Durbanville, the epicentre of Cape Town’s popular Northern Suburbs, is one of the city’s most beautiful suburbs. Best of all, this residential and commercial haven happily offers plenty of local attractions for visitors to enjoy.
With a plethora of cosy cafes and restaurants, lovely accommodation and incredible wine farms within its reach, Durbanville is surrounded by great experiences.
While I have not yet enjoyed all of them, in the past two years, I have ticked some excellent spots off my list and they are certainly worth sharing.
So whether you are new here or a regular in this part of the city, here is a list of the best things to do near Durbanville:
Enjoy a Local Art Gem: Rust-en-Vrede Gallery
I am not really an ‘art person’ – but occasionally I do like exploring an art gallery or museum. More for the cultural and historical elements than anything else.
And one of the best galleries I have ever visited to date is Durbanville’s own, Rust-en-Vrede Gallery and Clay Museum.
Curator, Hamlin Jansen van Vuuren and assistant curator, Donovan Mynhardt, are honestly two of the nicest people you will meet… And their passion for this small, but worthy gallery is refreshingly genuine.
Normally, older galleries are left to deteriorate with time or they feel like a mausoleum… not so with Rust-en-Vrede! It feels alive and vibrant from the moment you set foot inside.
It also has beautiful grounds – with an on-site cafe in Yoco Eatery (another local gem) – and rubs shoulders with the other studios that share the premises. There is a real sense of community, as all these businesses are maintained with the greatest of pride.
Situated within a stunning, old Cape Dutch building, NPO Rust-en-Vrede has been open for the past 30 years. Yet, from the road, you would never know it exists.
However, when you wander inside the grounds, it greets you like a patient, old friend… “I’ve been expecting you”, it seems to say.
The gallery has a rich history – as much as the building it is housed within. Originally built as a prison and police station in the 1840s, it has also served as a magistrate’s court and years later, as a council meeting hall in 1901. It then took its turn as a quirky clockmaker’s abode, before its restoration process began and it was declared a national monument in 1984.
Rich in History – and Charm
History feels a part of its walls. Not just because it is a living relic but because of the snatches of history still a part of its foundation.
The museum is divided into two primary parts, Salon A and B. While Salon C is the more informal entrance hall used for smaller or solo exhibits.
Exhibitions rotate on a monthly basis and like the museum itself, are entirely free to enjoy. It really has some mind-blowing art exhibits… At the time of my visit, Craig Muller’s Interapocalyptic Bliss was my favourite.
More To Enjoy On-Site
In addition to the art exhibits, you can also enjoy the incredible outdoor mosaic maze and clay museum. Itself a worthy attraction, I probably spent the most time exploring the small Clay Museum. It is mesmerising and beautiful.
The museum works with Ceramics SA to showcase truly beautiful and educational displays. So, along with the permanent collection, sections of the ceramics display change every two months.
The art classes (for both children and adults) and Piet-My-Vrou mosaic studio were especially interesting to discover. These are very popular – and rightly so!
And finally, if you have time, do pop by Yoco Eatery for a delicious, well-priced meal. It is a beautiful setting, with great food and drinks and good service.
Contact Details (Rust-en-Vrede Gallery): +27 (021) 976 4691, email@example.com
Address: 10 Wellington Road, Durbanville, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa.
Explore the Beautiful Majik Forest
Famous for its abundant natural beauty in the heart of the ever-expanding Northern Suburbs, Majik Forest is definitely one of my favourite parts of Durbanville and surrounds!
Situated along Jip de Jager Road, it is easily accessible with two entrances (the upper entrance is close to Van Riebeeckhof Shopping Centre) and offers plenty of ‘park-and-ride’ parkings just off the main road.
Inside, the beautiful outdoor spaces offer unique garden sections, places to picnic, hidden benches and some lovely dams and little streams.
Majik Forest is perfect for that pre- or post-work jog, walks with your family and dog, cycling and even photo shoots! (I did my blog’s photo shoot there at sunset in June 2018 and it provided a stunning setting!)
Majik Forest remains one of my favourite green spaces in Cape Town. It is especially beautiful to visit during springtime and summer when the flowers are blooming in full force!
Like its name (pronounced ‘magic’ despite its spelling…), Majik Forest is indeed magical! If you are interested in more details, you can read more about my thoughts on Majik Forest here.
While there is on-site security thanks to the park rangers, I would still advise caution if you visit Majik Forest early in the morning or late in the afternoon especially.
I also recommend visiting in a pair or group. (And I would advise the same for any local outdoor experience – safety is important in any city but especially in outdoor public spaces.)
Contact Details: N/A
Address: Majik Forest Lower Entrance, Jip De Jager Drive, Bellville, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa. | Majik Forest Upper Entrance, 20 Van Riebeeckshof Road, Van Riebeeckshof, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa.
Social Media Links: N/A
Go for an Incredible Wine Tasting Experience
Durbanville Wine Valley holds some of my favourite wine estates anywhere. If you don’t believe me, check out this post.
Standouts among the estates I have visited (there are a few I still need to explore!) include De Grendel, Durbanville Hills, Meerendal, Canto, Bloemendal, Diemersdal, Nitida, Klein Roosboom and D’Aria.
Each estate offers something unique and fun for visitors… So whether you wish to scout for an incredible wedding venue, enjoy a unique wine pairing or simply sample some good food and wine, this valley has the right wine estate for you.
I have done wine tastings at six estates: Klein Roosboom, De Grendel, Durbanville Hills, D’Aria, Bloemendal and Canto Wines – and I loved each but for different reasons.
De Grendel is the last word in quality, with breathtaking views of Table Mountain to match.
While Durbanville Hills offers some varied wine pairings (I strongly recommend the cheese and wine pairing) and gorgeous vistas.
What’s more, these two wine farms both offer two of the best restaurants you will find anywhere in Cape Town.
Klein Roosboom is something of a gem, with a really special wine tasting setting – and Canto is one of the new and most impressive wine estates on the block.
Their MCC and Macaroon pairing is one of the best wine tastings I’ve ever enjoyed, simply for its playfulness!
As for D’Aria, it offers a more fun and informal wine tasting setting on the deck (or inside, if you prefer) and they do make some lovely, affordable wines!
Finally, Bloemendal is an entirely family-friendly estate, with excellent children’s play facilities and a biosport cycle track.
But arguably my favourite thing about them is their delicious wine and ice-cream pairing.
Sample three wines from their Waterlily range, with one gelato and two sorbet pairings respectively.
It is a fun, refreshing and lovely tasting for groups of friends, couples or families (they have some dedicated kiddies’ pairing options too!)
Lunch in Durbanville Wine Valley
The Durbanville Winelands offer some stunning places to enjoy a memorable lunch experience. Apart from the aforementioned wineries, Meerendal and Diemersdal in particular offer lovely lunch settings.
Meerendal is a more family-friendly, relaxed setup and extremely popular at that. While, to me, Diemersdal is the ultimate winelands’ lunch venue. It comes with pricier food options but if even the cheese platter is to die for, you know you have struck a good thing.
If you prefer to lunch in town, there are a number of excellent options there too… Here are some of my favourite local food gems in Durbanville and surrounds.
Let Them Eat Cake!
She might not have been politically correct – but I will always agree with Marie Antoinette’s sentiment of: let them eat cake… Especially as cakes are arguably one of the best things I have discovered in Durbanville and its surrounds. The cafes and restaurants here really know how to bake (or source from local bakers) excellent cakes.
Three of my now-favourite cake spots include: 1987 Eatery at Hertex (I honestly love anything on their menu because everything is quality and generously portioned), Koffi Terapi (excellent coffee options too!) and the newest addition to my ‘cake list’, Tables at Nitida.
I have enjoyed the highest quality, freshest and most mouth-watering cakes at all three of these local eateries… I honestly couldn’t fault them – and the cake slices were – to make it even better – incredibly well-sized and reasonably priced.
So if good coffee (or milkshakes) and cake are also your thing, then you cannot go wrong at any of these spots.
Then, last but not least, we have the oh-so-tempting Soet Society Cafe, who offer the best priced cake deal around. Their famous cake platters allow you to sample four individual slices from any of their cakes-of-the-day.
And, not only are the cake platters excellent value but they are also incredibly filling and two people can easily share one platter. Plus, they let you taste several divine cake options in one go while only paying once.
Avondale: Durbanville’s Own Secret Garden
Avondale Open Garden is an event that takes place annually, normally during springtime. And if there is one event that green fingers, flower children and outdoor enthusiasts shouldn’t miss, it is this special occasion.
There aren’t enough words to express how amazing and beautiful my time spent at this secret garden in 2018 was – but it ranks very high among my best Cape Town experiences to date.
Owned by the inspirational Ronelle Shuttleworth, Avondale Garden has been a labour of garden love for Mrs Shuttleworth and her dedicated team of gardening staff for some time now…
And thankfully, once a year, we as the public, have the chance to enjoy the fruits of their combined labour.
It might be a bold statement to make – but I enjoyed visiting Avondale even more than Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden…
This garden feels like a hidden labyrinth of wondrous natural beauty and simply bursts with life and vibrancy.
It is a wonderful day out for young and old and is certainly child-friendly (just keep an eye on them, what with so many delicate flowers, shrubs and plants around!).
Spilling over with flowers, plants and unique garden corners, Avondale is one of the most beautiful gardens you will find anywhere… and I love that it lies hidden here in the Northern Suburbs!
Important Note: Avondale is only open to the public during Avondale Open Garden event days – please do not try visit or enquire after the garden outside of these annual events.
Contact Details (for Avondale Open Garden only): + 27 (021) 976 5475, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Address: 40 Protea Way, Durbanville, Northern Suburbs, Cape Town, Western Cape South Africa.
Take a Hike… at Tygerberg Nature Reserve
Another of my favourite outdoor experiences is the local Tygerberg Nature Reserve. Offering some 13 different trails (or trail variants), it is a really unique space in which to enjoy hiking, walking or picnicking with the whole family.
Located just outside Durbanville, in the affluent suburb of Welgemoed, Tygerberg Nature Reserve is well-maintained and ensures gorgeous views over the Northern Suburbs – and of Table Mountain and the city too!
All year around, it is beautiful and good fun to hike in. I think I have been there during every season and the sentiment I held was the same throughout. (But there is no question that it explodes with colour and beauty during springtime… So if you are big on blooms, visit then.)
The hikes are all quite manageable – even for kids, I imagine. I also like that the reserve takes the disabled or wheel-chair bound into account and offers an excellent, dedicated Wheelchair trail.
Aside from that, within the reserve, you will also find several lovely picnic benches, neat walkways and points of interest, like the cannon or Kristo Pienaar Environmental Education Centre.
Tygerberg Nature Reserve is cheap and easy to visit – and yet, you are provided with a rich, incredible outdoor experience. With natural scenery, wildlife and breaktaking views as an added bonus…
Contact Details: +27 (021) 444 8971, email@example.com
Address: Totius Street, Welgemoed, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa.
These are but a few of the best things to do near Durbanville, proving that the Northern Suburbs is rich in food- and outdoor- experiences for the whole family to enjoy.
Let me know in the Comments section if you have any other ideas or places you feel I should add to the list! 🙂
Author: Tamlyn Ryan
Content writer by day and blogger by night, Tamlyn Ryan passionately runs her own travel blog, called Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, from her home base of Cape Town, South Africa. And, despite a national diploma in Journalism, in her free time, Tamlyn’s preferred niche remains travel writing.
Tamlyn is a hopeless wanderer, equipped with an endless passion for road trips, carefully planned, holiday itineraries and, above all else, an innate love for the great outdoors.