Words: Nicola Jenvey Images: Stephen Pilbrough, Paulo Menezes & Google Maps
Established in 1847, Westville’s first settlers were German immigrants who arrived the following year and the neighbourhood was proclaimed a borough in 1956. Today it encompasses a wide area and residents typically break down their area into Westville North, Westville Central, Dawncliffe, Berea West, Chiltern and Atholl Heights.
Formerly an independent town with its own council, Westville lies 10km inland from the Durban central business district (CBD) and is now part of the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality.
Westville offers an array of property types, sizes and styles and the same street may hold a Cape Dutch-styled home, modern architecture with a rambling garden, and a gated community for lock-up-and-go. The neighbourhood appeals to families given the outstanding government and private schools in the area, but also attracts young professionals, singles and the elderly who appreciate the quiet, peaceful environment.
“Westville remains KwaZulu-Natal’s best kept secret with house prices offering outstanding value for money – as applicable today as it was when we bought here more than 50 years ago. We could purchase a large family house with an acre of ground for the price of a postage stamp property on the Berea where the neighbours complained about the noise,” resident Liz Horner says.
One downside, specifically a reflection of South Africa’s economic issues, is its perception as a wealthier suburb, which has criminals breaking into houses. However, the outcome has been the establishment of strong community policing forums across the neighbourhood as locals have fought back, resident Fiona Hollins says.
Westville is renowned for its high education standards in its government schools. These include Westville Boys’ and Westville Girls’ High schools, Atholl Heights Primary School, Berea West Junior and Senior Primary schools, Pitlochry Primary School and Westville Junior and Senior Primary schools. Private schools include Kainon Primary School, Deutsche Schule Durban and Al Habib College.
There are also tertiary education facilities with a 2km2 University KwaZulu-Natal Westville campus, Varsity College Westville campus, the International Hotel School located at the Westville Hotel, and Fusion Cooking School.
“Westville is a solid middle-class suburb where every requirement is met without moving outside the neighbourhood. There are good schools, hospitals and medical facilities, shops and entertainment, while benefitting from the extensive greenery of the lush garden environment,” resident Alex Burgess says.
There are several churches across Westville including the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Methodist Church, Westville Baptist Church, St Elizabeth’s Anglican Church and the One City Church held at the Westville Country Club. The neighbourhood’s major mosque is the Habibia Soofi e Aastana Masjid opposite Westville Boys’ High.
Three major shopping centres – Westwood Mall, Westville Mall and The Pavilion – cater to residents’ shopping and entertainment requirements, while a myriad of smaller community centres offer outlets for local entrepreneurs, chemists and retailers.
“Westville has a cosmopolitan community with more and more family-conscious people moving into homes that are still reasonably priced. The lack of visible policing is my only gripe with the neighbourhood,” resident Yogin Devan says.
Tourist attractions include the Palmiet Nature Reserve with its 15km of guided and self-guided trails, while The Pavilion offers cinemas, an entertainment centre and tenpin bowling.
Various sports clubs include Chiltern Park Sports Club, Westville Tennis Club, Westville Bowling Club, Westville Country Club and the Westville Athletics Club. Westville Old Boys’ Sports Centre offers soccer, rugby, hockey and baseball, while the Westville Theatre Club is located next to the Westville pool.
We moved to Westville more than 50 years ago because the area was considered a garden suburb and my husband Brian and I love trees, birds and nature. We also had two sons and had heard Westville Boys’ High School was an outstanding institution with a sound reputation. These factors still hold true today and we’ve never regretted our decision to move here.
Liz Horner, resident
- Chez Nous: upmarket, familyfriendly restaurant
- The Fat Fish: great fresh fish as well as steaks
- Foon Lok Nien Chinese Restaurant: perfect to satisfy your Asian craving
- Atasca: A taste of Portugal in KZN
- Lupa Osteria Westville: hearty, unpretentious Italian food
Where to stay
- Westville B&B and Conference Centre
- Shalem B&B
- Edens Guesthouse
- Winston House
- One Tree and Palms Self-catering
- Life Westville Hospital
- Life The Crompton Hospital
- Ahmed Al-Kadi Private Hospital
- Hillcrest Private Hospital