The land was originally part of the van Breda estate in Oranjezicht, and was purchased by the Town Council of Cape Town in 1877 for the building of the Molteno Reservoir, below Camp Street. The land below the reservoir formed a natural park and also contained the burial vault of the Hofmeyr family. Today the area is well planted with a number of tall shady pine and cypress tress which overlook its large lawns. It was declared a National Monument under old NMC legislation on 22 March 1968.
In 1881 David Christiaan de Waal, a close friend of Cecil John Rhodes and mayor of Cape Town in 1889 and 1890, saw the potential for a park in the land below the recently constructed Molteno Reservoir, which bordered by the road leading up to the Oranjezicht farm, Camp Street (already an important road) and an orchard. In 1895, De Waal Park was opened to the public. Then in 1898
The Victorian Fountain was installed in the middle of the park. Later in 1899, the exotic trees that were planted, many at the instigation of D C de Waal who had a passion for trees, the wall along Camp Street was built followed by the wall up Upper Orange Street. In 1905, the bandstand was moved to the park after its use in the Cape Town Industrial Exhibition in Green Point. Military bands performed there on Sunday afternoons for many years. In 1952 the park became the venue of the annual Theatrical Garden Party, today’s Community Chest Carnival. Then in 1968
the park was declared a National Monument.
In 1985 a pond was built around the Victorian fountain, diagonal footpaths were laid and lighting was installed, forming the basic structure of the park so well loved today.By 2008
The Friends of De Waal Park was formed to ensure it's continuation! By 2010, 'Concerts in the Park' had returned, after the Friends of De Waal Park insisted!