welgevonden, Kleinmeer and Burgundy Estate and many more.

Medical Facilities: small family practices as well as big medical centers, there are 24 hr service pharmacies at the hospitals too. The private hospitals in Panorama and Durbanville of the Mediclinic Group offer first class medical care and services. The Tygerberg Hospital is renowned as an excellent hospital which is affiliated with the Medical Faculty of the University of Cape Town.

Schools: There are various good Primary and High Schools in the area, like the outstanding public schools in Kenridge/Durbanville, Stellenberg and Eversdal and Fairmont High School. There are excellent privat schools in the area, like Chester House Private School with and English curriculum, El Shaddai Private School and Curro Private School in Sonnstral Heights.

Sporting Facilities: The Durbanville area offers all kinds of sporting activities. There is horse riding and a race course in Durbanville, Golf and Minigolf, Toboggan Ride near Tyger Falls, Ten Pin Bowling in Tygervalley. There are also Squash and Tennis Clubs as well as the Durbanville Football Club.

Walking and Birdwatching can be done in the Tygerberg Nature Reserve. There are beautiful trails and picnic areas where you can enjoy the splendid views over Cape Town towards Table Mountain or toward the rugged Stellenbosch Mountain range. See my photo diary about a day out on the Tygerberg.

Relaxed living in the Cape Town Northern Suburbs

In the Cape Town Northern Suburbs you will feel welcomed by your new neighbors. The lush green surroundings will have an effect on your mood and you will be able to breathe in fresh air. The air is cleaner here than in town, but there is not so much of a breeze as at the seaside so it can feel a bit warmer, but you will find plenty of shade under the many trees here.

And you will feel relieved living outside of the big city if you are not a fan of the hustle and bustle of big cities and here you can enjoy the relaxed pace of life in these little suburbs where the residents still enjoy braais with their neighbors on weekends.

The Northern Suburbs are definitely home to mostly Afrikaans speaking families, but most of them are bilingual (Afrikaans, English) and there is a growing international community living in these beautiful green suburbs too, so communication in English is easy. Many expats choose living in these northern suburbs as these are among the safest around Cape Town. It is here where kids still walk to school or ride their bikes in the streets. And if you do not have to commute far for work, say your office is located in Bellville or Century City, this is a good choice and you will find great housing options where you get value for your money.

You will also find many little delis where you will get your favorite foreign food. Not to forget the fabulous Fruit and Veg City in Willowbridge with its huge international food market where you will get Belgian chocolates, Swedish bread, German pretzels, French Cheeses or American sauces. There are many wonderful restaurants, hotel accomodation and plenty of friendly bed and breakfasts for a more personal atmosphere to be found in the Cape Town Northern Suburbs.

Have you got any interesting experiences about staying and living in Durbanville and the other Cape Town Northern Suburbs? Please share them with us and contact us.

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