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How a leftover Pocket between Reservoirs became the City’s most coveted green Haven and Music Hub.


There’s no doubt that a city’s heart beats boldest through its green spaces. New York has Central Park and Cape Town De Waal Park. But our park – or rather “THE Park” in local lingo – sits darn pretty. In fact, in terms of location it’s hard to beat: flanked by one of the most recognizable mountains in the world and overlooking both urban cityscape and ocean, De Waal Park is the emerald in the crown of leafy Oranjezicht. In this serene setting we city folk come together to unwind, recharge our batteries and inhale copious quantities of nature after a grinding day at the desk. It’s also a place where dog walkers meet up and let their four-legged babies say hello to their furry friends. It has also, over the years, been a place where communities have come together under the canopies of the 120+ species of trees to have a picnic, practice their slacklining and enjoy musical performances around the bandstand.

Today this gracious Victorian grande dame, complete with criss-crossing footpaths, trees, benches and a Victorian fountain centerpiece still delights, just like she did at her conception in 1895. The city’s first and largest park (after the Company’s Gardens) was purchased from the Van Breda family who owned a farm called Oranjezigt back in the day. The city divided the plot into three sections and built 2 small reservoirs below Camps Street and a larger one (Molteno) below Belvedere Rd. with the space between the reservoirs forming a natural park and voila! De Waal Park was born.

A forward-thinking councilor and law-maker at the time, David Christiaan De Waal, ordered the planting of thousands of trees in the city as well as in the ‘park’. The park, initially referred to as “Jubilee Park”, was opened to the public in 1895 by De Waal, who was mayor at the time. Soon it became simply known as De Waal Park – as it still is today. Elegant art-nouveau-style gates with wrought-iron arches were created as entrances and in 1899 a wall was built along Camp St and extended up Orange St in 1900. A hedge of Kei Apple was planted to fence off the rectangular-shaped park.

Incidentally, the original Edwardian bandstand was manufactured by Messrs Walter McFarlane & Co of Glasgow and presented to ‘The Corporation’ in Cape Town by the Traders-Market & Exhibition Ltd. London in 1904! It was initially used at the Cape Town Exhibition held in Green Pont but moved to De Waal Park after the exhibition was over. In 1968 De Waal Park received National Monument status, and has since been maintained as a public garden.

That being said, the iconic bandstand has been an intrinsic part of the community over the decades and has seen its fair share of musical performances, not least the annual set of summer Concerts In The Park, staged from the same Edwardian bandstand over the past 12 years. In 2022/3 the awesome line-up yet again consists of the very best of South African musical talent – kicking off with headliners Mi Casa, 2nd and 3rd band respectively, Majozi, and Saudiq Khan, and for the first time at Concerts In The Park, the delightful Elkanah School Band on December, 4th, 2022. The Park yet again cordially welcomes the rainbow nation of all ages to come and be part of the excitement. What are you waiting for? Save the date and get your tickets from Quicket!