A small piece of paradise
Visiting the famous Midlands Meander is one thing, living in this little piece of green paradise is another. Lea Jacobs takes a look at a gentleman’s estate in the heart of this beautiful region
THE Midlands of KwaZuluNatal stretch from just outside Pietermaritzburg to the foot of the Drakensburg mountain range. Wellknown for its popular meander, the area has seen a growth in residential development in recent years.
Those looking to live in the country are drawn by the beautiful scenery and laid-back lifestyle the region enjoys. The popularity of the area has put towns like Howick, Balgowan and Nottingham Road firmly on the map and the fact that the region hosts some of the best schools in the country has added to the overall allure. Michaelhouse and Hilton College have educated some of the finest minds and developed some of SA’s top sportsmen and are firmly entrenched on the well-known meander route, attracting a large number of visitors every year.
The Midlands Meander was established by a number of local artists, potters and weavers in 1985 to highlight the wealth of arts and crafts available in the area. Initially six studios were opened, but this figure soon grew and today the area boasts over 160 places where visitors can eat, sleep and shop, as well as offering a diverse mix of art and craft facilities. The area has drawn a wide variety of people who want to showcase their talents and woodcrafters, leather workers, cheese makers, beer brewers and herb growers, to name a few, call the Midlands home.
Howick, which is situated about 90km from Durban, has become a bit of a tourist hot spot and offers shoppers a wide choice of craft and antique shops. Famed for its waterfall, the Mgeni River makes a specular display as it cascades 90m over the Howick Falls. Situated in the centre of the town, the falls offer a magnificent backdrop to this quaint town.
Named KwaNogqaza (Place of the Tall One) by the local Zulu inhabitants, the falls were first dis- covered by European travellers in the early 19th century. An English missionary, James Archbell, originally farmed the area. However, it wasn’t long before the government realised that the site was on a busy horse-drawn traffic route and established a town there.
The town has grown enormously over the past few years. As a popular retiree destination, Knowledge Factories statistics indicate that 44 freehold sales have taken place over the past 12 months. The highest price paid for a full title property was R1,1m. Sectional title sales performed equally well, with the stats indicating that 48 units were sold during the period. The highest price achieved was R1,4m. However, the predominant price band, was between R650 000 and R800 000.
The town has a modern private hospital and a medical centre with doctors, specialists and nursing facilities. For those seeking an active outdoor lifestyle there are a host of leisure activities within easy reach including trout fishing, birdwatching, horse riding, hiking and mountain biking through nearby forests. There are two golf courses nearby; namely Howick Golf Club and Sakabula, as well as a central sports club. Boating and fishing enthusiasts can take full advantage of Midmar Dam, virtually on their doorstep.
The Midlands is renowned for large properties, farms and gentlemen’s estates and Wakefields are marketing a large estate near Howick.
Hidden from view and situated on the Curry Post road about 15 minutes from the town, overlooking the Boschhoek valley, lies a magnificent 20ha estate.
Visitors are impressed from the moment they enter the beautifully designed wrought iron gate that has been designed by a Swiss craftsman. The road along the tree-lined avenue runs past the stables and vast manicured lawns which lead to the African-styled thatched homestead.
The main house has four ensuite bedrooms, three lounges and dining room and a modern kitchen. Other features include wooden floors and stone tiles imported from France, high ceilings, slate floors as well as large French windows that open out onto a covered verandah and garden.
In addition, the property has a 1,5ha man-made lake, a tennis court, workshop and a three-bedroom manager’s house, a separate two-bedroom cottage and an entertainment pad that, along with the main house, overlooks a heated infinity pool that flows into a smaller pool below.
There are also five stables, a tackle room and exercise paddocks close to the entrance of the estate.
“The view from this mountain top property looking over the Midlands to the ’Berg is spectacular,” says Keith Wakefield, CEO of Wakefields Real Estate. “It goes without saying that hectares of natural indigenous bush are home to hundreds of bird species, as well as small buck and other animals.”
A thatch hide takes advantage of the magnificent views. One of the features of this state-of-the-art lapa is the electronic windows that can be lowered to waist height on fine days or closed when the weather turns. Price: R24m Contact: Wakefields Real Estate Chris Forde 083 441 9828 Richard Patrick 072 380 4696 Office: 033 330 6004