Words: Betsie Loock-Van der Merwe | Images: Supplied & Google Maps
Nestled in the heart of Pretoria’s Old East, the suburb of Brooklyn offers the best of three worlds: a charming residential area dating back to the early 20th century with its Victorian poise, a sophisticated, bustling revived business hub, as well as comprehensive amenities like schools, churches, medical and professional facilities, and entertainment offerings. This tasteful neighbourhood offers the ideal space to live, work and play – equally convenient for established families and young professionals.
On top of it all, Brooklyn boasts a fantastic central and convenient location just east of Pretoria’s CBD en route to the N1 highway ensuring easy access to main arteries as well as Gauteng’s freeway network.
Property in Brooklyn is relatively expensive, attracting middle-high to high-income residents, as well as investors and developers. The residential market mostly comprises free-standing houses in lovely tree-lined streets. These are also high in demand as it either offers a tranquil living space in a sought-after neighbourhood, or it’s bought up and turned into guesthouses or professional practices and home-based businesses.
Another component is cluster accommodation such as blocks of flats, apartments and townhouses offering a modern lock-up-and-go lifestyle enjoyed by young individuals and couples. Student accommodation in this neighbourhood is also popular as it is closely situated to Tuks University.
Traditionally, the largest percentage of stable homeowners is documented in the age category of 50 to 64 (almost 42%). However, it is also the category that recently showed the highest proportion of sellers with the younger generation gradually moving into the area.
Existing for almost 120 years, the suburb of Brooklyn and its immediate neighbouring suburbs boast a rather impressive collection of well-established schools.
Brooklyn Primary School and Waterkloof Primary School are both English-medium public schools that pride themselves in their excellent track record and outstanding performance over the years. Their Afrikaans-medium counterparts, Laerskool Pretoria-Oos and Laerskool Anton van Wouw, are both top-achieving schools of excellent standing that attract learners from all over the city.
Waterkloof House Preparatory School is a well-known independent preparatory school for boys from Grade 0 to Grade 7 and offers boarding facilities to learners from Grade 3.
Younger independent schools of good repute (some of which offer education up to Grade 12) located in the area are Courtney House Learning Centre, Crawford College Pretoria and The British Academy’s Brooklyn campus.
Brooklyn is home to the renowned Pretoria Boys High School which originated over 110 years ago. The prestigious Hoërskool Menlopark situated in Brooklyn’s next-door neighbour, Menlo Park, offers Afrikaans-medium education to learners of the area. Secondary phase learners who excel in sport, can apply to be accepted at TuksSport High School, situated at the University of Pretoria’s High Performance Centre in the adjoining suburb of Hatfield.
The Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary, located within walking distance from Brooklyn in the suburb of New Muckleneuk, offers a delightful breathing space in the middle of the city.
The mixed bushveld, Walker and Argo spruits, exotic plantation and wetland basins, attract a prolific birdlife and some species of small game can be observed. This includes some unique birds like the crowned crane and blue crane. Guided walks at a nominal fee are also offered and must be booked in advance. The well-known Blue Crane Restaurant and Bar is situated next to the sanctuary with a deck overlooking the dam and reserve.
Groenkloof Nature Reserve is about a 10-minute drive from Brooklyn and offers different outdoor activities like hiking trails, 4×4 trail nature trails and horse trails. Game that can be seen include, among other, zebra, duiker, kudu, impala, blue wildebeest, ostrich, giraffe and a rich birdlife.
Mostly I just love the beauty. Tree canopies, well-kept sidewalks and lovely old houses, feels so surreal… like the scenes in movies in the American suburbs where kids ride their bikes down the road and girls jog with their dogs in these picture-perfect streets.
Stefney van Deventer, resident
- Brooklyn Mall and Brooklyn Square
- Cherry Lane Shopping Centre
- The Club Centre
- Waterkloof Corner
- Signature Restaurant: fine dining in a classic setting
- Geet Indian Restaurant: highly regarded for decades, authentic Indian cuisine
- Mugg & Bean: popular breakfast and lunch meeting place
- Capeesh Italian Restaurant: as Italian as it gets
- Phoenix Spur Steak Ranch: family-friendly grill house
- October and November: Myriad of Jacaranda trees blooming
- Van Wouw House Museum: in honour of the famous sculptor, Anton van Wouw.
- The latest art film at Cinema Nouveau, Brooklyn Mall
- Movies at Ster-Kinekor, Brooklyn Mall
- Brooklyn Square Rooftop Vintage & Collectables Fair