Bellville is a city in the greater Cape Town metropolitan area. It is mainly a residential area in the north and a light industrial area in the south. It is home to three tertiary education centres; University of the Western Cape, Cape Peninsula University of Technology and the Stellenbosch Business School.
When to go
For beach and sightseeing holidays the summer months are best from October to April, however, in both April and October the weather is variable and unpredictable. Winters are mild with temperatures in a range of 8ºC to 17ºC but it’s the rainy season. Winter is also whale-watching season. December/January is the time most South Africans take their annual holiday and the summer break for school children, so booking is often essential.
Cape Town has a Mediterranean-style climate with cool, wet winters and warm, dry summers. The average summer temperatures are 24ºC, with January and February averaging 26ºC.
Cape Town’s climate is a collection of micro-climates of which the Northern Suburbs has more than one. Apart from air pressure, wind and temperatures, the cold current, mountains and built-environment are additional factors that influence the local weather. Check with the forecasts for the daily weather.
The front view of Table Mountain is famous for its tablecloth, the south-east wind blows cool air off the sea which is forced up over the mountain, this air condenses into clouds which ‘spill’ over the front. The tablecloth is a good indicator that the southeaster (the prevailing summer wind) is blowing and that the beaches along the Atlantic Seaboard are a better bet than those in False Bay.
The Northern Suburbs are built-up residential areas of Cape Town. Large mammals are no longer abundant in these regions but small interesting and often endemic animals such as tortoises, snakes, lizards, frogs and toads can be observed especially in the nature reserves.
Look out for the bright blue-headed Southern Rock Agama, the prehistoric looking Black Girdled Lizard and the Cape Skink.
There are some interesting endemic and endangered Amphibians, the Table Mountain Ghost Frog is a special find, but look out for the Cape Chirping Frog, Cape River Frog, the endangered Leopard toad and the tiny Arum Lily Frog.
Two species of Tortoises are common, the Angulate Tortoise and the Parrot-beaked Tortoise.
There are 22 snake species, ten of which are non-venomous, although they can still deliver a nasty bite if provoked. Some of the venomous species include the Cape Cobra, the Puff Adder, Boomslang, Rinkhals and Berg Adder. The good news is it they are mostly shy and will avoid human contact. The one most likely to encounter is the Puff Adder which enjoys nice warm spots, such as rocks and pathways (best to keep out of its way).
Insects play an integral role in the fynbos ecosystem either by directly pollinating plants or as a vital source of nutrient for birds and animals. Some are especially adapted to pollinate specific plants. Look out for butterflies such as the Mountain Pride Butterfly that is the exclusive pollinator of a variety of red plants such as the red disa, and the red crassula.
The many niches and habitats that exist (ocean, shoreline, cliff-face, rocky highland, fynbos, forest and suburbia) contributes to a large species count, as does the geographical positioning at a continent's corner, many vagrants and seasonal visitors can be spotted.
For a full bird list or birding checkllist see the SANparks website or for further information on birding in the Cape Peninsula, contact: The Cape Bird Club on 021 559 0726 or www.capebirdclub.org
On the Mountain and in the reserve the Western Cape’s famous fynbos is the predominant vegetation type. Table Mountain fynbos is such a diverse ecosystem, it changes from place to place. The endangered Renosterveld (rhinoceros field) a type of vegetation can be found on the slopes of Signal Hill.
Renosterveld is a small-leaved, evergreen shrubland dominated by the renosterbos. It is extremely rich in species and bulbs which produce magnificent flower displays in spring (September and October). Many of these are endemic. Typical Renosterveld include members of the daisy, lily, iris and oxalis families.
Fynbos comprises four major plant groups:
● Proteas: large shrubs with broad leaves
● Ericas: heath-like, low-growing shrubs
● Restios: reed-like plants; are the only group that are found in all fynbos habitats
● Geophytes: bulbs; these include watsonias and disas both of which occur mainly in wetland areas and are prominent after fires.
Fynbos is a fire-dependent vegetation that needs to burn around every 15 years to stimulate new growth and ensure that plant and animal communities remain healthy. If it doesn’t burn in about 20 – 30 years it stops producing seeds which could cause the extinction of some species. If fire is too frequent due to human intervention seed banks are depleted which can change the diversity of plant species in the area.
1) MyCiti busses
Cape Town’s bus system is called MyCiti. See their Website for Routes, Timetables, Fares and Retailers for cards and top-ups. There is a mobile app TCT (Transport Cape Town) which is available for the following smartphones: Windows Phone, iPhone, Android and Blackberry and under the name ‘TCT’ (look for the red logo).
Everyone over four years needs a myconnect card to travel. Get one from MyCiTi station kiosks or participating retailers. You have two options to load money onto your card. Load money as Standard and pay the Standard fare, or load money as points with a Mover package and save 30% on fares. Mover packages are only available from MyCiTi station kiosks.
There are plenty of good, safe and reliable taxi firms in Cape Town, but you cannot hail a taxi in the street, a telephone call is required.
3) Mini-bus Taxis are shared taxis can be hailed in the street on busy routes. There is a lot of bad press about minibus taxis, to be safe stick to the busy routes during the day.
4) Uber operates in Cape Town.
5) Scooters, bicycles and Motorbikes can be hired.
Metrorail operates short distance commuter trains to Simon’s Town through the southern suburbs, to the Northern Suburbs and outlying towns of Paarl, Wellington, Malmesbury and Worcester. For the map of the lines see Metrorail.
● The Northern Line covers the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town and extends to Stellenbosch, Wellington and Strand. This schedule includes the Monte Vista line.
7) Car Hire
Cape Town has all the major car hire companies operating from the Airport and the City Centre. There are also smaller local companies.
Things to do & See
1) Bellville Golf Club
An 18-hole golf course in the suburb of Bellville is set in a sheltered valley of rolling hills with panoramic views of the Hottentots Holland mountains. It is a Par 72 course and offers golfers a challenging round of golf on a course that caters for all levels of expertise. The course is well bunkered, well watered and has 5 water holes. The dams and water canals are filled with birds and wildfowl. Manicured fairways and greens, lined with a variety of trees and floral features add to the tranquil and pleasing setting. Visitors are welcome.
+27 21 913 3100
2) The Momentum Golf Village Tygervalley
Tygervalley Golf Village offers the following golfing facilities:
● Golf driving range with target greens and pins (GPS distances labelled on bay dividers),
● medium & fast paced putting greens,
● Kids Village (27 hole Adventure golf course) open 8am – 6pm,
● Chipping & Pitching practice area,
● Bunker practice area, and
● Paul MacKenzie Golf Academy for those wanting golf lessons.
Monday 11am – 8pm
Tuesday, Wed, Thursday, & Friday 8am – 8pm
Saturday 8am – 7pm
Sunday 8am – 6pm
+27 21 948 5673
3) Bugz Family Playpark
Two large sandpit areas with colourful jungle gyms, slides, swings, playhouses, tree houses, a castle and obstacles to crawl under or climb over – bring the kids today and get them learning through play!
Indoor and outdoor fun every day.
Monday – Sunday: 9 - 5pm
Ticket sales close: 4:30pm
Rides open until 5pm
Closed Christmas Day
+27 21 988 8836
4) Cool Runnings
South Africa’s first tobogganing track on the hillside opposite the Bellville Velodrome. Sleds can reach 40 km/h on the 1.2-km track. Those under eight years must ride with mom or dad, kids over eight can ride in single sleds.
Tuesday to Friday from 12pm to 6pm
Weekends from 9am to 6pm.
Closed on Mondays, except during school holidays, and on rainy days.
Opposite Bellville Velodrome, Carl Cronje Drive, Bellville
+27 21 949 4439
5) The Cape Flats Nature Reserve
The Cape Flats has the world’s highest rate of plant extinction because it is highly fragmented and isolated by urbanization. The Cape Flats Nature Reserve, situated on the campus of UWC is a private reserve and falls under the administration of the University of the Western Cape. Although the reserve was first created as a refuge for Strandveld and Coastal Fynbos, it now also functions as a base for ecological teaching, environmental education, research and a natural space for the public to enjoy.
The reserve hosts a variety of animals, with a low density of mammals, as with the Western Cape in general. Other fauna include Cape Angulate tortoise, mongoose, various other reptiles, 86 recorded bird species and a wealth of insect life.
University of the Western Cape, Modderdam Road, Bellville
+27 21 959 2498
6) Reptile Garden
Reptile Garden is a reptile display park showcasing over 35 species of reptiles at Stodels nursery. A great way to introduce the unknown world of reptiles in a safe environment. Includes snakes such as Puff Adder, Cape Cobra, Black and Green Mamba and the docile Boomslang. In addition some exotic snakes such as Rattlesnake, Tree Viper, Gaboon Viper and exotic pythons, Ball Pythons, a popular pet and a very rare Madagascan Ground Boa, as well as the cute chameleons and geckos.
All our specimens are captive bred and housed with meticulous attention to their good health, hygiene and comfort.
Watch a feeding show on Sundays (noon) Have a photograph taken with a reptile and meet the local star and mascot, the Rock Monitor, Draco.
Stodels nursery also has a restaurant, a play park, train rides, and a petting zoo.
Tuesday to Sunday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Mondays 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Stodels in Bellville just off Eversdal Road
Curator Bjorn Unger
+27 84 776 3537
1) Tyger Valley Centre
Tyger Valley a typical shopping mall with plenty of retail shops, restaurants and a movie theatre.
Willie Van Schoor Ave & Bill Bezuidenhout, Bellville
Monday to Saturday 9am – 7pm
Sunday & public Holidays 9am – 5pm
+27 21 914 1822
- Bellville Golf Club
- Cool Runnings (South Africa’s first tobogganing track on the hillside opposite the Bellville Velodrome)
- The Momentum Golf Village in Tygervalley
- The Cape Flats Nature Reserve
- Bugz Family Playpark
- A short drive from the GrandWest Casino and Entertainment Centre (Ice rink, cinema, gambling and restaurants)
- Tygerberg Nature Reserve
- Durbanville Hills Wine Estate
- De Grendel Wine Estate
- Killarney Race Track
- Meerendal Wine Estate
- Stellenbosch farms
- Cape Town International Airport
- King David Country Club
- Tyger Valley Shopping Centre
Originally a railway station on the Stellenbosch and Strand lines, it was called ‘12-Myl-Pos’ (12 Mile Post), since it is 12 miles (20 km) from Cape Town city centre. In 1861 it was renamed Bellville, after the surveyor general Charles Bell.
The area was originally used as a wagon halt for farmers bringing their produce to Cape Town. The village Belleville was established in 1861 and the railway line from Cape Town reached it in 1862. In January 1886 its name was changed to Durban Road for the nearby village of Durbanville, but in 1904 the name was changed back to Bellville (with slightly amended spelling).