Yes, you can escape to a semi-rural suburban residential development and have it all
WORDS: KIM MAXWELL – PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
Urban high-rise living used to be it. Now, the global pendulum is swinging the other way as buyers escape built‑up cities for environments with more country qualities and less bustle. South Africans are following this trend as numerous local professionals and families look for homes that offer a country‑like escape, but where they can still benefit from relative suburban proximity and urban technology.
Modern remote working options means many professional people only have occasional workplace meetings, increasing the potential for homes requiring slightly greater driving distances. Developer Craft Homes has seen a flurry of interest in its Bryanston Highbridge development, with 12 luxury sectional title homes in the Johannesburg estate starting from R3,445m. The freestanding duplex homes have three bedrooms and three bathrooms plus a guest loo, with automated double garages and CCTV security monitoring. Each is fibre‑ready, with a separate scullery and covered patio leading to a private garden, and optional staff quarters and pool.
If looking for a country lifestyle, why here? “Many buyers do quite a bit of research in this higher price point. Feedback indicates that the value they’re getting for the price paid, is hard to find elsewhere,” says Craft Homes marketing manager Jessica Cabanita. “People like the location because it’s close to amenities. With the estate on quieter Coventry Road, it’s more desirable.” Craft Homes offers buyers a turnkey service that includes luxury interior finishes. Construction starts this month and only three homes are still available.
Alternatively, Heron Banks Golf and River Estate occupies 3km on the banks of the Vaal River. Within 45 minutes’ drive of Johannesburg, buyers can escape the city for a more tranquil lifestyle on this golf residential estate. It has a private jetty and 18‑hole course, plus wildlife on the estate. Craft Homes is selling full title stands, and options are available to those planning to build. Waterkloof Marina Retirement Estate in Waterkloof Ridge is fairly central in Pretoria, surrounded by established residential neighbourhoods, and close to highways, hospitals, shopping centres and the Waterkloof Golf Course.
The drawcard on the estate is a 7ha lake, created from a quarry that filled naturally. Walking trails, fishing and bird hides around the water add to the rural feel. “It’s one of the most sought‑after areas in Pretoria. You’re right in the city but it feels like you’re out in the countryside somewhere,” says Alda Erasmus, head of communication, Central Developments Property Group. “It offers residents that country feel without having to drive a couple of hours.”Waterkloof is an estate for residents over 50. “Many Waterkloof Marina residents work in Pretoria. We also have semi-retired or retired university lecturers and professors, doctors and diplomats. Some are downscaling once their kids have left home.” Located close to the R21 and N1 interchange makes it super convenient.
“We also see farmers from further afield selling up and coming to retire here because the estate is surrounded by some of the best hospitals in Gauteng, and their kids and grandkids are in the city, yet they don’t want that city feeling,” says Erasmus. Waterkloof apartments start from only R1,248m and homes are priced from R3,85m. Luxury houses and apartments overlooking the beautiful lake are still available – all with full ownership within the sectional title scheme.
The Heron Banks Golf and River Estate on the banks of the Vaal River
Erasmus says these properties make popular buy‑to‑let investments with good yields because limited supply and a beautiful setting mean there’s extremely high rental demand. Rentals start at R6,950 per month. Aside from frail- and dementia‑care facilities on site near the apartments, the estate has a library, doctors’ and physiotherapy rooms, salon and an indoor pool and gym. A restaurant and coffee shop overlook the estate’s waterfront.
In Cape Town’s northern suburbs, Clara Anna Fontein’s 128ha of peace, security and natural beauty is set in gentle rolling hills above Durbanville. “Surrounded by farmland and wine farms, its tranquil setting belies the fact that the bustling Durbanville CBD is a few minutes’ drive away,” says Rabie Property Group director Mariska Auret. “The area surrounding the estate is a dream for trail runners and mountain bikers. Meerendal farm is just up the road and wine farms on the Vissershok Road include Nitida, Signal Gun and Durbanville Hills.”
Auret says Clara Anna Fontein has transformed into a sought‑after multi‑generational security and lifestyle estate. “It comprises three types of homes – townhouses at The Village, plot‑and‑plan erven, and Oasis Life retirement village. Currently, 260 families live on the estate, supported by a Reddam campus.”
The Oasis Life Clara Anna Fontein lifestyle attracts both retirees from the Western Cape and semigrants from other parts of SA. The completed retirement estate will have 125 freestanding houses, with 58 houses scheduled for completion this month as the first phase. They start at R2,35m for a one-bedroom home with a garage. KwaZulu-Natal’s (KZN) year‑round subtropical climate and vegetation offers a different type of outdoor appeal for those wishing to exit the concrete jungle. Izinga Eco Estate in Umhlanga will have an eco‑park of walking and cycling trails running throughout the development, its location only minutes away from Umhlanga main beach.
Construction on the estate started last month. The first phase of this Balwin Properties development will be ready for occupation by August. One-, two- and three‑bedroom sectional title apartments in low‑rise buildings are aircon- and Wi‑Fi‑ready. Undercover parking bays, lockable storerooms, built-in balcony braai’s and eco-friendly Smeg appliances are features. Izinga offers future residents flexibility in its planned lifestyle centre that will include a meeting or conference room, and cinema room – remote working and leisure nicely covered. A 132,9m2 Izinga apartment with three bedrooms and two bathrooms is priced from R2,65m.
“Post Covid-19 hard lockdown we’ve seen a surge of buyers in the Kommetjie area. People wanting space for workshops and artists’ studios,” says Pam Golding Properties Western Cape area manager Shelly Keys. Secure lifestyle estates in the suburb are attracting buyer interest. Klein Slangkop Private Estate offers direct access to Long Beach, with modern and Cape Cod‑style homes priced from R6m, or eco‑estate plots priced from R3m. Imhoff’s Gift is another secure estate located 1,6km from Long Beach. Houses are priced from R2,8 to R6m. Keys says Kommetjie is renowned for its quaint, village feel and close-knit community.