Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Welcome to Trendy SA

Welcome to trendy SA

Woodstock in Cape Town, Braamfontein in Jozi and Durb's Glenwood have been billed SA's trendiest suburbs and anyone who's anyone is flocking to their hollowed precincts, keen to be in on the buzz. But what makes them  trendy and what's got everyone so excited?

First stop beautiful Cape Town, mother city of the nation and recently voted World Design Capital for 2014. Also home to Woodstock one of it’s oldest, most multi cultural and hands down trendiest suburb. Situated on the outskirts of the city centre and beholder of wonderful mountain and harbour views Woodstock, once considered a derelicts delight, is these days all that is quirky and abuzz with colour and activity. A designated Heritage Area, it has undergone a major inner city revival which has seen run down warehouses and Victorian cottages converted into exciting spaces encouraging innovative investors such as the organic Saturday market, restaurants, media, shops and furniture showrooms. Young families and professionals after a taste of inner city living and keen to be part of Cape Town's new art scene have flocked to the area quickly snapping up restored Victorian semis and contributing to Woodstock’s village atmosphere. A visit to this suburb never fails to charm with its ramshackled boho sweetness.

We arrive on a Saturday and head straight for Woodstock's Neighbourgoods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill. The place is thronging with scores of people chilling on hay bales or astride communal tables munching away on good food and catching up on good company. We dive right in and, to the accompaniment of smooth jazz and lilting swing music, eat our way from one stall to the other savouring snoek pate at one, belgian waffles at another, sip pink champagne, take in dribbles of wild flower honey, feast on curry and swallow oysters .. and this all before noon. The market which runs from 9am – 2pm on Saturdays is a weekly platform for local farmers, fine-food purveyors, organic merchants, artisanal producers, seasonal goods, and micro enterprises.

What to do

Discover the Old Biscuit Mill
A restored series of grain silos, it houses a number of restaurants, a deli, coffee shops and shops selling local designer clothes, jewellery, ceramics and one of a kind treasures.

Eat up at the Platteland Market at The Palms
A gourmand’s trough of foodie feasts, supplied by local farmers. Sample everything from fresh oysters to robust breads and 'braaied' (barbecued) mushrooms. Yummm!

Go gallery-ing 
With galleries to be found on almost every second corner, art lovers are spoilt for choice.
  • whatiftheworld gallery plays an active role in the development of innovative South African art.
  •  Stevenson Gallery is a well-established exhibition showcasing the work of local and international artists.
  • The Goodman Gallery Cape and Michael Stevenson showcase an international collection of contemporary art,

Follow the trail of street artist Faith 47
Her introspective and thought provoking Freedom Charter body of work in Woodstock and throughout Cape Town is inspired by the South African freedom charter.

Where to eat 


The Kitchen – a funky neighbourhood café and deli serving wholesome, rustic food prepared by chef Karen Dudley. The establishment hit the headlines when it played host to Michelle Obama, who made a special appearance in 2011.

The Test Kitchen recently voted the number two kitchen in South Africa sees chef Dale Roberts cooking his distinctive style of cuisine in an intimate space.

Bread Cafe is a deli styled cafe situated on the ground floor of The Bromwell, a boutique mall where you can pick up one-of-a-kind art, sculpture, jewellery, furniture, décor and books.

Where to stay

Upper East Side Hotel is Cape Town's glamorous first business boutique four star hotel


Like Woodstock, Braamfontein just outside of Johannesburgs' CBD, has undergone a major inner city regeneration. The suburb underwent a flurry of development at the height of the apartheid era and thrived as a financial and commercial centre. This however all came to an end with the abolishment of the political system and Braamfontein subsequently suffered a marked slide, deteriorating into an unkept and unsafe area locals did their best to avoid. Happily though recent efforts by the city of Johannesburg and large corporate businesses have borne fruit transforming the previously grubby city centre into one of South Africa's foremost arts and entertainment hubs. Now it hosts many of the country's top musicians and artists and forms part of a Cultural Arc linking it to buzzing Newtown and Constitutional Hill via the Nelson Mandela Bridge.

We love the uniqueness of 'Braamies' as it is fondly referred to. Vibey and cosmopolitan, its screamingly bright buildings draw your attention to the laidback fun atmosphere of the area and offer inspiration to the creatives that have made it their home. Creatives such as South Africa's world renowned fashion designer David Tlale. Surely that alone is enough to make it SA's new fashion hub. If not then Braamies is also home to two art galleries, two theatres, a number of excellent night clubs, a dance studio and ... following on the success of the Cape Town initiative, a flourishing and hugely popular Neighbourgoods market.

What to do

Set your taste buds alight at the Neighbourgoods Market
The Johannesburg edition was launched in Braamfontein in 2011 and is a raving success drawing seekers of good food and vibes from all over the city.

A theatre you shall go
The Johannesburg Civic Theatre which also houses the Mandela Theatre offers theatre-goers a wide choice: from classical ballet to comedy; drama and pantomime

Visit Constitution Hill

This national heritage site has witnessed a century of South Africa’s history.

Walk the Nelson Mandela Bridge
At 284 metres, it is the largest cable-stayed bridge in South Africa, linking the Constitutional Hill in Braamfontein to the Cultural precinct in Newtown, the heart of the city’s inner city renewal project.View the public art displays featured along the Cultural Arc

Where to eat

Coffee and cocktail bars, swanky restaurants and chic little cafes ensure that foodies are spoilt for choice.

Narina Trogon restaurant situated in the heart of Braamfontein serves up fresh seasonal food, great wines and bustling street views.

Ramen restaurant with its strong traditional Japanese influence, serves noodles and curries and is a popular spot to meet friends for a drink.

Love Food, a deli styled cafe is a little slice of heaven where the owner Jamie's love of food is evident in her creative menu of beautiful fresh food using only the finest locally sourced seasonal produce.

Where to stay

Hotel Lamunu, Braamfonteins bright and chic city hotel is close to universities, art galleries, museums, theatres and the Gautrain station.

Reef Hotel, a 4-star establishment with on-site restaurant and 120 individually decorate guest suites with satellite TV.


Durbans answer to all that is trendy, integrated, regenerated and now very much of the art and design scene is Glenwood. Lying 4 km south-west of Durbans central business district, Glenwood like Woodstock and Braamfontein is one of the region's oldest suburbs.

Glenwood in the midst of its urban revival mostly due to the hive of activity evident on Davenport, Road where musos, artists and young designers have set up shop in some of the beautiful old Victorian houses, is the type of place where you can squeeze in a yoga class, follow it up with a Moroccan meal before meeting up for evening drinks at an art gallery with friends. Its cosmopolitan but laidback villagey vibe and sedate tree-lined streets makes this suburb an ideal place to get away to after the bright lights of the city centre.

What to do

Go arty and visit the KZNSA Gallery
The gallery exhibits contemporary visual culture, a shop, café and a training art programme. 

Give in to your inner child
The African Toy Shop where exquisite toys handcrafted by African toymakers, using real pieces from Africa are now available to the rest of the world.

Visit the Phansi Museum
This museum hosts some of the largest collections of traditional arts, crafts and artefacts in South Africa.

Where to eat

Olive and Oil restaurant is all about quality Mediterranean-style ambience and dining where the emphasis is on great quality food and outstanding service.

Euforia - bistro, boutique, book shop and art gallery. Browse through the one of a kind art collectables or pick up a second hand book  and start reading while you wait for your lunch to appear.

Delux Burger Bar serves every type of burger you can think of from interesting toppings like mango salsa to beetroot and red bean.

Where to stay

10 Woodlands Road is a 4 star B&B and self catering guest house. Spread over two adjacent properties with two large pools and pleasant landscaped gardens, it provides guests with ample space to relax and unwind.

Bali on the Ridge is an elegant, olde-worlde style B&B set high on the panoramic ridge of Upper Glenwood with breathtaking views of the city and harbour.

For more information contact: