WORDS: BETSIE LOOCK-VAN DER MERWE IMAGES: RENE WALKER & GOOGLE MAPS
Nestling against the picturesque northern slopes of the Magaliesberg mountain range between the N1 and the R101 in Pretoria northeast, is a group of suburbs collectively referred to as the Zambesi area. This is due to the well-known Zambesi Drive (recently renamed to Sefako Makgatho) running through these suburbs and connecting them to major roads and highways in the region.
The Zambesi-area includes the suburbs of Montana, Montana Park, Montana Gardens, Magalieskruin, Sinoville, Annlin and Wonderboom. It’s a well-established, self-sustained area with many tree-lined streets, green parks, an enjoyable mild climate and countryside feel offering a less-hurried lifestyle on the outskirts of a big city.
This region attracts a diverse population and residents from a wide spectrum of income groups. The so-called “Magalies belt” offers a mecca of real estate to buy or rent – from compact but neat entry-level apartments to grandiose architectural masterpieces.
The area is home to the renowned huge fig tree of 1,000+ years old, called “The Wonderboom”.
All these suburbs are conveniently located a few minutes’ drive from Wonderboom Airport, on municipal bus routes, close to Pretoria city centre and the N1 and N4 highways.
The neighbourhood boasts the whole spectrum of medical service providers, including a reputable hospital and a municipal clinic.
There are multiple church denominations, professional services, emergency services and the Sinoville police station. It’s a friendly, community-oriented environment with active community policing forums and residents’ associations.
Summing up, one can buy residential property in the Magalies belt from around R550,000 to approximately R8m, even more at the top end of the market.
Sinoville, Annlin and Wonderboom are the western suburbs bordering on Lavender Road (R101). They’re also the oldest neighbourhoods in this area with an abundance of greenery and wooded gardens. This trio offers excellent valuefor-money, sizable, mostly traditional homes, townhouses and flats.
Montana lies directly north of Sefako Makgatho Drive with Sinoville stretching almost up to the N1 in the west. Montana is home to many shopping centres and businesses, Netcare Montana Hospital, Hoërskool Montana, several lodges, retirement villages and lifestyle estates. A significant number of smallholdings contribute to a lovely rural ambiance. It also offers a variety of modern properties and many new developments are still taking place.
One of the recent sought-after developments in this area is the upmarket Zambezi Country Estate. Across the road against the slopes of the mountain, the suburbs of Magalieskruin and Montana Park offers beautiful vistas over the landscape. Properties here are more exclusive and top-end real estate in these suburbs lean towards higher-income buyers.
Rental properties are just as popular in this region, while vacant land is also in demand and some commercial properties are available for sale.
Wonderboom Laerskool dates to the post-war (WWII) era. It opened its doors as a parallel-medium school with 45 learners on 15 January 1946 in the vicinity of Wonderboom Airport. The school has since relocated to premises in the Wonderboom-neighbourhood and honours a proud history of excellence in primary school education.
The English-medium Northridge Primary School was established in Sinoville in 1976. The 70s also saw the founding of Laerskool Stephanus Roos in Sinoville and Laerskool Magalieskruin. Although situated on the southern side of the mountain, Hoërskool Wonderboom founded in 1950, was the first high school to serve learners from the suburbs on the northern side. Hoërskool Overkruin opened in 1974 in Sinoville and in 1981 Hoërskool Montana was established in Montana. The latest addition to public high schools is Montana Poort Secondary School.
The area offers a myriad of recreational and leisure activities to its up-and-about residents. Sport clubs include, among others, tennis, bowling, cricket, kickboxing, skydiving, swimming and several modern fitness centres.
Indoor entertainment venues like movie theatres, games arcade and bumper cars are presented at the Kolonnade Shopping Centre, while the area boasts many coffee shops, restaurants, sports pubs, etc. – most of which offer kids’ play areas.
Family can stroll around at regular “old fashioned” church bazaars, some lovely weekend markets as well as Montana Family Market.
Nature enthusiasts will enjoy the Wonderboom Nature Reserve, Roodeplaat Dam, Dinokeng Game Reserve, Tswaing Crater and many more.
“We have been residents of the area for 35 years. It’s a beautiful clean environment, we enjoy a lovely climate and everything we need is in the area. Nowadays, there’s no need to travel outside of the neighbourhood for any services.” MARIETJIE GREYLING, RESIDENT
- Crawdaddy’s Montana – delicious seafood, meat dishes, pizza & pasta
- Arrow Ridge Spur Steak Ranch – family-oriented grill house
- Kota Joes – roadhouse style
- Eat in Italian – great vibe, delicious food and good wine
- Burger Bistro – divine gourmet burgers
- Bo Heimia Guest House, well-located, family-friendly
- Casa Kaya Guest House & Spa, 5-star guest house and spa
- Coral Tree Guest House, 4-star B&B
- Montana Boutique Guest House, 4-star upmarket stay
- Prinshof Manor, highly rated, 3-star accommodation
- Zambesi Junction – upmarket shopping village just off the N1
- Kolonnade – comprehensive shopping and entertainment hub
- Kolonnade Retail Park – the focus is on lifestyle
- Montana Corner – local convenience
- Wonderboom Junction – good variety of national and local retailers and restaurants