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Bo Kaap, Cape Town, 8001

Jaime-Lee Gardner
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Louise Martin
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Eastern Cape residential estates: wild and wonderful

By Martin Hatchuel

, |

Eastern Cape residential estates: wild and wonderful

By Martin Hatchuel

, |

The Eastern Cape is a friendly and endlessly fascinating province – especially if you’re a fan of wild places – and its residential estates reflect its amazing diversity. There’s literally something here for everyone.

The Eastern Cape? Why would anyone invest there?

Well, for one thing, it’s probably South Africa’s friendliest province (isn’t its largest metropole, Port Elizabeth, generally known as the Friendly City?), and for another, it’s one of the most geographically diverse, with everything from warm, subtropical beaches to skiable mountain slopes, and from the high, cold trout streams of the Southern Drakensberg to the open plains of the dry Karoo hinterland.

It’s a wildlife province, too, with South Africa’s third largest national park – Addo (where more than 500 elephants roam free) – as well as the Mountain Zebra and Camdeboo national parks, and the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park, plus numerous provincial and private reserves.

So with all of these abundant riches – and with a slew of attractive and potentially lucrative investment opportunities in residential estates – perhaps the question should rather be, ‘why wouldn’t you invest in the Eastern Cape?’

Here’s our selection of just some of the estates worth investigating.

Katberg Eco Golf Estate

If you’re into mountains, and you’re into golf, this is the estate for you. Set on 400 hectares high in the Winterberg, and boasting a classic, country-style 18-hole championship course (6,300m, par 72, with four par 3s and four par 5s) that ranks in the country’s top 100, Katberg is attractive, secure and family-friendly. Facilities include the Katberg Mountain Spa, a clubhouse with restaurant and bar, an equestrian centre, and various other sports facilities – and there’s fantastic trout fishing in nearby Thrift Dam on the Winterberg Plateau.

The estate’s luxury villas overlook the golf course, and are available for outright purchase, or via fractional ownership. Two-bedroom homes sell from R1.6 million, while three-bedroom units begin at R1.8 million. Katberg is situated about 250km from Port Elizabeth, and 180km from East London.


Sardinia Bay Golf and Wildlife Estate

This rural estate on the outskirts of PE was once a dairy farm, but it’s now become a tranquil sanctuary for people and wildlife alike. The 100-hectare property is situated three minutes’ drive from the closest beach, and boasts a nine-hole, links-style golf course, several scenic walks, a clubhouse and restaurant (in the restored farmhouse), and an ultramodern residents’ recreation centre with tennis court and swimming pool.

Game on the estate includes blesbok, bushbuck, eland, springbok, zebra and wildebeest, and a number of dams and wetland areas provide excellent birding. Home owners are encouraged to create ‘bird-friendly gardens, while keeping within estate rules, to promote their nature-centric lifestyles.’

Plots average 1,000 square metres, and are priced from R850,000 to R1,050,000. Buyers are required to complete their homes within three years of purchase, and all-inclusive build packages are available.


Fourleaf Estate

Fourleaf, which may well be the largest affordable security and managed residential estate in Port Elizabeth, is built around four themed landscaped parks. The estate’s sense of community relies heavily on its green credentials – with shared veggie gardens, a shared initiative to restore the neighbouring Parson’s Vlei wetland, and a number of active recycling initiatives with which all residents and visitors are expected to comply. This commitment to going green extends to the designs of the houses, too: they’re energy-efficient (solar geysers come standard), and comfortable to live in throughout the year.

Homes on the estate are designed to appeal to first-time buyers and people with limited budgets, have been designed with an eye to future expansion, and feature ‘the quality of finishes you would not usually find in this price range’. Freestanding properties range from 300 to 400 square metres, with 47-square-metre homes coming in at around R699,000, and 90-square-metre homes at R990,000, with no additional transfer or legal costs.


Hopewell Conservation Estate

This 3,100-hectare urban nature reserve is situated less than half an hour from the centre of Port Elizabeth, and is ‘at the heart of what conservation icon Dr Ian Player identified as the “new wilderness frontier”.’ Peaceful and tranquil, it’s home to numerous herds of plains animals (Cape mountain zebra, giraffe) and more than 150 species of birds. It operates both as a residential estate and a tourism destination with five luxury tents in its Nyosi Camp, and the luxurious Turaco Villa, operated by the Mantis Owners Collection. Activities for residents and guests include horseback safaris, guided activities, trail running and mountain biking, while the Vineyard Clubhouse – the social centre of the estate – is surrounded by terraced lawns (ideal for picnicking) and vineyards (ideal for a romantic stroll), and boasts an 18-metre pool with a separate kiddies’ section.

The estate’s 41 contemporary homes are designed for minimum environmental impact, and to complement the natural landscape in such a way as to surround their owners with wilderness. Plots are available from R950,000 and houses from R4.6 million. Plans for the future include a retirement facility complete with frail care and assisted living units.


Coral Beach Estate

This 30-hectare beachside development is situated on a hilltop that enjoys spectacular views of the warm Indian Ocean just 10 minutes from the centre of East London, and 15 minutes from the airport. Designed to take maximum advantage of the region’s moderate climate, wide golden beaches, and verdant coastal forests (it borders the Cove Rock Nature Reserve), Coral Beach offers a secure family environment, and quick access to all the sports activities the family could need, with special emphasis on the water, of course – swimming, scuba diving, surfing, kayaking – but also trail running, walking and more.

Properties are sold freehold, and include contemporary, Balinese-style, three- or four-bedroom Ocean Homes, and single-storey, seaside Forest Homes – all priced from R1,795,000. The Ocean Villas have spectacular sea views and plots from 875 square metres to 1,395 square metres, with prices starting at R695,000 for plots, and houses from R3.5 million. Plans for the future include 69 lock-up-and-go, three-bedroom terraces in an exclusive sectional title facility on the beachfront. These units will come onto the market from R1.96 million.


Balugha River Estate

With direct access for residents to the Bulura River and Glengariff Beach, this environmentally conscious, secure residential family estate offers ‘picturesque views, secluded living and tranquil surrounds’ about 20km from East London. Given its position close to the ocean, the estate has its own, independent water supply and on-site water filtration plant, and an award-winning waste treatment and removal plant, which means no honeysuckers (something for which this section of the coast was previously notorious).

The development offers a selection of country-view plots from R555,000 to R655,000, and exclusive riverside plots from R1.31 million – all sold with a three-year building moratorium. Five different house types are available: from R1,915,000 for a four-bedroom, two-bathroom, 195-square-metre building, to R3,420,000 for a sizeable 367-square-metre double-storey unit with five en-suite bedrooms. Since the developers specialise in both design and construction, all homes can be customised to buyers’ requirements.


Olivewood Private Estate & Golf Club (Chintsa River, East London)

With more than 40% of the property to remain undeveloped, Olivewood was designed from the start to harmonise with the natural environment, and to preserve the ambience of this part of the Eastern Cape coast. This 1,000-hectare, family-friendly, secure estate on the banks of the Chintsa River, 30 minutes northeast of East London, includes residential erven, a championship 18-hole parklands-style golf course, and restaurants and venues for weddings and functions.

Wild game – blesbok, impala, nyala, water buck, warthog – roam freely, and an indigenous nursery and on-site landscaping service are available to supply appropriate vegetation for residents’ gardens. Facilities include running and cycling paths, fishing dams, and direct access to the Chintsa River, which winds through the estate, and to a safe swimming beach.

Vacant stands start at around R615,000, and go up to around R1.1 million. Architectural guidelines ensure homogeneous style throughout the estate, while still allowing buyers to work with their own architects and builders. Planned amenities include tennis and squash courts, a gymnasium, a lap pool, a bowling green, a business centre, and a mature living facility.

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