Words: Nicola Jenvey | Images: Micaela De Freitas
Greyville lies just below the ridge of Durban, essentially between the traditional central business district (CBD) and the more upmarket residential area considered the Berea. On its southern edge are the Botanic Gardens, Africa’s oldest surviving botanical garden, having been established in 1849 as a botanic station for the trial of agricultural crops, while the northern edge flanks the neighbourhood of Morningside.
Originally part of the huge marshy wastelands that engulfed the low-lying areas around the Durban harbour before the land was drained for viable inhabitancy, Greyville was named after the Cape governor Sir George Grey. Two of the prominent roads in the neighbourhood today still honour Prince Albert Victor. As Queen Victoria’s grandson, he was the Duke of Clarence and Avondale, and Clarence and Avondale roads bear witness to a royal family member who died aged only 23.
Anyone living within the Greyville neighbourhood cannot ignore the Greyville Race Course as a key characteristic. The race course is Durban’s first – and therefore longest-running – sports venue and regularly hosts race meetings on Wednesday and Friday evenings or over the weekends.
When the track is not resounding with galloping hooves, it resonates with exercise enthusiasts running and walking either alone or with their dogs.
Locally the Vodacom Durban July, taking place this year on 7 July, carries a weight comparable to Britain’s Royal Ascot. It’s a culmination after months of planning to display high fashion, exciting horse racing, food, champagne and corporate hospitality.
The main race takes place over 2,2km and the final four races are run under floodlights to add another dimension to the horse-racing experience.
Residential properties in Greyville traverse the housing spectrum, from‑freestanding homes and secure complexes, to the most prominent feature: the dominance of large blocks of flats.
This means there are opportunities for first-time homebuyers to secure their opening rung on the property ladder, young families to expand their living space, and investors wanting to acquire residential units to let while potentially also living in the neighbourhood.
Greyville is laid out in a grid-like format following the geographical contours with the avenues running parallel to the sea. This affords property owners, particularly those inhabiting apartments on the higher floors, views of the Indian Ocean and Greyville Race Course.
There’s a myriad of educational options within the Greyville neighbourhood, mostly government schools with a solid reputation, but also private educational facilities. Schools include Greyville Primary School, Clarence Primary School, Orient Islamic School, Sastri College, St Augustine’s Catholic Primary School, Futura High School and Durban Girls Secondary School.
The various Durban University of Technology (DUT) campuses in the area, as well as the University of South Africa (Unisa) campus, are the dominant education facilities for tertiary training.
The Durban July isn’t the only reason to visit the Greyville Racecourse with locals flocking to the race course for Friday night racing. Greyville is also home to the Royal Durban Golf Course, one of the few golf courses to be situated right by a horse track.
The area also boasts the Botanic Gardens, renowned for some of the finest collections of botanic species anywhere in Africa. Intermittently, the gardens are the venue for music concerts, either by local or international artists, or by the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Residents have the added advantage of having two of Durban’s best-known restaurants on their doorstep – Joop’s Place and 9th Avenue Bistro. Both tick all the fine-dining boxes and have become landmarks in this suburb. For those who want to kick back and relax with something not quite so fancy, there are numerous coffee shops and restaurants.
There are a number of shopping centres nearby to choose from, including City View Shopping Centre, Windermere Centre and Musgrave Centre. The area is also close to a number of factory outlets which generally sell well-known brands at good prices.
“I love the vibe that is Greyville – there is always something happening that makes living here exciting and driving the energy of a community environment”
Preveshnie Naidoo, resident
- Market Restaurant, Morningside: for a relaxed breakfast, lunch or supper
- 9th Avenue Bistro, Morningside: for modern dishes with a Mediterranean influence
- Joops Place, Essenwood: for great-tasting grills
- Butcher Boys Florida Road: for well-aged, grain-fed steaks
- The Green Mango, Morningside: for Japanese and Thai dishes
- Mamma Luciana’s, Florida Road: for traditional Italian cuisine
- Freedom Cafe, Windermere: for contemporary cafe fare
- Catch Goldfish live on 6 July at the Durban Botanic Gardens.
- Discover the William Campbell picture collection at the Killie Campbell Museum.
- Play a round at the Royal Durban Golf Club.
- Get your adrenaline pumping at the Friday night racing at Greyville Race Course.
- Find hidden gems at the Car Boot Flea Market.
- Do all your shopping at City View Shopping Centre in Morningside.
- City Hospital
- Netcare Parklands Hospital
- Life Entabeni Hospital
- Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital