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Living the Country Life – Close to the City

By Helen Grange

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While many people choose to live in lifestyle estates for the serene surroundings and country feel, they still need to be close to the city – to work, shop, access professional services, or frequently travel to and from the airport. This is particularly true for young working professionals and parents of schoolgoing kids who have to add a soccer-mom-taxi element to an already hectic commute schedule.

That’s why estates on the edge of the city, or within easy access of a main artery road into town, have a distinct advantage. And those with well-priced apartment options are finding a keen market, including with investors wanting good returns. Here is our pick of these sought-after estates, in three provinces.

GAUTENG

Serengeti Lifestyle Estate, in Kempton Park, is situated just off the R21 freeway between Johannesburg and Pretoria, and 10 minutes’ drive from OR Tambo airport. Yet you feel thoroughly immersed in the countryside here.

The estate is set in 300 hectares of conservation area, and features a Jack Nicklaus golf course. Some of the facilities include a gym and a 180-seater restaurant. The starting price for a vacant plot on the estate is R950,000, while a five- bedroom house can go for as much as R19 million.

Its apartment offering, Whistling Thorns, was launched in 2017, and by December 2018, the first 90 of 108 units took transfer. The completed scheme will be handed over by the end of March 2019. Every apartment boasts uninterrupted north-facing views that look out onto the rolling hills of the golf course, which is dotted with lakes.

Eye of Africa is set in the rolling hills south of Johannesburg, sandwiched between Alberton and Grasmere. Designed with ecological considerations in mind, this estate has proven very attractive to city workers with young families. It has a children’s play area, hiking and biking trails, clubhouse and restaurant.

Its apartment option, which is called The Village, comprises 12 apartment blocks with eight apartments in each block. Prices range from R800,000 for a vacant plot to R17 million for a six-bedroom house. Apartments start at R1.3 million, so it’s an inviting option for first-time purchasers.

Meyersdal Eco Estate is in an upmarket area in the south of Johannesburg, on the border of Glenvista, Bassonia, Oakdene and Alberton.

The idea behind Meyersdal Eco Estate is to live in harmony with nature. This is achieved through the careful design of the houses, creative landscaping, energy efficiency and general attention to conservation guidelines. Large parts of the estate have been left untouched to protect the local plants and wildlife. There are also areas for walking, biking and relaxing. Prices range from R1.3 million for a two-bedroom flat to R39 million for a six-bedroom house.

WESTERN CAPE

Lake Michelle is situated in the heart of the Noordhoek valley, backing onto the Table Mountain National Park. The 90-hectare estate features a 22-hectare lake in which you can swim, fish, sail and paddle. Extensive wooden walkways criss-cross reed beds and ponds.

The estate was built in two distinct phases, the first being about 20 years old. The two phases are on opposite sides of the lake, and waterside residents may build their own jetties at the bottom of the garden. There are also common jetties at the end of every road, and in a few other places, so that all residents have access to the lake for leisure activities. All this beauty is only 40 minutes from the Cape Town CBD.

Noordhoek beach is close to the estate, and there are some good schools and restaurants in the area. And just a couple of kilometres away are two shopping centres, a Virgin Active gym, doctors’ rooms and other medical facilities. Noordhoek has a lovely old-school rural charm with its horses and wide- open spaces.

Spanish Farm Estate is set amid the farms and smallholdings of picturesque Somerset West, but is only a 30-minute drive from Cape Town International Airport and about 45 minutes to the CBD. It is also close to Gordon’s Bay and Strand beaches, as well as some top schools, medical facilities, high-end shops, spas, award-winning eateries and wine farms.

Spanish Farm offers discerning buyers some superb property choices. Olive Edge is one of Spanish Farm’s most prestigious developments, where home owners can design and build bespoke residences with views of False Bay, Table Mountain and Cape Town. Homes at Spanish Farm start at around R5 million and climb to around R25 million.

Benguela Cove Lagoon Wine Estate is a 200-hectare estate close to Hermanus, only one hour’s drive from Cape Town International Airport. It is a working wine farm, on the edge of the Bot River Lagoon, which teems with fish and birdlife.

Benguela Cove is the lowest-density residential estate in the country, with only 124 plots that will, over time, be developed into luxury waterside and vineyard homes. The plots are set in a protected nature reserve, with gorgeous view and access to the lagoon.

KWAZULU-NATAL

Lazuli Lifestyle & Retirement Estate is a new estate, perfectly located in Ballito on the KZN North Coast next to Zimbali Estate. It consists of three developments – Sentinel Hill Villas (from R3.9 million), Fig Tree Villas (from R4.9 million) and Sentinel Hill Apartments (from R1.5 million). It was launched in December 2018, with occupation set for late this year. Owners will enjoy panoramic views of the ocean, wetlands, indigenous forest and/or Zimbali golf course.

This pet-friendly estate is designed around health and wellness, offering a comprehensive range of facilities at its Lazuli Wellness Centre. It has a private clubhouse and a business centre, and active residents have a gym with a steam room and sauna, and outdoor heated pool.

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