Observatory has never been a conventional suburb. One of the few so-called grey suburbs during the apartheid era, this eclectic area, with its arty appearance and chilled vibe, is still embracing diversity in a big way many years on.
Home to a large student community given its proximity to the University of Cape Town’s main campus and medical school, Obs is just as popular with artists, musicians and families.
Young professionals have also started moving into the area to take advantage of its easy access to the N2 and proximity to Cape Town’s thriving CBD.
It’s no surprise, then, that the suburb is becoming increasingly sought after by property investors. In recent years, there’s been a huge increase in demand for properties in the area, with those at the top end of the market having risen in value significantly. While a prime property would have cost in the region of R3,5 million back in 2015, today these properties are fetching as much as R4,5 million.
Part of Observatory’s attraction is its iconic Lower Main Road with its laid-back restaurants and cafés. Long-standing favourites include Pancho’s, Obz Café, A Touch of Madness and Queen of Tarts, while newer kids on the block include Hello Sailor, Jerry’s Burger Bar, Ginger Mango and Marley Coffee.
Despite its easy-going vibe, there’s always something happening in Observatory. City Rock indoor climbing gym is as popular with the after-work climbing crowd as it is with families, while the nearby River Club offers a driving range and 9-hole mashie golf course. Other must-visit destinations include The Cape Town Science Centre and The South African Astronomical Observatory.
Observatory also has a thriving business community thanks to its central location and public transport options. There are several business parks in the area, including the popular Black River Park, as well as a range of small businesses as diverse as the suburb itself – from backpacker lodges to hairdressers and more.