WORDS: KIT HEATHCOCK IMAGES: NATASHA LASSEN, SUPPLIED
Bergvliet’s roots are shared with neighbouring Constantia, together forming governor Simon van der Stel’s vast farm estate in the valley. Agricultural until the 1930s, post Second World War Bergvliet Farm was subdivided and the land developed as affordable homes for servicemen returning from the war. At the same time, neighbouring farmland was sold as residential subdivisions. The result today is an established suburb with large erven (800m2 to 900m2 ), mature trees and gardens, which hasn’t completely forgotten its rural roots. One side is still bordered by the Dreyersdal Farm and wetlands that are now a private nature reserve, and there are several parks and green spaces.
“Bergvliet is primarily a residential area with various business hubs and we’re keen to ensure that it retains its residential character,” says Mark Shäfer, chairman, Bergvliet and Meadowridge Ratepayers Association. “It’s a relatively safe, well-run suburb with good amenities, good accessibility and is an upmarket area without ‘snob’ value.” More affordable than its affluent neighbour Constantia, and than the busier Southern Suburbs closer to the CBD, it attracts people of all ages looking for a quiet home life. “The area is very suburban with many schools, families, pensioners, visitors from overseas staying at Airbnbs, and young people looking for a start in life,” says Jeremy Law, owner, Lime Tree Café. “Property is still relatively good value here, people often move from closer to town to enjoy a safe environment and liberate some of the value of their home.”
“Both my wife and I had childhood connections here and were looking for a pleasant suburban neighbourhood with good schools,” says Mark of why they chose the area back in 2000. The reputation of the local schools has remained strong and still is a major attraction for families who move here to be in the catchment area, as well as within walking distance of Sweet Valley Primary, Bergvliet High School, and Bergvliet Primary.
Predominantly family homes with gardens, mature trees, parks and greenbelt also characterise Bergvliet’s immediate neighbour Meadowridge, which was developed as a Garden City from 1954. The two suburbs share a neighbourhood watch and ratepayers’ associations and form a close community together.
There’s a huge feeling of convenience as pretty much everything you need for everyday life is within the two suburbs. “We have sports clubs, many preschools and creches as well as top government primary schools, local shops and restaurants, a library, churches, medical rooms, play parks, cycle tracks… and space to breathe,” says Mark. Larger shopping centres and hospitals are a short drive away and the M3 connects you quickly with the rest of the city.
There’s so much to do within easy reach of Bergvliet that every weekend can hold something different. “I enjoy an early morning walk around the neighbourhood but it’s easy to embrace the beauty of the greater Constantia Valley if you’re more energetic,” says Mark.
Beach weather sees families heading to Muizenberg for swimming and surfing. Or the shade of Tokai Forest for hikes and mountain biking, as well as green belt trails through Constantia and more adventurous mountain hikes from Silvermine Nature Reserve. Then there are the Constantia Valley wine farms for wine tasting and fine-dining, or the Norval Foundation for the latest art exhibition and a picnic in the sculpture garden.
Closer to home, a stroll and picnic at Bergvliet’s own Die Oog conservation area is a local favourite for birdwatching, serene picnics by the dam, and even geo-caching. It’s a breeding site for the endangered Western leopard toad, who often hang out in nearby gardens, too, with various frog species and turtles, indigenous plants and flowers, making it a small but important part of local biodiversity and conservation, as well as a serene escape from city life.
Lime Tree Café is a real community hub in Bergvliet. Opened five years ago it was bought as a going concern by restauranteur Jeremy Law on his return home from Chile in 2018.
“I was looking for a business where I could enjoy a casual ambience, get to know the regular clients, and treat it as a place of fun as well as business.” The seven-days-a-week menu spans homemade cakes and coffee, through light lunches to full dinners.
“A neighbourhood restaurant becomes part of the lives of families,” says Jeremy, “for example, pancake specials in the afternoon for kids and mums. Or Sunday roasts for the family. We’ve developed a large and loyal clientele who come all year round… many of whom have developed a genuine interest in the business and its continued success. We don’t experience the boom and bust of more touristy places.”
SEE FOR YOURSELF
Lime Tree Café
021 712 1497
Bergvliet is quiet, leafy and peaceful, with a beautiful view to the mountains. It reminds me a lot of Garden Cities like Pinelands – very community-conscious and everyone very friendly. BERGVLIET RESIDENT
MEDICAL FACILITIES NEARBY
- Die Oog: bird and nature reserve around a dam that was the spring for the original Bergvliet farm
- Meadowridge Common: pine trees and sand-plain fynbos
- Dreyersdal Farm: wetlands private nature reserve
- Tokai Forest: mountain biking and hiking trails
- The brand new Constantia Emporium with upmarket Checkers and Woolies Food
- Meadowridge Shopping Centre: Woolies, Checkers and local convenience
- Blue Route Mall in Tokai: movies, high street fashion, boutiques and restaurants