Words: Georgina Guedes
Residents in this popular neighbourhood are spoilt for choice when it comes to views and it has convenience, outdoor spaces and easy access to other suburbs as part of the deal. Northcliff is situated on and around Northcliff Ridge, which has views over the Northern Suburbs of Joburg on one side and the CBD on the other. The better the view, the more costly the property.
Louise Ferreira is a writer who lives in a ground-floor apartment in the foothills of the ridge, overlooking the koppie. She moved to Joburg from Cape Town in 2011 to complete the conditions of her journalism degree bursary, working for a media company in Auckland Park. She and another bursary recipient were looking for a rental apartment to share in the area. A Joburg university friend’s mother helped by checking out potential rentals before they arrived.
They found an apartment in a security complex with two bedrooms and a garden, and moved in. Louise stayed on through a couple of roommates, until, at the end of 2014, her father suggested that investing in property would be a good next step into the world of adulthood. Louise was considering this, when her landlady, an elderly woman, offered to sell her the apartment. Having been very happy there, and enjoying the location and surroundings, Louise jumped at the opportunity.
“It’s a really fantastic complex in a cul de sac. It’s quiet and feels safe. Even though my flat is up one flight of stairs, because it’s against the koppie, it opens onto a garden, which is a huge drawcard. I was already happy here, so there was no point in finding a different place when this one was working so well.”
After buying, Louise no longer took in flat mates, but brought two cats home to live with her. She’s happy and settled in her apartment. Northcliff works for her, because she says it’s “a really lovely area” with old tall trees, and convenient shops and restaurants close by.
Juane Celliers, Pam Golding Properties area specialist for Northcliff, has lived there herself for 30 years and is passionate about the suburb. She says the area has excellent schools including Northcliff Primary and Northcliff High, Abbott’s College, Reddford House, Northwest Christian School, Cliffview and Fairland Primary.
She describes the area as “upmarket” and “family friendly”, central to both Sandton and the CBD and many main routes through Joburg. “There are many well-maintained parks for children to play in, joggers to jog in and cyclists to cycle in, and where you can take dogs walking,” she says.
She adds that there are many excellent policing initiatives and private security companies operational in the area, keeping homes and loved ones safe. Sections of the suburb have been boomed off as well.
Speak to any Joburg resident about Northcliff and most of them will immediately think of the Impala Fruit & Veg, a destination shopping extravaganza that has expanded from green groceries into meat, baking, coffee and more.
“We started with the Fruit & Veg and people asked us if we sold flowers, so we started the flower shop. Then they wanted a nice butcher, so we moved the Fruit & Veg store into what used to be a furniture store and made the butchery where the Fruit & Veg store was,” says owner Francisco de Agrela.
They also opened a coffee shop around 20 years ago because Francisco believes that people don’t really want to go to big malls to enjoy a cup of coffee. “It’s becoming more apparent in areas like Linden and Melville. They are looking for a place where they can just park and have a nice cup of coffee and breakfast. They want intimate places.”
He says the Northcliff community is “great”, with lots of Afrikaans people but now having “a good mix” of residents as well.
Louise buys her fruit and veg from Impala, and while she’s at it, pops in to Olivia’s bakery next door. She also does her convenience shopping at the Verde Centre, which has a Woolworths, Dis-Chem and pet shop.
“It’s convenient, but if I need to go to a bigger store, Cresta Centre is just down the road.”
She also frequents Linden and Melville, which are five minutes away in either direction, but in her own neighbourhood, she says you can’t eat Lucio’s for pizza.
The best thing about living in Northcliff is that it’s a place where I really feel at home and I feel safe
Louise Ferreira, resident
- Cresta Shopping Centre
- Mountainview Centre
- The Fairland Walk
- Olivia’s Bakery: fresh bread and a friendly place for a coffee and breakfast
- Shallow Waters Chinese and Sushi Restaurant: get your fix of Asian Cuisine
- Lucio’s Pizzeria: great Italian food and wall posters detailing the evolution of the Ferrari
- The Boss Portuguese Family Restaurant: classy meals with Portuguese flare
- The MV Café: a friendly vibe, relaxed atmosphere, fresh food and clean, modern interiors.
- Take a hike up Northcliff Hill to watch the sun rise or set.
- Sign your family up for rowing sessions on Emmarentia Dam or stroll through the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens and smell the roses.
- Go bowling with your friends or play a few rounds of pool at the Northcliff Bowl.
- See throwbacks and impersonations of some of the biggest icons in music history at The Barnyard Theatre.
- Visit the Craft Beer Library for a celebration of the range of quality beers and ciders that South Africa has to offer.