Maynardville Park is managed by the Maynardville Park Action Committee (MPAC), a public-private partnership between the City of Cape Town and the Wynberg community. The MPAC envisages Maynardville Park a sustainable and dignified civic park of local and metropolitan significance, which provides recreational and cultural opportunities to all. Not only does Maynardville have sweeping lawns, planted with mature trees, for leisurely recreation and a famous open-air theatre, but it also hosts carnivals, fairs, markets, motor shows, wedding receptions, religious gatherings, etc.
Inside the Park
- Sweeping lawns
- Mature trees
- Open-air theatre
- Krakeelwater pond
- Venue for markets, fairs, wedding receptions, religious gatherings
The original Maynard’s Villa was the home of financier James Maynard from 1836 until his death in 1874. After it was damaged by fire, Maynard’s Villa was rebuilt by Maynard’s nephew, William Farmer. It remained as a family home until Farmer’s daughter, Enid Bernard, died in 1949. It was then sold to the municipality who demolished the dilapidated house, but preserved the grounds as a public park.
Many trees in the park are a legacy of a once fine Victorian garden established at a time when collecting exotic trees was fashionable amongst the elite of Cape Town. The Maynard/Farmer family commissioned a horticulturist from Kew Gardens to landscape the garden in the style of the day.
Some interesting trees that can be seen include the diagonally trunked Mediterranean Cork Oak (Quercus suber), which is a perfect tree for the beginner tree climber;three fine conical shaped Swamp Cypress (Taxodium distichum) from the Southern USA; and the pale and elegant Lemon-scented Gum trees (Eucalyptus citriodora) in the library car park which are magnificent by day and ghostly by moonlight. Crush a leaf before you leave.
One of the charms of the parks is the Krakeelwater, which resurfaces in Maynardville, broadening at one point into a pond. A large flock of Cattle Egrets roosts on the island. Other birds common to the area are Egyptian Geese, Moorhens, Hadedas and Sacred Ibis, Red-knobbed Coots and Reed Cormorants. A wooden bridge crosses the stream where a short stretch of it can be seen in its natural state.
The gates to Napoleon’s tomb once stood at the park entrance nearest Carr’s Hill, after being relocated from St Helena, but has long since been returned.
In the 1950s the park was visited by two imaginative theatre enthusiasts Cecilia Sonnenberg and Rene Abrenson, who saw its potential for presenting Shakespearian plays and with assistance transformed the old archery lawn into an enchanting setting for an annual Shakespearean season.
In 1956 the theatre was launched with the staging of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ by the Spotlight Theatre Company. The statue of William Shakespeare, just visible through the gate, once stood above the Juta & Co Building. It was snapped up by two ladies and placed in its present appropriate position. Before the summer performances, patrons usually gather on the lawns and enjoy a picnic under the stars.
For more information:
Contact Person: Ntsiki Mlotywa
Tel: 021 710 9403
Office hours: 08h00–16h30