The pretty suburb of Linden stretches along a hill that slopes down to the Braamfontein Spruit in Randburg, north-west Johannesburg. The area was originally farmland, named after farmer Johannes Jacobus Rabie van der Linde, whose family bought the land in 1898 and later divided it up and sold it off in portions as smallholdings.
It is estimated that by 1934 around 350 families lived in Linden, and many owned small fruit farms that benefited from the area’s particularly fertile soils. In the 1950s the area became a popular suburb with affluent Afrikaans families, and soon earned the nickname “Boere Houghton”.
While most of the fruit farms had by then already disappeared, the suburb of Linden is still remarkable today for its numerous peach trees.
In recent years Linden’s wide, tree-lined streets have become popular with young professionals who are attracted by the area’s friendly small-town feel and many trendy, independent cafes and restaurants. Linden’s distinctive main street, 4th Avenue, is a mix of old and new independent stores and cafés. Some of the oldest stores include the Arthur Bales haberdashery, which first opened in the 1960s and still does a roaring trade today in fabrics, wools and sewing equipment. Other must-visit local businesses include Rembrandt’s Butchery, which is a great place to buy meat for the braai, and the Cheese Cafe, a delicatessen with an enticing selection of South African farmhouse cheeses.
For cafe culture there is plenty of choice. For breakfast try one of the trendy coffee shops such as The Whippet or The Fat Zebra, both known for their large breakfast selection made with locally sourced ingredients; or for something more traditional there’s the charming old-fashioned corner cafe, The Argentinian, which proudly boasts the “best croissants in Africa”.
For lunch or dinner take your pick from French, Indian, Mexican, sushi or Chinese food. Favourites include Emma Chen’s colourful and casual noodle restaurant PRON (People’s Republic of Noodles), known for its flavoursome, authentic northern Chinese cuisine; and for rustic French fare there’s Romuald Denesle’s laid-back bistro, A La Bouffe.