WORDS: EMILY SHAW IMAGES: TER HOLLMANN
Whether you’re buying as an investment or putting down roots for your growing family, Birdhaven is a fabulous, different option. Declared a suburb in the late forties, you’ll find mostly large, standalone homes on big plots – with the price tag to match.
Investors and house-flippers have cottoned on to this little corner of the north, and many of these old gems are being renovated and subdivided to accommodate lock-up-and-go housing, cottages and clusters.
Birdhaven is also home to quite a few roomy apartment blocks. Like many of these developments built decades ago, older flats will need a bit of work – but with a new bathroom and kitchen, these spacious spots will bring in a pretty penny from singles, couples, retired folk and even single-child families who desire a low-maintenance lifestyle.
Developers and real-estate professionals use Birdhaven’s access to top schools as one of area’s biggest drawcards. Nearby schools include Kingsmead College, Pridwin Prep, St Mary’s, St David’s Marist, St John’s College and Roedean. Hyde Park is just around the corner and tiny tots can attend Riviera Nursery School right on your doorstep in Birdhaven. As a result of this proximity to education, the area is also full of extra-curricular activities – ballet schools, extra maths tutors, and various sport coaching and music lesson offerings are handily available for all ages and levels.
Out and about
The sun’s out and you or the kids and the dog need to burn off some energy – to the James and Ethel Gray Park you go! Originally a bird sanctuary – and from whence Birdhaven got its name – this little park claims to be the best sunrise vantage point in the whole of Joburg. Here the Sandspruit cuts through steep banks (giving you that great view) and offers open lawns, indigenous plants and flowers to admire, and walking paths for a good stroll. If a game of catch isn’t enough to tire little Timmy out, book a session with Acrobranch – handily available in the very same park. Consisting of treetop obstacle courses and zip-lines, this exhilarating activity makes for a fantastic Saturday afternoon family outing, a great kids birthday party, and even a good corporate teambuilding exercise if you’re looking for something a little different.
Your sitter is booked, your Uber simply needs to be summoned, and you’re both ready to take a night off the responsibilities of adult life. But where to from Birdhaven? Start the evening off with a glass of chardonnay in the cool, dappled courtyard of Arbour Café, a French-inspired cafe behind the Wrenrose Court boutiques. Enjoy a leisurely three-course meal here, with starters like wild mushroom galette, a main of duck or salmon and round it off with a salted caramel and apple crepe.
If the conversation is flowing and it’s not bedtime quite yet, move on for an after-dinner tipple at the achingly hip Sin+Tax in Rosebank. Try one of their mind-blowing creations like the Fizz Pop; rhubarb champagne, vodka, sour cherry, sherbet and cacao. It’s a great after-dinner or post-theatre bar and the ultimate people-watching perch.
Farm the kids off to granny and spend a heavenly morning at the luxe Toast&Co. Situated in the Birdhaven Shopping Centre, this salon group with a sister store in Craighall Park has been running for 10 years and there’s little wonder why. Detail is king here – from the Ugandan coffee and real butter biscuits served while you have your toes done, to the bath bombs and candles you can take home to remind you of your stolen moments of indulgence. If you’re feeling particularly generous to yourself or are lucky enough to be on the receiving end of some birthday cash, you can go wild with their bespoke treatments.