Northcliff is the affluent residential suburb that separates the northern suburbs from the west of Joburg. Its winding, tree-lined streets sets it apart from its surroundings grid-style suburb layouts. The hood features luxury homes with large gardens and glorious vistas of Joburg’s central business district and the forested northern suburbs. Although an evening visit to the landmark water tower is no longer considered safe, it used to be a popular venue for courting couples – the spectacular glimmer of the city’s night lights creates the most romantic and magical backdrop. It is often forgotten that the hill used to be known as ‘Aasvoelkop’ or Vulture Hill, due to the predominance of these birds of prey before urbanisation. At 1807m above sea level, the hill is Joburg’s second highest natural feature, with Observatory Ridge claiming first prize at only one metre higher!
Where to Eat
On Beyers Naude, between Mimosa Road and Mountainview Avenue you will find a cluster of eateries. Some of them, like The Thundergun Steakhouse, has been serving some of the best ribs in town since the mid 70’s when two of you could each have a salad, a burger and share a bottle of wine for R10 – and still have change for the tip! The best pizza in the area is just down the drag at Lucios Pizzeria – also an institution. If you’re in the mood for bistro style food then Bife on 14th is the place for you (their creamed spinach is to die for). And just across the road, you can indulge in authentic Korean/Chinese food at Shallow Waters . Or if that is not your style, head for some American eats at TJ Billies BBQ.
What to Do
It seems as though the inhabitants of Northcliff love sports as is evidenced by the many bars with big screen TVs around this neck of the woods. But if you’re up for some real live action and your school days are done, there is the well known Northcliff Bowls Club on Mollie Road and the Tennis Club on the fringe of Montreux and Linden – to work off those steaks and pizzas. If you prefer the outdoors, the smooth, hard quartzite rocks of the Hill offer a number of short but interesting climbing options.
Fancy a few frosties and a game of darts accompanied by fat conversations about whatever topic is in the news that day, you will have a few options to pick from. During the day there are loads of cafes and shopping spots to check out (especially at the Mountain View strip mall) but at night the chaps tend to come out for a pint or three at places such as the Irish Club. (Yeah, it’s technically in Linden but it’s like three blocks away from Northcliff Corner, okay?).
Cresta boasts one of the city’s largest shopping centres right on a MetroBus and Rea Vaya route. Other than that, the taxis stop every few metres on Beyers Naude – which is why the traffic is so sticky during most parts of the day. For a reliable taxi stop, head for the space across the road from the Micky D’s.
Points of Interest
Cresta Shopping Centre‘s new food court seems to attract bunches of youngsters and, for some reason, this suburb features an unusually large number of eye doctors plus a never ending line of hardware stores. Well, there may not be much in the area of cool landmarks other than the Hill and it’s water tower itself but if you feel adventurous, you could try and go and find the old film studios which used to be set up on the hill – they made the film version of Ipi Ntombi, among other things. Let us know if you do!