WORDS: KIT HEATHCOCK IMAGES: NATASHA LASSEN
Kuils River is a diverse area that goes from upmarket gated estates with a rural feel backing onto farmland, and middle-income residential developments on the urban fringes, to city bustle and light industry in the corridor along main Van Riebeek Road. Kuils River started life as a small-town staging post between Cape Town and Stellenbosch and although it has long become part of the metropolis, some of its history remains in old church buildings from this period, and the 15-milestone marker at the entrance to the suburb.
What many residents cite is the convenience of living right out of the city centre but with easy access to all the main arteries. It’s convenient for the international airport, and the new link roads connecting to the R300 take you onto the N1 or N2 in minutes. Stellenbosch is 20 minutes’ drive, Somerset West 30 minutes. Then, of course, you have all the Stellenbosch wine farms as your playground, many of them with trails for running, MTB and dog walking, and a recently created neighbourhood green lung in Haasendal Nature Reserve.
Kuils River has seen a steady increase in residential development at all price points in the last two decades. Prime among those are the five upmarket gated estates on the slopes adjoining Zevenwacht Wine Estate, which together almost make up a separate rural suburb with access to farm trails in the hills above. A new retirement estate with care facilities, Zevenwacht Lifestyle Village, has recently been added to this cluster.
Next to Kuils River golf course between Bottelary Road and Haasendal Nature Reserve, Haasendal Estate is an ambitious new lifestyle estate currently in development, planning to include several gated residential estates, a medical centre, shopping mall, offices and a Curro school, to become a live-work-play hub.
Then there are longer established suburban enclaves such as Eikenbosch and Rouxville, often bought as investment properties and in demand as rentals.
While some residents settle here for an easy school-run to Stellenbosch’s well-regarded public schools, nowadays there are also more schools closer to home. Curro in nearby Brackenfell is a popular private option.
On Klein Zevenwacht Estate, Academy Private School offers small classes from preschool to matric and horse riding is available as an extra-mural. Mikro Primary has long been the top public choice for the Afrikaans community, followed by De Kuilen High School.
Being at the gateway of the Stellenbosch winelands there’s no shortage of things to do. Starting right on the doorstep at Zevenwacht Wine Estate, there are picnics, a restaurant, kids play areas and a beautiful lake.
Just down the Bottelary Road, Hazendal Wine Estate has something for all the family – a deli, Russian tea garden, fine-dining restaurant, jazz evenings and Wonderdal, which is a state-of-the-art kids edutainment centre.
Then if you head down the Polkadraai Road towards Stellenbosch, there’s everything from strawberry picking, to Eagle Encounters at Spier, fabulous wine estate restaurants and a choice of weekend markets. Trail-running, mountain biking, horse riding and hiking along farm trails is part of the joy of living so close to the countryside.
In the old days the country feeling of the residential estates was underlined by the distance from shops and even petrol stations, but now in the Langverwacht Road there’s a new fuel station, an excellent Checkers and even a Woolworths Food store, making last minute shopping errands much easier. For more varied retail therapy and movies Tyger Valley Centre is within comfortable reach, as is CapeGate Shopping Centre.
- Hazendal Wine Estate: Avant Garde for fine dining, Babushka Deli for family-friendly casual
- Zevenwacht Wine Estate: old-fashioned country restaurant in the Cape Dutch manor house
- Cattle Baron on Saxenburg Wine Farm: excellent steaks and views
- Neethlingshof Restaurant: innovative contemporary cuisine in historic manor house
- Jordan Wine Estate: Jordan Restaurant for fine dining, The Bakery for casual breakfast and lunches
- Wonderdal: interactive play and edutainment centre at Hazendal
- Kuils River Golf Club
- Walk and run the farm trails on the surrounding wine estates
- Picnics by the lake at Zevenwacht wine estate. Or for some serious pamper time, visit Bakwena Day Spa, also on the estate.
- Bracken Nature Reserve: gentle nature walks and spring flowers
- Haasendal Nature Reserve: a newly established reserve
- Bugz Playpark with indoor and outdoor play areas, rides and waterslides in summer
- Netcare Kuils River
- Tygerberg Hospital
- Eerste River Hospital
- Melomed Bellville Private Hospital
- Mediclinic Cape Gate