WORDS: EMILY SHAW IMAGES: TER HOLLMANN
School administrator Loretta Swann moved to River Club a few years ago and is absolutely loving it. “It’s so close to all the places I frequent. Virgin Active is just up the road, it’s easy to get to Sandton City and its even quick to get to Mall of Africa from here,” she says.
Loretta chose the area for a number of reasons – centrality is certainly high on the list but it’s the natural surroundings she really loves. “The Spruit and all its trees create a little haven for the most incredible bird life. On weekends I put cut fruit out on my patio table and watch all the different species arrive throughout the morning. We even have a resident spotted genet that makes an appearance on the roof a couple of times a year. We really are very lucky!”
River Club is quite the mix of different housing options – look out for the distinctive Tudor complex on Ballyclare Drive – with large family homes, apartment blocks, secure townhouse complexes and even the odd garden cottage. Given its location, homes here definitely come in on the higher end of rental and purchase prices, but with a lovely country feel, quiet suburban streets, pretty parks and a real community vibe, many residents say it’s totally worth the price tag.
While there are no established schools in the centre of River Club, the suburb is virtually surrounded by excellent options. Even better, the commute from River Club to the majority of these schools is against heavy traffic.
St David’s Marist Inanda is a great private school for boys with excellent sporting and academic results year on year. Loretta’s son recently matriculated from St David’s and thoroughly enjoyed his time at the Catholic institution. “He has a great circle of friends from school, and it seems like St David’s old boys really look after each other even years after they have matriculated,” she says.
Brescia House School twins up with St David’s as the Catholic school for girls and is found on central Sloane Street in Bryanston, just a few kilometres up the road from River Club.
A little closer to Sandton is the St Stithian’s campus, which caters to both genders from Grade R to matric.
Grayston Preparatory looks after boys and girls from Grade R to Grade 7 in a co-educational environment. This independent school caps its class sizes at 24 pupils.
River Club might be small, but its centrality to Morningside, Bryanston, Parkmore and Douglasdale allows access to all amenities these neighbouring suburbs offer. Hobart Grove, Bryanston Shopping Centre and Riverside Centre have any shopping requirements covered – even your DIY efforts are catered to by a small but efficient Builder’s Express.
Friday evenings find local Poplar Park bustling with moms, dads and tots. Bike-riding, swinging and soccer keep kids busy while parents catch up and order pizza-to-go from Danilo’s, which borders the park.
In the dinky River Club Centre, St Tropez French Deli serves delicious homemade croissants and pastries – ideal for Saturday morning breakfasts after a sweaty cycle. Keep an eye out for their cured meats, cheeses and the occasional preserve too. The super energetic who are looking for an exercise outlet on their doorstep can try out Performance Purist – a conditioning and strength-training gym with several group and personal training options.
A hop, skip and a jump from Morningside, the bars and restaurants there as well as in neighbouring Parkmore and Bryanston mean a meal or drink out at night is never far away and even a show can easily be seen at Monte.
Despite all these options for entertainment though, more often than not River Club residents choose to stay home. The beautiful gardens, tranquil bird-calls and fiery sunsets that descend over the Bryanston hill make being at home blissful – and the fragrant braai smoke that winds its way upwards from every second chimney in this suburb on a Saturday night confirms – when home is River Club, it’s worth staying in.
River Club is so central to all major areas of northern Joburg. It’s a quiet suburb with beautiful trees and bird life owing to the Braamfontein Spruit. LORETTA SWANN, RESIDENT
- Tiger’s Milk: a fabulous Friday afternoon drinks spot
- Danilo’s Ristorante Italiano: your community pizza and pasta spot with weekly specials
- Café del Sol Botanico: beautiful decor, exquisite food and excellent service, just up the road in Bryanston Shopping Centre
- Field and Study Centre: from horses to bunnies to everyone’s dog, Field and Study is a perfect spot for Sunday afternoon walks and children’s picnic parties
- Michael Mount Organic Village Market: pick up your fresh fruit and veg at this sweet little market
- River Club Golf Course: one of the most prestigious golf courses in the country
- Bryanston Shopping Centre: Woolworths, Checkers, Carlton and a handful of little boutiques make shopping a cinch
- Total Riverclub: great car wash as well as unusual imported goods in the store – think Dr Pepper and Cherry Coke
- Poplar Park: the ideal ‘lung’ in which to exercise boisterous dogs and restless kids