Durbanville is a picturesque wine region, situated 7 km from Table Bay and the beach activities of the Atlantic Ocean. The suburb is nestled against the Tygerberg and is bathed in the warm Cape sunshine during the day, yet is prone to misty nights. The fertile soil of the rolling hills on which Durbanville is built, the warm summer days and cooler nights all contribute to making this area a prime location for wine production.
Durbanville was originally called "Pampoenkraal" (Pumpkin Paddock). Indigenous people and the pioneers supplied the Dutch East India Company with fresh fruit, vegetables and meat grown and cultivated on these lands. The Dutch influence is still evident throughout the area, especially notable in the Cape Dutch architecture. It was in the early 1700's that vineyards were first established in this area.
Since then, Durbanville has earned recognition within the wine fraternity for the excellent quality of its noble cultivar grapes. Many top ranking cellars have sourced the grapes for their finest marques from this area. Of the original wine farms established in this area between 1698 and 1714, some still produce top quality wines:
Hooge Bergs Vallei (est. 1698), Bloemendal (est. 1699), Maastricht (est. 1702), Hooggelegen (est. 1703), Ongegund (est. 1704), Klein Rooseboom (est. 1714)
Currently there are six active wine making cellars in the Durbanville Valley. The rural atmosphere of the valley has ensured a very "hands-on" approach to wine making, and often the owner of the wine farm is also the winemaker himself. It is also not unusual for the winemaker to attend the wine tastings offered on his farm. This is a wonderful and unique experience for many wine lovers, as these tastings provide a friendly and informative lesson in wine appreciation. The Durbanville Valley is especially known for its superb Sauvignon Blanc, followed closely by Merlot and Shiraz.
One of the most modern cellars is Durbanville Hills, situated in an enviable, elevated position with stunning vistas over the Atlantic Ocean, Robben Island and Table Mountain. The cellar uses the most advanced technology that is available internationally, and has already earned a reputation as a leading wine estate in the few years since it was established.
The unspoilt natural beauty of the Durbanville Valley, with its varicoloured vineyards over gentle hills and lush green vegetation, has been preserved by the passing of a law prohibiting industrial development in this area. The serenity of the surrounding countryside instils an atmosphere of rural tranquillity and total relaxation in anyone who spends time here.
Although Durbanville is very central to Cape Town city centre, the suburb itself has a thriving centre of modern facilities, shopping opportunities and Durbanville restaurants so that one hardly needs to travel to enjoy 21st century luxuries. The valley is a hub of activity and offers outdoor pastimes such as a number of golf courses in the immediate area, as well as horse racing. The Tygervalley Shopping Complex offers a host of fabulous shops, boutiques and restaurants, supermarkets and a movie theatre.
The Northern Suburbs around Durbanville encompass Bellville, Parow and Goodwood. The entire region is part of the beautiful Winelands, and in addition has a significant entertainment potential.
¨ Ratanga Junction Theme Park is a fantastic experience for the whole family, offering curio shops, restaurants and thrilling rides for all age groups,.
¨ Canal Walk Shopping Mall adds another dimension to convenience shopping. Situated in top modern Century City, this mall offers two movie theatres and an unbelievable choice of shops, boutiques, hairdressers, specialty shops, supermarkets, fast food outlets and many Canal Walk restaurants.
¨ Grand West Casino is the Western Cape's biggest Casino development and has achieved world-class status. The casino pays homage to the Mother City and is much more than just a casino. The design of Grand West recreates the vibrancy of historic Cape Town, and the interior is really quite unique. The casino offers a children's amusement park, two ice rinks - one Olympic-size ice rink with a mini-rink for the little ones immediately next to it - a fast food court and a host of bars and restaurants, all open 24 hours a day. The casino floor boasts 1,750 slot machines and 66 gambling tables and offers roulette, Diamond Rush Black Jack, poker and punto banco. Next to the casino, two first-class hotels provide guests with luxury accommodation just a short amble from their entertainment.
Bellville was originally called "12 Mile Stone", as it is located exactly 12 miles from Cape Town city centre. In 1861 it was renamed Bellville, after the surveyor general Charles Bell. The suburb is very central, situated close to the airport, various golf courses, wine routes and shopping complexes. Bellville has a thriving business sector and provides the setting for many events, such as indoor cycling events, concerts, equestrian shows and festivals.
Although the Northern Suburbs are not well-known amongst travellers, they provide an excellent base from which to explore the Cape Peninsula, lovely and affordable accommodation, excellent restaurants, top modern facilities and a beautiful countryside with a relaxed holiday vibe.