The closest residential area to the conservancy that encompasses the forested slopes of Table Mountain, leafy Newlands is the suburb of choice for Capetonians who prefer dappled greens and burbling streams to the bracing Atlantic Seaboard or bustling city. A mere 15 minutes from top tourism attractions like the Table Mountain cable car or Waterfront, yet this is a truly authentical local neighbourhood, home to several of the city’s best schools, a feted shopping centre and the city’s second biggest sports stadium. It’s dinky in scale, with shaded cottages and narrow oak-lined lanes leading to a village-like heart, and several eateries, galleries, grocers and pubs within walking distance of each other.
Named after its location on one of the lanes that criss-cross this charming enclave, Upper Wheelan is the ideal launching pad for guests who really do want to live like locals in the Mother City… Strolling the Newlands forest with the city’s dog walkers and joggers, attending sunset concerts or picnicking on the Kirstenbosch lawns; after-work drinks in pubs like the Forrester’s Arms (a real Cape Town institution); cocktails in the Vineyard Hotel gardens; morning coffee at one of several sidewalk cafes.
Upper Wheelan’s decor is elegant, playful and multi-layered, in the inimitable style of owner Belinda. She has a great feel for detail and flow, pulling the indoors out into her delightful garden, with cross-stitch creeper reflecting the large black-and-white floor tiling, and comfortable seating under large umbrellas overlooking the groomed garden and small pool. Lovely art, top-quality finishes, excellent appliances, in a kitchen you want to cook in. Open to the garden, the living area invites relaxation; adjacent is the first en-suite bedroom, also opening directly to the garden. Up a flight of stairs are the second and main bedrooms, both en-suite, with views of the forests that carpet the lesser known but equally dramatic eastern slopes of Table Mountain.
A peaceful, compact three-bedroom villa, affordable enough to make it your long-term Cape Town base, punctuated with jaunts along either coastline, road trips into the hinterland. Even after a day simply exploring the nearby Constantia winelands and southern peninsula, with its penguin beach and dramatic cliffside drives, it’s a delight to return home here, the two ceramic dogs that stand sentinel at the glass-paned front door awaiting your return.