Even though it’s so close to Sandton, and just down the N1 from Pretoria, Kyalami is a world away from the hustle and bustle of Gauteng.
Green paddocks enclosed by neat white fences are home to peacefully grazing ponies, shiny show jumpers, lovely Lipizzaners, wonderful warmbloods, and even a rescue donkey or two. For Kyalami is horse country. And Saddlebrook Estate is its Secretariat.
Founded in 1998, the estate is moving into its second life cycle. With all the stands sold, and 114 homes developed, the focus of the new board of trustees is on improving infrastructure. The modernisation of the unobtrusive access control system will enhance Saddlebrook’s security to make it one of the safest residential estates in the country. Upgrading the bridle paths, communal areas and jogging tracks will offer residents more space to play and explore, whether it’s on horseback or on their own two feet. The club house, too, is being revamped so homeowners can enjoy socialising in a vibrant contemporary space.
Part of Gekco (the Greater Kyalami Conservancy), the estate is committed to preserving the open space, rural nature and unique flora and fauna of the area. With the large size of residential stands, and a number of undeveloped ridges and wetlands traversing Kyalami, there are sufficient corridors to allow free movement to the surprisingly many indigenous animals that have managed to survive in this peri-urban environment.
The Highveld grassland is such an underrated biome. With a floral biodiversity second only to fynbos, it is home to many interesting, beautiful and useful plants.
And, while it’s not possible to recreate the historical conditions under which large herds of antelope moved across the grasslands, it is possible to preserve enough land to ensure the continued existence of a range of plants, birds, insects and mammals. So estates like Saddlebrook, with large properties and corridors of undeveloped land, can contribute to maintaining the integrity of our sadly neglected Highveld grassland.
With further plans to renovate the main gates, so that they are not only impressive but functional as well, homeowners, residents and visitors can rest easy in the knowledge that they and their assets are protected.
The integration of the natural surroundings, contemporary architectural style and equestrian facilities gives you a definite country feel. The architectural guidelines, overseen by John McKenzie Architecture, give homeowners stylistic freedom without jeopardising the overall look of the estate or the Saddlebrook brand. The ethos of Saddlebrook Estate, says trustee Edwin Roberts, is “courteous, respectful and harmonious living”.
Although you don’t need to own a horse, or even ride, to live in Saddlebrook Estate, you will have to like horses, because you will probably be living next door to one. Starting at one hectare, the residential stands are big enough to include a few four-hoofed family members, so most residents keep their horses “in their backyards”. The estate has extensive bridle paths, and it’s conveniently close to Inanda Country Base, so you don’t even need to box your horse to events. The board of trustees are the driving force behind the evolution of the estate and the continual development of the equestrian facilities.
What makes this idyllic enclave so special is that it is just a short commute to Sandon’s business and shopping hub. The Midrand Gautrain station makes getting to OR Tambo a breeze, and Lanseria is less than half an hour’s drive. And, with some great schools close by, Saddlebrook Estate is a world apart – but so close to everything.