Cruising Craighall Park

Smack bang between Blairgowrie and Hyde Park is the highly sought-after and hip suburb of Craighall Park. While the road names are terribly posh and rather British ( Buckingham, Devonshire, Westminster and York) the suburb is anything but over the top. In fact, it’s rather warm and inviting and beautifully treed.

It abounds with big parks, quaint little coffee shops  and trendy homes found in all sizes– it’s basically what the up and coming yuppy class requires.

To have a major road like Jan Smuts Avenue running straight through the suburb is a great convenience too. And what a road it is for shopping – you can get anything from (designer) second-hand clothes to artwork, the absolute best selection of DVDs (Video Spot), treats (Woolies food store), fast food (Steers, McDonalds, Debonairs), car dealerships (Alfa Romeo, Lindsay Saker), Pilates classes (at the Valley Centre) or a quite drink at the (Bush Bar) even musical instruments (Music Connection). The list is endless.

“It’s a suburb of choice – it’s beautiful, family orientated (with great schools and churches) and close to the major malls like Sandton, Hyde Park and Rosebank and Parkhurst.”

One can look for bargains (miracles do happen) if you are in the market to purchase a house, apartment or flat and want to tackle your own renovations. “Most homes here are costly because they’ve already been extensively changed, added too and done up.”

Lightstone property research experts have recorded a massive influx of young home owners into the area. The young adult category (people aged 18-35) now own about 45% of all property in Craighall Park.

Big family homes, decent-size gardens, proximity to the Sandton CBD, and great schools in the area (Flemming Pre-Primary, Rutland Nursery, Craighall Primary, Our lady of Mercy Primary School, to name a few) are just some of the attractions for prospective buyers and decent sized family homes cost anything from R2.3m.

Next time you’re cruising along Jan Smuts and want to escape the Jozi rat race – there are two places to visit in Craighall Park – just take your pick. For delicious cappuccinos and a first-class meal, visit Corner Café at the intersection of Buckingham and Rothesay. If it’s good ale and pub grub you’re after, head to Giles on Grafton venue. It’s also a fine spot to watch your favorite sport with all the locals.

Hyde Park

If you whizz up Jan Smuts Avenue in Johannesburg too fast – that’s past Sandton and towards Rosebank – you’re bound to bag a whopping speeding fine (just after Dunkeld) and possibly miss the glorious suburb of Hyde Park altogether.

So slow down, wind down the windows and take a moment to stop and smell the roses. Ranked as one of top suburbs in the country, Hyde Park borders Craighall Park, Sandhurst and Illovo. These are exclusives addresses – Jozi’s very own version of Beverly Hills.

Wander around the area (if you have the patience for countless security booms) and you’re guaranteed to find yourself gawking at the places that some people call home. Sure there are flats on the outskirts of Hyde Park which are attractive to the young-up-and-comings, but the majority of property in Hyde Park is grandiose and has a price tag to match.

We’re talking enormous, old abodes where CEOs, MPs and other VIPs reside. These are mansions with balconies that double, indoor swimming pools, home gyms and sprawling lawns where soirées and canapés are the order of the day.

Flash freehold property in Hyde Park can set you back about R8m and then there are the super flash properties that go for anything in the region of R25m.

If it’s a lovely little flat you’re after, you’re looking at about R1,6m for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom spot. According to Deeds office data, the most expensive property sold in Hyde Park recently was R8,2m. The average price of property is anywhere between R7m and R55m.

According to property research experts Lightstone, the growth and activity in the area over the past few years has been impressive. Properties in sectional title schemes that went for R850K in 2004 were valued at around R1,6m in 2009. Freehold properties valued at R3,2m in 2004 were valued at R7,6m last year.

So what makes Hyde Park so sought-after? It’s beautiful for a start: lush green gardens, leafy streets, huge stands (many with great views of Johannesburg north) and a nice mix of classy old houses, trendy homes and apartments too.

Then there’s a great school, Hyde Park High, right in the centre of the suburb and one of Jozi’s most exclusive amenities on your doorstep: Hyde Park Shopping Centre.

This is retail therapy at its best with a pick of the top boutiques and specialty shops around. From international brands like Pringle, United Colors of Benetton and Morgan, to local treasures like Jenni Button and Hilton Weiner, there’s something for everyone.

Then, once you’ve done some damage on the credit card, you can go next door and enjoy a Cuban cigar on the deck of the new R190m Southern Sun hotel. It’s a great spot to bask in a splendid South African sunset.


Randburg is a typical South African melting pot of cultural expressions, income brackets and opportunities.

Take a drive down Main Road to tap into the pulse of Randburg: the hustle and bustle of sidewalk hawkers, commuters making their way to taxi ranks, car dealerships selling everything from VW Beetles to 4×4’s to BMW X5s, mechanics and lots of interesting second-hand store worth stopping for.

Then there’s Randburg suburbia just a few kilometers up the road towards Bordeaux: families in old Johannesburg homes on leafy lanes.

“Randburg is down-right affordable. Amenities are fabulous and service delivery is good: even street lights that actually work.”

There are a host of good schools in the area.

Including Randburg Hoer Skool, Ferndale High, Aurora Private School and Knight Preparatory School and College.

On the shopping front, Northgate Centre is one of the best place to shop. There’s also Brightwater Commons (formerly known as Randburg Waterfront), Cresta and Randburg Square (where parking is ample and delightfully cheap and for your convenience a new multi-level parking arcade is being built at Cresta).

Nicholas Plants on Witkoppen Road offers great deals. “Plants are priced just right and the service is great.” The Randburg Management District or RBMD ( also notes on its website that urban decay in the area has become an unfortunate reality. This group was established in 2004 to deal with these issues.

In the five years that it has been in existence, the RBMD has done a lot to give Randburg the face-lift it needs to be a top-drawer Johannesburg suburb. The Public Safety Ambassador project is one of these initiatives. Thanks to the RBMD, armed guards patrol Randburg night and day resulting in a significant decrease in the crime over the past three years says the SAP.

Linden is where it’s all at

Whether it’s a butcher, a baker or a fine Italian pizza that you’re after -. Linden lies nestled between Northcliff, Emmerentia, Craighall Park, Darrenwood and Victory Park. It’s one of the regions quaintest and oldest ’suburbs –  finding a delightful old home with a huge garden, pressed ceilings, wooden floors and big bay windows isn’t too difficult. While Linden has the charm of an old farming village – it’s fast becoming one of the trendiest places to live.

The property market has remained robust in Linden over the past five years and it’s uncommon to find anything in the area for less than a R1 million.

Even in this trying economic climate, there’s been plenty of activity in the property market in Linden.  The maximum transfer was R1, 8m. And in the last year, there were 71 transfers in total – of which the most expensive was for a R3, 7m home. The average age of recent buyers in Linden is an even mix of young adults (18-35) and middle age folk (50-64).

“It’s a great community to raise children in. There is a warm, family-orientated manner about the suburb and it’s wonderful to bump into your friends when you at the grocery store, the butcher or at one of the beautiful coffee shops in the area.

“There is a very efficient security block watch and residents receive weekly updates and crime reports. Government schools like Louw Geldenhuys and a private school like Kings in Robin Hills are good schools. One of the best perks about Linden is that it’s a very central suburb.

Great shopping centres like Cresta can be found just down the road. Then there’s the best pizza in town at Satori’s on 4th; amazing cappuccinos and awesome croissants at the Argentinean bakery on 7th; and who can resist the tea and cake at Paputzis?” Residents of Linden seldom venture beyond the suburb’s borders considering that they find everything they need within a 5km radius.

Linden boasts a famous butchery on 4th Avenue: Rembrandt’s Slaghuis. Pop in on a Saturday and you can grab a delicious borewors roll. Then there’s everybody’s favorite fresh fruit and veggie store – Impala’s. If it’s hip clothing, quirky home accessories or fun goodies you’re after, The Blue Room on 3rd Avenue is the place to shop. Art fundi’s will love Die Blou Hond – Linden’s own supper theatre and gallery. Then there’s the Library on the corner of 4th and 6th that offers a daily story-time for kids. Linden also even has its own public pool (also on 4th).

But possibly Linden’s best-kept secret is Flowertime on 3rd. Run by mother and daughter team Mandy and Pat, this exquisite store is a treasure trove full of gorgeous flowers, ornaments, specialty decor items and marvelous gifts for any occasion.