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“Sustainability is becoming more of an issue – rising costs of utilities, inconsistent service delivery and climate change are making people aware of the need for a water and energy-efficient home and for self-sufficiency in terms of solar, boreholes and grey water. Often these are easier to provide in new developments – and many of the new estates are focussing on that – and not just at the top end.” DR ANDREW GOLDING, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, PAM GOLDING PROPERTY GROUP

The dream of escaping the city, living close to nature but still having security and convenient infrastructure is at the heart of the huge growth in popularity of the new generation of secure estates. Whether they’re on the urban edge or deep in the bush, lifestyle is the primary attraction.

“Today, homebuyers are increasingly focussed on living in a secure environment while having easy access to amenities and outdoor and sporting activities,” says Dr Andrew Golding, CEO, Pam Golding Property. “Wellness, equestrianism, fishing, walking, and other sporting pursuits are all used to differentiate the product offering from one estate to another. The fact that more and more estates are including a wider range of accommodation – sectional title and retirement villages – suggests that demand is across the board, not just from the high-end buyer.”

The types of estates on off er can be bewildering – game estates, eco-estates, country living and golf estates, and often the distinctions are blurred with many embracing elements of each.

Game estates

The term game estate usually refers to fully-fledged private game reserves that earmark a section of securely fenced wilderness for residential or holiday home development.

Gondwana Private Residences inland from Mossel Bay offers freehold ownership of a safari home in five separately fenced residential camps deep within the 11,000ha Big Five reserve. Forty minutes from George airport these luxury homes can be a primary residence or holiday home.

At Mjejane Lifestyle, part of the Greater Kruger, freehold ownership of stands within a Big Five game reserve is also an attainable dream. Private game reserves in the Waterberg where you can own a piece of the safari bush lifestyle include Mabula Game Reserve and Welgevonden Game Reserve. With full and fractional ownership options, these are more often weekend and holiday homes.


Often also termed wildlife estates, eco-estates make conserving nature a priority. They might be close to a city or deep in the bush and generally offer large plot sizes, low housing density, indigenous landscaping or unspoilt bush, and a large section reserved for wildlife conservation. Due to the conservation goals there are usually restrictions on domestic pets.

“Buyers investing in wildlife estates in Mbombela (Nelspruit) are usually family buyers who reside in their homes themselves rather than buying for investment purposes,” says Carien Brink, Seeff, citing The Rest Nature Estate just outside Mbombela as one of the top performers in the area. Birdwatching, indigenous trees and plants, small game, dams, cycling and running trails are the appeal, with an extra drawcard for families being a Curro school within the estate. “Good pricing, excellent security features, quality finishes, a secure investment, and a relaxed lifestyle all within reasonable proximity to activities and amenities, play a big role when purchasing property in an eco-estate,” adds Carien.

In Hoedspruit the Southern Cross environmental school is a factor in families moving to nearby ecoestates such as Raptors View, Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate and Zandspruit Bush and Aero estate – which has its own runway.

Near Pietermaritzburg, a new ecoestate development, Intaba Ridge, markets itself to families with a similar lifestyle appeal, close enough to the city’s excellent schools, with wildlife and open views of grassland and bushveld.

Country estates

Country estates are often on the urban edge or within commuting distance of the city, offering a secure green village community and catering to a live-work-play lifestyle.

“Lifestyle estates are one of the fastest growing property trends that we’re seeing in SA,” says Samuel Seeff, chairman, Seeff Property Group. “Living in a secure estate where you can enjoy space and a quality lifestyle brings peace of mind, and buyers are prepared to pay a premium of 20% to 40% for a luxury home in a country lifestyle estate. Capital growth tends to outstrip that of other freehold property in an area and these properties are regarded as excellent investments.”

In the Winelands outside Cape Town, Val de Vie provides the complete luxury lifestyle, with golf course, polo and equestrian facilities, fynbos reserve, spa and restaurants, and office facilities, as well as residential. Its latest development, The Reserve, comprises 1ha stands with irrigation, allowing buyers a boutique farm lifestyle growing vegetables, olives, citrus or paddocks for horses.

Blair Atholl near Lanseria outside Joburg, offers a luxury country lifestyle with excellent golf and equestrian facilities, as well as extensive nature parks with trails and small game, mountain biking, and fishing in the Crocodile River that runs through the estate “Secure estates are a property type that has historically been restricted to the major cities, but the desire and intent to reside in such secure environments has shown strong growth in smaller towns,” says Christine McGrath, Seeff, Mokopane. She cites Thorny Bush Estate outside Mokopane, which offers golf and free-roaming wildlife, and which is adjacent to a 300ha wildlife reserve to which residents have access for walking, mountain biking and fishing on the dam. Christine concludes, “Owners describe it as living on an upmarket holiday estate, but full time.”


  • Western Cape • Le Parc: park-like surrounds, recreational facilities for the whole family • Groot Parys: country retirement lifestyle for over-49s
  • Pretoria • Silver Lakes Golf & Game Estate: rolling hills and equestrian facilities • The Hills Estate: game reserve section, private school and nature walks • Willow Acres Estate: walkways, tennis courts, clubhouse and kids play areas • Clearwater Fly Fishing Estate: large green parks, kids play areas and fly-fishing dams. • Woodhill Golf Estate: golf and a country club
  • Gauteng • Eagle Canyon Estate: golf, parkland, wetlands, dams and birdlife • Saddlebrook Estate: equestrian, bridal paths and natural wetlands • Fourways Gardens Estate: parks, dams, walkways adjacent to nature reserve • Irene Farm Villages: parkland, conservation areas and views • Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate: golf, leisure, and the best in lifestyle
  • Durban • Simbithi Eco Estate: golf course, community centres and a family-oriented restaurant