Claremont is the heart of the Southern Suburbs and boasts cosy cafés, horse racing experiences, and a buzzing nightlife that is all easily accessible.
Claremont has a farmland-turn-village history that dates back to 1840 and remained predominantly residential until the early 70s, when commercial development began, notably with Cavendish Square. This swanky shopping centre houses all the top retail brands, fast food outlets, restaurants, boutiques, and a multi-screen cinema house.
The mall is surrounded by many small businesses and exclusive designer boutiques. Body Architects does beautiful tattoos and the owner has guested at parlours and conventions all over the world. The Larder is a great place for a caffeine fix and has free wifi. Oways Tea Café opposite Cavendish is a great little gem of a coffee shop and the kind of place where the staff make friends with new and returning clients. They also make some great breakfasts.
Arderne Gardens (Main Road) is a Provincial, Heritage Site filled with beautiful and exotic trees. It’s a favoured venue for wedding photographs on weekends, as well as being a lovely place to relax and wander among the shady glades.
Nearby Harfield Village is a small area that originally housed labourers’ cottages. Now, its Second Avenue is lined with trendy eateries. Once a year the village hosts a popular carnival that attracts scores of people to the area.
Oblivion Wine Bar and Restaurant is a funky, friendly, European-style bar for over-23s. With a stunning rooftop garden, leather couches, open fires and board games, you can relax and chat with a friend over a glass of wine from the extensive wine list. It has a terrace with a mountain view, and a menu of pizza, burgers and other favourites.
Banana Jam has one of Cape Town’s biggest selections of local and international craft beer on tap or in the bottle and offers tastings to help you make up your mind. It makes great pizzas and Caribbean-style food, like goat curry. Comfortable and laid back, Brad’s Grill has been there for decades and has won awards for its steaks.
Cafeen is a coffee shop serving breakfast and light lunch in a house-like setting with a terrace and mountain view. For those who need to touch base with friends online, access the free WiFi inside or on the porch.
Home Bar is the type of spot where everyone knows your name, and regulars have their seat reserved at the bar. It’s divided into a smoking and non-smoking section and spills over to an outside verandah where you can view the goings-on of the village. The restaurant has a small, varied menu filled with firm favourites. The signature dish is rump espetada, which never disappoints.
Learn more about the area and its history with the Harfield Village VoiceMap audio walk. VoiceMap is an international project that offers free and paid-for audio tours for sharing stories about places of interest. The tour takes about 30 minutes.
In Kenilworth, which is just a few minutes’ drive away, lies the oldest racecourse in the country. Here the J&B Met is held in late January each year – an event which attracts more than 50,000 spectators that show off their fashion as much as their horse racing support. The L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, a similar event but smaller and more exclusive than the J&B Met, is held every year around two to three weeks before the Met. Numerous other grade-1 horse races are held at Kenilworth throughout the year, and there are often other special events like the annual prawn festival and family days (corner of Wetton Road and Rosmead Avenue).
One-stop shopping heaven Access Park (Chichester Road) has more than 100 shops and factory outlets for brands such as Nike, Crocs, Levi’s, Keedo, Addidas, and Footgear. It gets busy on weekends and around payday so go prepared for queues at these times, but you will pick up some fabulous bargains.
Get airborne at Rush Trampoline Park (Main Road), which opened here after international success in the US, UK and Scandinavia. It features wall-to-wall trampolines, as well as dodgeball courts, basketball slam dunk lanes, and a Gladiator-style battle beam that could spark anyone’s competitive streak. The park has areas suitable for all ages and makes for a fun and family-friendly day out.
See pics of others’ experiences in Claremont and share your own using #lovecapetown!