Suburb with a country charm
IT WAS Jan van Riebeeck who first brought vines to the Cape, and it was he and chief gardener Hendrik Boom, who produced the first wine in the Company Gardens, which still provide an urban haven in the centre of present day Cape Town.
According to www.kleinconstantia.com, Constantia owes its position as a world famous wineproducing area to two men — Governor Simon van der Stel, who chose the valley for his own farm in 1685, and Hendrik Cloete, who bought the homestead on a section of the original farm in 1778. By revitalising and developing the estate, he brought international fame to Constantia wines.
Van der Stel was the first to recognise the potential of the Cape as more than just a half-way station to the east. What he desired most was a farm of his own, and when permission was granted in 1685, he immediately ventured off to uncover the most favourable area. Men were put to work, digging up baskets of soil along the length of the southern slopes from Table Bay through to Muizenberg, with each sample sent to the Castle for testing. Eventually satisfied that the decomposed granite soil from the sheltered valley facing False Bay, bound by the sea on both sides, was the most favourable of all, he claimed it and called it Constantia.
It is thought that Van der Stel probably named Constantia after Constantia van Goens, granddaughter of the Dutch East India official who had agreed to grant him the farm, which measured 891 morgen — almost the entire valley. He built a fine house surrounded by gardens and orchards, and by 1709 at least 70 000 vines had been established, many of which were imported from Germany.
Cape Town’s prestigious Southern Suburbs boast some of the country’s most stately grand estates, say Seeff agents Shelley Kruger and Lana Redman. Examples of these can be found around Constantia Main Road such as Huis ten Bosch, which Seeff is currently marketing, which is one of the homes of the historical Cloete family that dates back to 1850 when the land was bought.
These Constantia residences are situated on large stands with mountain views and outbuildings, swimming pools, multiple garaging and grand living spaces are standard features of these properties. While many have been modernised, those that have retained elements of Cape Dutch architecture are particularly appeal- ing to both local and foreign buyers, say the agents. The suburb’s country charm is yet another draw card for these properties.
Constantia is a mature suburb, and home owners tend to hang onto their properties for many years. Lightstone, a property data and statistics provider, ranks it as one of the country’s most exclusive and expensive suburbs, with average house prices ranging between R4m and R9m. More characteristic though, according to the agents, are the stately mansions such as the Huis ten Bosch which are priced in the upper millions.
The residence is situated on land bought in 1850 as part of the bigger Alphen estate by the Cloete family who built it as a home for their mother. The property was sold into public hands about 30 years ago. Today, it is a grand residence set on a stand of 4 687m². Access is via a pan handle driveway from Brommersvlei Road although the original entrance pillars of the property are still visible in Constantia Main Road.
The architecture of Huis ten Bosch is part of a far reaching renaissance of the historic Alphen estate. “While elements of the original home remain, it is modernised with taratso and wooden floors, travertine bathrooms and a modern kitchen with Gaggenau appliances,” they add. A characteristic feature is the large undercover patio with imposing white pillars in the expansive garden with a swimming pool against the backdrop of the mountain. Tall sash windows and French doors, high ceilings and plaster mouldings are some of the Old Cape architectural influences evident throughout.
The spacious home features three bedrooms and bathrooms as well as a separate double-storey cottage with an additional two bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, kitchen and lounge. The property also features three garages, additional parking, staff quarters, a laundry room, a borehole and irrigation system and state-of-the-art security. The current owners utilise some of the living areas as an art gallery and library office. Price: R17,5m Contact: Seeff Properties Shelley Kruger 083 700 9001 Lana Redman 082 396 6822
RARE OPPORTUNITY: This property in Constantia is on sale for R17,5m . Home owners in this suburb tend to hang onto their properties for many years.