Words: Georgina Guedes | Images: Ter Hollmann
Sandown is the residential and commercial heart of Sandton – where professionals and their families work, shop and play – between the Sandton CBD and the affluent suburb of Morningside. Just 20 years ago, the landscape was more “country”, with residents living on large plots of land and keeping horses. Now it’s given over to expansive commercial developments, cluster homes and apartments, and still expanding away from the CBD, the larger homes and gardens that once typified the area.
Cindy-Lee Minnaar, a small-business communications consultant, rents an apartment in Grayston Drive in Sandown with her boyfriend Alex Studdard, an internet security specialist. She previously lived in Killarney, but when her lease ended last year, she wanted to move in with Alex, so they started looking for an apartment together.
Cindy works in Sandton, but her daughter Layyah’s primary school is in Observatory, so she initially started looking closer to that side of the city. After showing them around 20 apartments in six months, their agent suggested a place in Sandown. “I wasn’t convinced,” says Cindy. “I was trying to stay close to Layyah’s school, but the agent said we should just take a look. When we saw the value that we’d get for our money in Sandown, I just accepted that I’d have to deal with some traffic getting her to school in the morning.”
For R10,000 per month, they now rent a three-bedroom, two-bathroom duplex, with a patio and a large lounge in a secure complex. In May last year, they moved in and Cindy says that they couldn’t be happier.
Cindy is considering moving Layyah to a school closer to home, but she wants to make her decision carefully so that her daughter is close to good high schools. “If I’m going to disrupt her like this, I want to do it only once,” she says. “High school will be the determining factor because I want a natural flow from her primary school into that environment.”
She has started considering schools in the area but hasn’t decided on any yet. However, with a number of leading schools close by in just about every direction, she’s spoilt for choice. Grayston Preparatory School and Sandown High School are practically on her doorstep. There’s also the Curro Academy Sandown nearby.
Slightly further afield are Rivonia Primary School, Crawford Sandton, Redhill School, St David’s Marist Inanda and St Peter’s College. A little further away is the renowned St Stithians College.
Cindy and Alex have Sandton City nearby, and they like to visit for shopping and dining. “We really like Walnut Grove,” says Cindy. “It’s a cool, kid-friendly restaurant.” She also seeks out restaurants with childminders and play areas that can keep her daughter occupied. She lists Ri’stretto Morningside as her favourite among these. “They let kids make their own pizzas,” she says.
They also often go to Mushroom Farm Park, a sprawling parkland in the heart of the city, with jungle gyms, a sandpit and even a riverside walking track, where Cindy says she plans to walk for exercise.
When they’re in the mood for something a little more suburban, Cindy and Alex often head to Greenside, but they also enjoy spending time at home. “We entertain a lot, and my family have visited me more often in the last few months that we’ve been here than they’ve visited me in my entire life!”
Cindy says one of the best things about living in Sandown is that she’s close to everything. “My whole family lives on the West Rand, and when I used to travel from that side, I didn’t have any spare time for anything. Now that I live here, I can dash out to the shops, go to a restaurant or even go for a walk in the evening,” she says. “It’s not possible to put a price on the quality of life that we have now.”
I love that my workplace is literally down the road in Rivonia. My quality of life has vastly improved now that I’m not wasting time in traffic. Overall, Sandown is ideally situated for work/life balance, which is so important to me.
Cindy-Lee Minnaar, resident
- Walnut Grove: for child-friendly eating out
- Maximillien: an exclusive whisky, wine and cigar lounge
- The Butcher Shop & Grill: for quality steaks
- Wang Thai: for delicious authentic Asian cuisine
- The Grillhouse Sandton: for ribs, steaks and fi ne wine and malts
- L’opulence: for gourmet tapas
- The Michelangelo Hotel
- Radisson Blu Hotel Sandton
- Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel
- Da Vinci Hotel and Suites
- InterContinental Johannesburg
- Sandton Towers
- Sandton Sun
- Garden Court Sandton City
- The Maslow Hotel
- Hilton Sandton
- Sandton City
- Nelson Mandela Square
- Benmore Gardens Shopping Centre
- Hyde Park Corner
- Atholl Square