Words: Anne Schauffer | Images: Supplied & Google Maps
Glenwood lies on the lower reaches of the Berea, geographically sandwiched between Rick Turner and Alan Paton roads, yet for locals, even though the map would argue the point, it essentially stretches further up than that, and is termed Upper and Lower Glenwood.
Aside from Glenwood’s relative affordability compared to a number of other Berea suburbs, it’s positioned around two of the key hospitals, Life Entabeni and Netcare St Augustines, which makes it a handy home for nursing and medical staff. In addition, right on the crest of the slope overlooking Durban, is the iconic University of KwaZulu-Natal, so student accommodation is in high demand and the buy-to-let market responded to that need. To add to that demand – five minutes across the busy N3 freeway – is the Durban University of Technology.
Glenwood has a wide range of property types, different within little pockets of the suburb, and on the slopes of Glenwood, many of the gracious old homes and even older apartment blocks have sensational sea and harbour views. Wise buyers snapped up the old flats there with beautiful parquet floors, high ceilings and oversized rooms (compared to contemporary buildings), and these still come on the market today at appealing prices. A number of really charming roads in Glenwood are populated by delightfully restored little Edwardian or Victorian cottages, some still residential, others businesses.
Resident Duncan Good adds, “We’ve lived here since 1989, and you can’t beat it for sea and harbour views and accessibility. Parks, bus routes, university, hospitals, the beachfront – you name it – are on our doorstep, and just perfect for our Airbnb unit.”
Glenwood and neighbouring suburbs have a wide range of great schools with excellent reputations, namely Glenwood High School, Glenwood Preparatory School, and Glenwood Junior Primary School. In addition, there’s the well-respected Penzance Primary School and Durban Girls’ High School. Long-standing private school St Henry’s Marist College is in the heart of Glenwood, but in close proximity are the private girls’ and boys’ schools of Durban Girls’ College, Maris Stella, and Clifton School across the N3. In Esther Roberts Road, the well-known Open Air School for children with special needs has been open since 1921 and caters to about 250 children.
One of the key areas in Glenwood, is around the KZNSA Gallery, a complex of art gallery, workshop space, art and craft shop, and a popular cafe with a great indoor-outdoor vibe, complete with kids’ play centre. There are a number of creatives who inject energy and drive traffic to the KZNSA, and who’ve kept it alive and well when the arts countrywide is low down on the priority list. From weekend drawing workshops to the Christmas Buzzart shopping spree and wonderful gallery openings, the KZNSA is a favourite spot to meet up with friends.
Glenwood is an urban space, with a couple of green belts like Bulwer Park and the 10ha forest that is Pigeon Valley Nature Reserve – this reserve has trails, over 110 species of trees (notably the Natal elm) and wonderful birdlife. The Friends of Pigeon Valley undertake a monthly walk, remove alien species, and are contactable on their Facebook page.
The community responds well to lively events on the calendar like markets and First Thursday events. Glenwood’s quirkiness is particularly appealing in the shape of second-hand, vintage and cottage furniture stores.
Resident, artist and teacher Dee Donaldson concludes, “Glenwood feels like a neighbourhood. It may be that I’ve been here longer than anywhere else, but I know the local shop owners, dog walkers, car guards, waitrons and neighbours by name. It has an unpretentious intimacy about it. It feels older and a little more ‘worn-in’ and easy-going than other parts of Durban… be that true, or not.”
Glenwood is a largely beautiful suburb – accessible from everywhere – with some of the upper areas providing spectacular views of the city, beachfront and beyond. It’s also well known for the very old flowering trees lining the streets which provide a delightful kaleidoscope of colour in spring.
Pam Smith, resident
- Parc Cafe: fresh, flavourful and seasonal menu options
- Glenwood Bakery: breads that are hand formed, slow fermented and baked in a hearth oven
- The Bean Green Coffee Roastery: light meals to accompany your cup of joe
- Olive and Oil: Mediterranean-inspired cuisine
- Mooki Noodle Bar: Japanese noodle bar offers fun decor and fresh food
- KZNSA Arts Cafe: a bite before exploring the KZNSA Gallery
- Julios Continental Restaurant: a touch of Portugal in Glenwood
- Tamarisk Bed and Breakfast
- Makhaya Bella Guesthouse
- Roseland House
- The Good Life Mansion
- Life Entabeni
- Netcare St Augustines
- Durban Oncology Centre
- King Edward VIII Hospital