Constantia, Cape Town, South Africa

Birds eye view of Constantia.
By Zola Miller

Having had his good and faithful services taken into consideration by the VOC, Simon van der Stel, Commander of the Cape, in 1685 was granted, in free and full property, a certain piece of ground situated behind Table Mountain. Located in at or near present-day Steenberg, it comprised more than 890 morgen, and van der Stel named it "Constantia".

The first house which he built, unfortunately now no longer to be seen, was referred to as "a beautiful seat, with charming views of meadows, corn-fields, gardens, vineyards, and fine views of Table Mountain and Devil's Peak". After the death of Van der Stel, Constantia was divided into three portions, and sold off by the Company.

Two portions became known as Bergvliet and Klein Constantia. The third, world-renowned for its award-winning wines, is called Groot Constantia. The suburb, situated along rolling hills at the foot of the mountain, is recognised for its wine estates, country homes and many sought-after farm stalls.

The sprawling Constantia Village shopping centre offers something for everyone, and it is often difficult to find a parking spot during peak shopping hours. Horses trot smartly along meandering paths, allowing riders to enjoy the off-the-main-route beauty of this wealthy suburbs.

Roads wind spectacularly to the top of the mountain, en route to suburbs on the other side of the range, with numerous viewing spots along the way. It is a place of which those "yuppies" dream who aspire to stately homes behind lengthy security fences on huge grounds covered with lush, crafted, "designer gardens".

There is little chance of achieving this pinnacle of suburb, unless one miraculously wins the Lotto or inherits one of the prime estates! However, dreams must be dreamed, and hopes should not be squashed.

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