Melville is one of Johannesburg’s most cosmopolitan villages with small rolling hills, city views, vibrant trendy streets, unique shops, pavement cafes and a lively nightlife.
Melville is an older suburb of Johannesburg situated a few kilometres to the northeast of the city centre and just west of Braamfontein. It is unique in terms of both its ambience and its properties. Melville has become a chic, convenient place to live in close proximity to amenities, universities and schools. The suburb has many charming old houses on narrow streets, some of which date back to the 19th century and early 1920s. The homes have been restored and many have retained their distinctive wooden floors, pressed ceilings and historic architectural features.
In 1896, the suburb was named after land surveyor Edward Melville. In the public sale notice, the suburb was described as a "picturesque and healthy spot in the vicinity of Johannesburg with a magnificent view of the wooded country to the north with the blue Pretoria ranges stretching like lines of steel against the horizon".
In the earlier part of the next century, Melville became a working class suburb but expanded rapidly and became fashionable when the South African Broadcasting Company (SABC) moved from the Johannesburg CBD to nearby Auckland Park. Melville and Auckland Park have attracted many creative residents and the suburbs are well known as the home of some of South Africa's finest artists, actors, musicians and writers.
Melville is also well known for its distinctive shops, multicultural restaurants and its many pubs, clubs and music venues. It has become a unique cultural oasis and its vibrant atmosphere is popular throughout the week but especially on weekends. Many professional, creative and academic people frequent Melville and students from the nearby universities enjoy the suburb’s unique offerings. Melville is next door to the Rand Afrikaans University and houses many of its students. Melville is also is only a few blocks from Wits University Campus and within easy reach of Emmarentia Dam and sailing club.
The main streets, particularly the bohemian Seventh Street (which was the setting and title of a local TV drama), include a diverse range of bookshops, unusual boutiques and antique dealers. Melville and Auckland Park also have a number of interesting art galleries.
The 80-hectare Melville Koppies Nature Reserve is a treasured local attraction with varied flora and fauna and Iron Age relics. It is a National Heritage Site as its geology goes back three billion years and it is the last conserved remnant of Johannesburg's ridges as they were before the discovery of gold in 1886. The reserve is situated just north of the suburb and consists of an extensive area of typical highveld vegetation. Melville Koppies also carries some eighty percent of the flora species recorded in the Witwatersrand area and more than 150 species of birds have been identified in the reserve.
The site has archaeological artefacts from Stone and Iron Age settlements, including iron furnaces - the main archaeological site dates back 100,000 years. The remains of dry stone walling, indicating permanent settlements, are also evident at Melville Koppies.
Melville’s neighbouring suburbs include Auckland Park, Emmarentia, Parktown, Richmond, Rossmore, Westcliff and Westdene. The suburb has a good mix of residential and commercial properties, houses in different price ranges, apartments and guesthouses. Melville is also a well-known guesthouse area that continues to grow in popularity especially with foreign tourists.
Melville is easily accessible from Johannesburg’s major highways with easy access to the M1 and it is only 30 minutes away from South Africa’s biggest airport, OR Tambo International.
Melville property is an excellent investment especially for people who work or study in or near the suburb. Everything that a resident could possibly require is within easy reach of Melville. Seeff Properties Randburg has a wide range of sale or rental properties in this highly sought after trendy area – with a good selection of Melville houses and freehold or sectional title apartments, townhouses and guesthouses.