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Observatory, Cape Town


Observatory at a glance

Observatory, also known as Obs, is a vibrant Cape Town suburb. It's between Mowbray to the south and Salt River to the northwest, each lending its distinct charm to the area. While it's often associated with its proximity to the University of Cape Town, the Observatory offers much more.

The neighbourhood gets its name from the South African Astronomical Observatory headquarters, established by the Royal Observatory in 1829. But beyond its academic roots, the Observatory boasts a diverse range of attractions and amenities.

In terms of housing, it offers a mix of options ranging from quaint Victorian cottages to modern apartments and student accommodations. It's a great place to call home, with its distinct character adding to its appeal.

A brief history of the area

The Observatory has a long and varied history. It saw the Battle of Salt River in 1510 when a Portuguese raid on a Goringhaiqua Khoikhoi town occurred there. Its contemporary origins are in the 1657 land grant for the Koornhoop Colony when Dutch settlers built Fort Coornhoop to stave off Khoikhoi raids. Koornhoop changed throughout time to become Uitwyk, then Malta Farm. Today, the area is known for its illustrious history, combining historical relevance with modern vibrancy.

Distance from key points (Airport/CBD)

Living in Observatory means you're conveniently close to neighbouring towns like Woodstock, Mowbray, and Rosebank. It's just a short 4 km (or 3 mi) drive to Woodstock, taking about 4 minutes via the N1. Mowbray is only about 6 minutes away, covering 2,5 km via Liesbeek Pkwy/M57, while Rosebank is around 8 minutes away, with a distance of 3,2 km via the same route.

If you're travelling, reaching Cape Town International Airport takes just 22 minutes, spanning 15.3 km via Settlers Way/N2. Getting around the city is also hassle-free, with the CBD just a 10-minute drive away, about 6.3 km via the N2.


The climate of the Observatory area is semi-arid. For example, the hottest month, February, has highs of 25°C and lows of 17°C, whilst the coldest month, August, has highs of 16°C and lows of 10°C. June is usually the wettest month; there is a 27% probability of rain, and on average, the day will see about 0.3 mm. By contrast, December has the lowest likelihood of precipitation — just 6%.


There are many educational options at the Observatory. For the little ones, you'll find places like Kiddies College Pre-School & Aftercare andObservatory Junior School, where they can start from Grade R up to Grade 7. If you have girls, Observatory Girls' Primary School is a great option, offering education from Grade R to Grade 7. And for high school, Salt River Secondary School is close by.

There are also special needs schools in the area.Mary Kihn School for learners with partial hearing impairments, while the School of Hope assists children facing learning challenges.


The Observatory has reliable healthcare options. General practitioners are available in the area, along with top-notch facilities likeGroote Schuur Hospital and Valkenberg Hospital. Nearby, you can also access Mowbray Maternity Hospital and Life Vincent Pallotti Hospital. Prescriptions can be filled at Lifestyle Pharmacy, and pets can be treated at the Observatory Animal Clinic.

Shopping centres

You'll find everything you need for shopping in the Observatory. Visit theObservatory Centre, Obz Lifestyle Market, Saint Peter's Square, and the Obz Lifestyle Market for a wide array of options. Moreover, the newly established Mary Kihn Market offers a plethora of unique finds, including delicious food trucks, diverse shopping stalls, car boot sales, and a supervised kids' play area.


There is an abundance of exciting and charming dining alternatives in the Observatory. Whether you're craving gourmet dishes or fast food, you'll find something to satisfy your appetite. Obz Cafe offers a wide selection of cuisine in a casual atmosphere. Barcelos offers a casual setting to enjoy Portuguese food. Furthermore, Madesu's Restaurant is where you should go if you're in the mood for African-inspired cuisine.

Special attractions

The area offers various attractions, from its vibrant park scene to its rich historical sites. Wander around the streets lined with Victorian homes, or visit the interactive children's museum,Cape Town Science Centre, which features a planetarium and a human gyroscope. 

Discover the mysteries  of the sky at theSouth African Astronomical Observatory. In the verdant setting of Two Rivers Urban Park, visitors can relish picnics by the river, stroll along scenic walking paths, and enjoy the chance to see birds.

Reach out to property professionals in the Observatory

Are you searching for your next home? Look into the Observatory, a neighbourhood rich in history and diverse charm. Whether you prefer a cosy home or a modern apartment, you'll discover the right fit here. You can explore our property listings to find the perfect match for your lifestyle, orreach out to our property professionals today.

Image credits 1: Groote Schuur Hospital by A3alb |Wikipedia | CC BY-SA 3.0 | 

Image credit 3: Hospital by A3alb | Wikipedia | CC BY-SA 3.0 | 

Image credit 4: Cape Town Science Centre by Axxter99 |Wikipedia | CC-BY-SA-4.0 | 

Image credit 5: Lower Main Road, Observatory by Rebekahn | Wikipedia | CC BY-SA 3.0 | 

Image credit 6: Cape Town Science Centre by Axxter99 |Wikipedia | CC BY-SA 4.0 | 

Image credit 8: Observatory street by Andrea Goetzke | Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0 |

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