WORDS: ANNE SCHAUFFER | IMAGES: LIZA DU PLESSIS, STEPHEN PILBROUGH & GOOGLE MAPS
Glenwood has always been a suburb in demand. With two of the city’s main hospitals at its heart, and the large campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, accommodation needs are constantly ebbing and ﬂ owing around these centres.
But Glenwood is more than that, because it’s developed into the artier suburb of them all, which means those who’re interested in the art world, are pulled here for exhibitions, openings, workshops and more. To top all that – and perhaps the two go hand in hand – little cafes and restaurants have become ﬁrm favourites throughout Durban, particularly for artisanal food, vegan outlets, and simply different offerings from the other, shinier side of the N3 which splits Glenwood from the Berea.
Glenwood has its upper and lower side – with little suburbs like Umbilo and Westridge lying on the fringes – and the suburb is traversed north to south by a few main roads – Esther Roberts and ZK Mathews roads – around which much of the residential and commercial and retail activity happens.
The suburb has responded to the need for affordable, close-at-hand accommodation, and although there’s an ongoing demand, granny cottages and creative solutions by homeowners have worked well for both parties. Whether house or ﬂ at shares around the university or apartments which surround the two hospitals, the rental market is buoyant, and presents an opportunity for investors. The suburb not only has innumerable old, large, high-ceilinged ﬂats, but many of these apartments have sensational views of Durban and the harbour.
Glenwood has a wide range of freestanding homes too, which spans all the eras – from Edwardian and Victorian cottages, to grand old dames. Like elsewhere, belts of the suburb have been given commercial rights, so – particularly in lower Glenwood – businesses, offices and restaurants rub shoulders with homeowners.
For Glenwood residents, the suburb’s spoilt for choice when it comes to quality education – not only the immediate suburb, but neighbouring suburbs too. The government schools of Glenwood High School, Glenwood Preparatory School, and Glenwood Junior Primary School have always been popular, as have Penzance Primary School and Durban Girls’ High School.
Longstanding private school St Henry’s Marist Brothers College is prized, but in close proximity are the private girls and boys schools of Durban Girls’ College, Maris Stella, and Clifton across the N3. In Esther Roberts Road, the long-established Open Air School for children with special needs caters to about 250 children.
Glenwood has a good community feel, and much of it is concentrated around the KZNSA Gallery. This gallery complex supports a wide range of artists and disciplines, runs Saturday workshops, has an art-and-craft shop, exhibition openings, and a lively indoor-outdoor cafe with space for kids to let off steam. It’s well supported by the arts community, and membership ensures invites to a wide range of activities. The Phansi Museum, too, is world renowned for its collections of African artefacts, and has an excellent museum tour and retail outlet selling contemporary and traditional South African arts and crafts.
Glenwood has always been home to a host of second-hand and vintage shops, and it’s been the go-to place for everything from cottage furniture and antiques to battered bits for your communal house.
There’s a constant effort to maintain Glenwood’s green spaces and keep them safe and clean – Bulwer Park is a popular spot for markets. For hikers, birders and strollers, the 10ha forest that’s Pigeon Valley Nature Reserve is well tended, and the trails, trees and birdlife are big drawcards. The Friends of Pigeon Valley offers a monthly walk.
“We’ve lived here for 20 years and moved three times within the suburb to accommodate our growing children. Somehow, there was never a need to move elsewhere, because schooling was on our doorstep, property more affordable than adjoining suburbs, and we’re within five to 10 minutes of town, the Yacht Mole and beaches, and a few minutes to the N3 to head up to the Midlands for country weekends with the grandparents. Glenwood has a warm, unpretentious vibe – we like that!” TRENT GAYLE, RESIDENT
- Glenwood Village Shopping Centre
- Davenport Square
- Musgrave Centre (five minutes across the N3)
- Berea Centre
- Savior Café: Friendly staff and cakes to die for
- Arts Café, KZNSA: Simple, delicious light meals after taking in some art at the gallery
- Julios Continental Restaurant: European-inspired meat and seafood dishes
- Parc Café: Trendy cafe with seasonally focussed menu
- Glenwood Bakery: Artisinal breads and coffee
- The Bean Green Coffee Roastery: A father-daughter duo who roast their own Ethiopian beans
- Mooki Noodles: Quirky spot serving Pan-Asian dishes