Things to do in the Northern Suburbs When You’re Stuck


(An SA Blog Beta post from Your Correspondent.)

Cape Town’s Northern Suburbs are different, and the differences are easy to put your finger on. Cars: bigger, louder, faster and often towing something. Houses: 1,000 acre ranches, in the eyes of their owners – though to the rest of us they look like 100 square meter plot-n-plans. People: bigger, louder, often towing something, and so friendly that you think they might be simple.

The northern suburbs spread out from the city in two directions. To the north-east, you’ll find places like Parow (home of one million car dealerships), Plattekloof (which commands sweeping, panorama-style views of Table Mountain and the ocean), Panorama (which commands a sweeping view of Parow’s car dealerships – someone erred when assigning suburb names!), Welgemoed, Brackenfell and so on.

To the north-north-west, you’ll find places like Milnerton, Table View (proud home of the Chevron refinery), Bloubergstrand and West Beach – and, yesterday, you would also have found Your Correspondent, looking to kill some time. A group I was due to meet for a year-end get-together was somewhat delayed (see yesterday’s post on Cape Town Season), and so I had the chance to gather unique insights on this little-known but growing part of suburban Africa.

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First off, for urgent take-out double-espressos, I can recommend La Familia, in the Spar strip mall on West Beach’s Sandown Road. Beware: in asking for a take-out, you will stick out, like a sore thumb. (“Wouldn’t you rather sit and relax? No? Shame!”)

Second, for quality used rifle sites, you’ll want to hop over to the Cash Converters in the West Coast Village Mall, found where the R27 intersects with Sunningdale Drive. And while you’re visiting the Village, why not call in at Mexican Imports, the farthest-flung extension of the Tijuana tourist markets yet discovered – ?

My friends arrived at last, and I joined them at the 1,000-acre ranch (where the driveway was full), feeling a little like Gulliver among the Brobdingnagians. A final note: when you’re ready to leave the northern suburbs, pull out with a friendly wave. Betcha can’t count the number of (larger) hands waving back!