WORDS: KIT HEATHCOCK IMAGES: SUPPLIED & SHUTTERSTOCK
South Africa has some of the most varied and scenic golf estates in the world with world-class golf courses designed by some of the biggest names in international golf.
The consistent demand for secure gated estates and the luxury lifestyle afforded by them continues to be good news for golf estates but, as a recent New York Times article pointed out, long-term investors are looking at more than just the golf facilities when they buy into an estate, important as those are.
The best investments are those that have a wider appeal and a wider pool of buyers when it comes to selling again – estates that have lifestyle aspects attractive to non-golfers either within the estate itself or in the adjacent community. So nearby schools, healthcare facilities, and other leisure activities on the estate strengthen the investment value. Besides, of course, the attraction of living within one of these exceptional lifestyle enclaves.
A beautiful sub-tropical coastal estate within a nature reserve behind 3km of unspoilt beach, homes set among coastal forest and a high level of resort facilities, Zimbali on the KZN Dolphin Coast is an idyllic spot both for year-round residents and holiday visitors.
Architectural vernacular and management style are designed to fit in with nature and there’s an abundance of fauna and flora within the estate.
The Tom Weiskopf signature 18-hole course sympathetically embraces abundant natural features from indigenous forest and vegetation to wetlands and pools, and is only the start of the amenities, which include two hotels, restaurants, spa, gym, the Valley of the Pools swimming complex, kids holiday programmes, tennis, squash and nature trails.
Within walking or golf-cart distance of Ballito, there are various respected schools and healthcare facilities in easy driving distance and it’s 18km from King Shaka International Airport.
Further north up the coast is Prince’s Grant, an exclusive golf estate with 2km private beach access, and the ultimate tranquil getaway, where the majority of owners have bought as second homes. The 18-hole Peter Matkovich designed course forms the heart of the estate, with luxury lodges in a nostalgic colonial architectural style, restaurants, swimming pools, tennis, squash and kids entertainment catering to the holiday vibe in peak season. An airport shuttle connects with King Shaka airport 53km away and it’s just over an hour’s drive to Durban.
Retaining the country feel that once was a hallmark of Hillcrest, the 220ha Cotswold Downs Golf and Lifestyle Estate evokes the UK Cotswolds landscape of villages with low density building of homes in stone and slate roofs in between indigenous grassland, forests, lakes and wetlands rich in wildlife. The championship golf course is designed by Peter Matkovich and recognised as one of the best in the region. The new leisure centre provides a fitness centre, squash and tennis as well as restaurant and bar, offering an enviable country lifestyle close to the schools and conveniences of Hillcrest and Durban.
Eye of Africa
A pioneering residential golf and lifestyle estate in southern Joburg, Eye of Africa adopted a conservation approach setting aside 350ha of untouched Highveld grassland. It’s home to the first Greg Norman golf course design in SA and a wide variety of community amenities from parks and play areas to hiking trails, restaurants, tennis courts and swimming pools. Its residential offerings span from freehold stands to apartments and cluster homes designed as smaller neighbourhoods within the estate. This area south of Joburg is developing rapidly with the new Mall of Africa and a number of schools opening, but it still feels like country living.
Silver Lakes Golf and Wildlife Estate
Wildlife, water features and fishing are just some of the attractions of Silver Lakes on the east fringes of Pretoria. One of the first estates of its kind in Pretoria, it’s a mature estate on 300ha with a Peter Matkovich designed golf course that has been awarded both for the design and eco-friendly credentials. The golf club includes a golf academy, putting and chipping greens and a driving range. Other facilities on the estate include tennis, squash, swimming pool, fishing dams fished on a catch-and-release basis, and nature trails through the game reserve where duiker and other small game roam and prolific bird life is to be seen.
With a small retirement village, the estate offers a secure and idyllic lifestyle for all ages, young families appreciating the nearby schools, from a Curro to the well-regarded Tshwane public schools, plus shopping and healthcare facilities within easy driving distance.
Pearl Valley at Val de Vie
Pearl Valley is an exclusive golf estate within the wider Val de Vie lifestyle estate, which was rated by New World Wealth as the top residential estate in SA from 2015 to 2019 and encompasses world-class equestrian and polo facilities as well as golf. The Pearl Valley Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course is consistently rated among the top five in SA. Jack Nicklaus himself said of it, “Surrounded by mountains, this is one of the most spectacular settings in which I’ve designed a golf course.”
Close to the golf course and recently launched is The Acres, which features several 1ha gentlemen’s estates as well as one-acre and 700m2 stands, for those looking for expansive country living alongside the convenience of luxury lifestyle offerings such as the spa, hotel and restaurants on the estate. Close to Paarl and within easy distance of Stellenbosch, there’s an excellent choice of schools, including Bridge House, making it a lifestyle choice for families wanting secure country living with all the conveniences at hand.
St Francis Links
A residential golf estate on 450ha of natural dunes just outside St Francis Bay, St Francis Links enjoys views over the Indian Ocean and a backdrop of mountains to the north. The gated community is designed on a Natal farmhouse architectural theme with plenty of privacy and quiet for homeowners.
The Jack Nicklaus Signature Links course is perennially rated among South Africa’s Top 10. Gary Player, on a recent visit, said it was the best balance of residential and golf course positioning he had ever seen. With a fine clubhouse, hotel, leisure centre with gym and covered pool, it has become a popular holiday destination, both for golfers and non-golfers enjoying the beach, surf, river and nature on offer on this beautiful stretch of the Eastern Cape coast.
While the area has a laid-back holiday vibe year-round there are enough schools and healthcare facilities between St Francis Bay and nearby Jeffrey’s Bay for full-time family living, with Port Elizabeth just over an hour away for tertiary education and city convenience.