WORDS: EMILY SHAW | IMAGES: TER HOLLMANN & GOOGLE MAPS
First established in 1886, Emmarentia lies on the land that was originally the Braamfontein Farm and is home to the area’s famous dam and gardens. Named after one of the original farmers’ wives, Emmarentia provides guests and visitors alike with an oasis in the midst of busy Joburg life.
It’s the quiet, leafy streets and a lifetime of memories that make Emmarentia the perfect space to settle for community manager Kim Stokes. “I grew up here, so I guess the area chose me!” In fact, the neighbourhood has been such a perfect spot for Kim that she has continued to live here long after leaving the family nest.
The neighbourhood tends to be favoured by families and this is a result of the space offered by most of the houses. Airy and well established, homes here often have large gardens and the area is full of mature trees and many parks within walking distance of residences.
For those looking to renovate or modernise, Emmarentia’s family houses provide a unique opportunity – the luxury of space but with “bones” not as old as other areas – meaning alterations can often be quite straightforward.
The suburb is a wonderful choice for a young family but also a great match for parents of teens, as the homes available allow each family member a little more personal space than the norm. In addition, the green lungs that are so close by give residents both “me” and family time in the most breathtaking setting.
If you’d like to escape the suburban feel for a few hours though, the suburb is ﬂanked by Melville, Parkview and Greenside, where pubs and bars and restaurants abound, keeping the energy high, but the buzz not quite on your doorstep.
Emmarentia Primary School is probably the most convenient option when it comes to primary schools as it really is right at the core of the suburb. However, if innovation and progressive thinking in education is more in line with your parenting, the Kairos School of Inquiry is also close by. Created for children from grades 0 to 7, the school focusses on whole-brain education and has purposefully been kept a small and caring environment. If you’re looking for a Montessori school, Littlehill is nearby and the Parks Pre-Primary School offers a lovely community-based option for little ones to thrive in.
Older siblings can attend Greenside High School, or Northcliff High, another public school option close by. De La Salle Holy Cross College is a private school option for Catholic boys and girls and Kingsmead College is in nearby Rosebank.
There’s also a wealth of extracurricular activities in the area to keep kids busy and to add to their general education, including dance schools, after-school sports clubs, martial arts and music lessons.
Obviously one of the biggest drawcards of living in Emmarentia is the beautiful dam and gardens. The Rose Garden, Herb Garden and Shakespeare Garden are gorgeous attractions and allow for a real country feel despite Emmarentia’s central location. Birdwatchers will love spotting various species close to the dam and a variety of water sports and training clubs ﬂank the water – including scuba diving, stand-up paddling and sailing.
One of Kim’s favourite weekend activities is to enjoy reasonably priced sushi at the dam while dog-watching. All well-socialised dogs are welcome here and many residents make a walk along the dam a regular part of their Sunday morning routine.
If it’s date night or a long overdue catch-up with a friend, Momo Baohaus is just the venue. Situated in nearby Greenside, the Asian eatery offers delicious tapas-style food including their legendary potstickers, in a lovely intimate setting.
History buffs will enjoy the South African National Museum of Military History a mere 5km away. Here, a host of artefacts and exhibitions from South Africa’s involvement in various world conﬂicts will keep patrons (and kids!) busy all morning.
“It’s always felt like home. I can’t imagine living anywhere else” KIM STOKES, RESIDENT
- Marks Park Sports Club: pop in to watch your favourite sport with a reasonably priced ice-cold pint in hand
- Emmarentia Dam: take a picnic and while away a Saturday afternoon in the sun
- Melville Koppies: get the hiking boots out for an invigorating trail experience
- Trattoria Renato Pizzeria: one of the oldest restaurants in the area and authentic family-run Italian
- Adega Express: delicious Portuguese delivered to your door – try the wings!
- Craft Beer Library: relax with one of many, many beers on offer
- Emmarentia library: revive your literary interest with a great selection of books to borrow
- Fresh Earth Food Store: organic and natural foods right on your doorstep
- Checkers Emmarentia: easy access to everyday living supplies