Rondebosch is a very popular residential area, both in terms of it being home to many prestigious schools as well as its beautiful leafy setting.
Rondebosch lies along the eastern slope of Table Mountain, 15 minutes from the CBD and is well known for its large old oak trees. One of the most significant landmarks in the area is the University of Cape Town, which lies on the slopes of Devil’s Peak, overlooking the suburb. The historic Groote Schuur Estate is another landmark with Cape Dutch origins. The largest building is the Groote Schuur building which was rebuilt after a fire in 1896 by Cecil Rhodes according to the design by Sir Herbert Baker. As a commitment towards a peaceful process of negotiations in 1990, the “Groote Schuur Minute” was co-signed here by FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela. Genadendal, formerly Westbrooke, is the presidential residence and also dates back to Cape Dutch times.
The historic cast iron Rondebosch fountain is at the centre of Rondebosch. The shopping precinct situated here has recently been upgraded with a Village feel. Other historic buildings in the area include St Paul’s Church designed by Charles Mitchell and the original town hall which currently houses the Rondebosch library. The home of the first Governor of the Cape, Simon van der Stel now forms part of Rustenberg Junior School. Although the building has undergone many alterations over the years, the original structure dates back to the 17th century. The Summer House dating back to 1760, remains as a monument just below UCT.
Properties in Rondebosch include some fine examples of Victorian homes and first rate renditions of Sir Herbert Baker Architecture. It is here where Jan van Riebeeck issued the first permanent title of land in Africa. What remains of the original settlement, once a military campground, is today known as Rondebosch Common – the large greenbelt found in the heart of Rondebosch. The common has been declared a national monument and is a fynbos conservation area with over 200 indigenous plant species.
Rondebosch is well known for some of the most prestigious schools including, Rondebosch Boys’ Junior and High Schools, Rustenberg Girls’ Junior and High Schools, Rosebank Junior School, St Josephs Junior and Senior School, Michaelfield Girls’Junior as well as Bishops Boys’ Junior and High Schools.
Rondebosch has a medium sized shopping centre, excellent restaurants and coffee shops and is home to the world famous Red Cross Childrens Hospital. The area is host to 2 popular golf clubs – Rondbosch Golf Club and Mowbray Golf Club. Other attractions in the area include The Baxter Theatre in Rosebank, Mostert’s Mill in Mowbray, the Rugby Museum, the Irma Stern Museum and the South African Brewery in Newlands. A Saturday craft market is held under the beautiful old trees of Rondebosch Park with a variety of homemade products and crafts.
The area of Rosebank is adjacent to Rondebosch and stretches from the common to the University. Much of the land in the area belongs to UCT and is used for the many sports fields and residences. Rosebank property comprises mainly apartment blocks with students making up a large portion of the residents. Homes in the area are primarily beautifully restored Victorians. Vredenburg, the original farmhouse of the area, is located in Rosebank. The Liesbeeck River which flows through the area forms a popular greenbelt frequented by the neighbourhood and loved by the children. The Cape Town offices of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the South African Bureau of Standards are located in Rosebank.