Old Cape Town’s Oranjezicht

Old Cape Town's Oranjezicht

The suburb Oranjezicht (which means "orange view" in Dutch) was named after the old fruit and vegetable farm that used to exist here in the 17- and 1800s. Several theories remain for why the farm was called Oranjezicht - a popular one being that it had many orange and lemon trees, which (when in season) must have given the view from the homestead an orange hue.

However, the theory that I favour is that it got its name from the fifth bastion of the Castle of Good Hope, called "Oranje", which on a clear day would have been visible from the farm. This bastion in fact points towards where the farm would have been situated. See the the purple line that I drew on this Google Map, from the Castle of Good Hope's Oranje bastion to the suburb Oranjezicht.

Of course, you could argue that the bastion got its name due to the orange and lemon trees growing on the slopes of Table Mountain. But you'd be wrong. :) The bastion actually took on the name of the Dutch prince of Orange, Prins Willem van Oranje.

I took this photo in the opposite direction from the one in my previous post; that dark patch with cloud above is Table Mountain, so at this point I had my back to the Castle of Good Hope, and the bastion Oranje.

12 thoughts on “Old Cape Town’s Oranjezicht

  1. Beverley

    Besides seeing the lovely photo of the buildings it’s interesting to see how close the mountain is and of course it’s emphasised by the cloud coming down over it…

  2. HiltonT

    Great photo, except it’s not in Oranjezicht.

    This is the corner of Upper Buitenkant Street and Vredehoek Avenue in the suburb of Vredehoek. This is an area I know extremely well.

  3. Paul

    Post author

    Thanks HiltonT, I’m always nervous of taking photos standing in the middle of an intersection. Photographers tend to get carried away with shooting the photo and forget about the traffic. I kept on having to remind myself that taxi’s stop for no man. ;)

    On the location, while I can’t emphatically say that you’re wrong, I’m not sure that you’re correct. I don’t know the area as well as you do, but according to a comment that I had on my previous post the house in the photo would be in Oranjezicht, while the left of the photo would be Vredehoek.

    “Also, according to the way I understand it (and my old map book) Upper Buitenkant divides Vredehoek and Oranjezicht. So yes you are correct that you took the photo in Vredehoek as you were standing on the east side of the road. But Villa is on the west side, so wouldn’t that make it Orangezicht? “

    General opinion often have suburb borders as blurred lines and I guess it’s not uncommon for people to differ on where one suburb ends and another begins. :)

  4. Lulu van Pletsen

    I am proud to say that the house second from the mountain (with the fruit bowls on the gate) on this photo is my house, 178 Upper Buitenkant Street. The longer I live in the house the more I just love the area. The building to your left (on your photos one can only see the trees), on the corner, opposite the Victorian block used to be the house of the driver of Governor Simon van der Stel. It is now divided into 4 apartments.

  5. Paul

    Post author

    That’s awesome Lulu… although, I’m struggling to see those fruit bowls… and more to the point… why were there fruit bowls outside your house!? :)

    Thanks for the info about the driver. That’s pretty interesting. It seems that he had a fairly sizeable piece of land. You’re right though, this is a pretty part of the city.

  6. lulu

    Paul, sorry I only found this message now, TWO years later!! Dont have a clue about the reason for the fruit bowls.


  7. Brian Joffin

    Great to find this blog! I’m a Cape dutch house and old farm fanatic..very interested in the history and remnants of these farms…Bergvliet is currently where I’m working on a food garden in a a high school, the history of thje original farm is rich and fascinating..thanks for this blog!

  8. Paul

    Post author

    Thanks for you message Brian. I assume then you must already have spent much time in places like Tulbagh and Riebeek West? They have plenty of old homes for you to inspect. :)

  9. Brian Joffin

    Gosh only saw your reply nearly 5 years later! In those 5 years Ive been involved as OZCFs first market stallholder 4 years ago.. and now running a farm in Lentegeur that was partly facilitated by their SA Urban Farming Trust and supplies their new market in Granger Bay.

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