Like most Capetonians, I always thought that Century City was synonymous with Canal Walk. I was vaguely aware that there were residential properties and business there, but my main focus was retail thearpy and Ratanga Junction. On a recent visit to the Century City Conference Centre and Hotel, I got the chance to see a whole new side to Century City, and it is truly wonderful.
As the name suggests, Century City is a city within a city. In addtion to the commercial and residential properties, there is are schools, parks , a nature reserve and of course canals. When you pass it on the N1, you can’t really see how big it is. In total the land spans 250 hectares. It’s much bigger than you thought right? So if you are not hanging out at the mall or enjoying rides, here’s what else you can do. There is a lovely park, dubbed Central Park where visitors and residents can enjoy numerous activities, like touch rugby, markets, boot camp and yoga.
If you walk outside the mall, you may have stumbled across a walkway. They are all over the city, making the whole place accessible by foot or bike. It is lovely way to wander around, taking in all the sights of the city. One of the most remarkable places to see in the city is Intaka Island. It is 16 hectare wetland that is vital to the city. It is home to 120 species of birds, 213 species of plant and works as a natural filter for the canals, contributing to the amazing fact that there are no mosquitoes on the canals.
There is a Educational Centre that teaches you all about Intaka Island and also shows you incredible ways to live green and sustainably. The center itself is almost entirely off the grid. They have solar panels and a wind turbine for electricity. They ensure that everything they do and use is to the benefit of the earth. All the water they use is collected and filtered. They grey water is then used to water the plants. Waste material is either recycled, composted or used in an earthworm farm, where earthworm pee is collected and used as a natural fertilizers.
One of the coolest things they have is a Aquaponics system, where they have fish in a tank whose water feed a edible garden in a big pot. There is no soil in the pot, the root of the plant just sits in water. The plants clean the water and it gets filtered back into the fish tank. You can also take a boat ride from the Educational Centre, that goes through the canals and around Intaka Island. You get to see the stunning building from a completely different angle and most importantly get to see some of the animals that inhabit the wetland.
So the next time you are in Century City, why not go exploring and see the other side of the city within a city.
Photography Annzra Denita