A mix of new and old living
LOCATED at the centre of the Cape Peninsula, only minutes from the centre of town, Constantia Valley is Cape Town’s secret rural retreat. Until the 1960s, Constantia was largely horse and wine country, interspersed by large, elegant homesteads. About 40 years ago, certain farms in lower Constantia were subdivided. Subdivision in the Bel Ombre area also started 40 years ago, and about 16 years ago development started in the Silverhurst Estate.
Today Silverhurst Estate is one of the most sought-after security estates in the Cape. The newest wave of development began about five years ago.
The Cape Winelands cultural landscape was one of the nine candidates for World Heritage Site status submitted to UNESCO by SA. As part of the Cape Winelands, the Constantia Valley provides an exceptional example of cultural and agricultural development as influenced by historical events and the impact of settlers and explorers from Africa, Asia and the East Indies, Europe and the Americas.
Unlike other suburbs in the Peninsula, there was no large scale urban development in the Constantia Valley during the Victorian and Edwardian period, however there are a handful of Victorian and Edwardian buildings of historical interest.
One of these is Morningside Manor in Tokai. Originally designed by Sir Herbert Baker, circa 1903, it was restored in 1923 by the architect Thain Forsyth following a devastating fire. In 1965 the estate was subdivided into plots ranging in size from 1 000m² to 1 500m², ultimately giving birth to the suburb of Tokai.
The original thatched, gabled, Cape Dutch, Morningside Manor, has five bedrooms and an impos- ing teak staircase, high ceilings, original wooden floors and sash windows, a bevelled front door with a typical Dutch fan light.
“Homes with heritage value rarely come on to the market, and as such are highly sought after, so this is a rare and special opportunity to secure a piece of Constantia Valley’s precious and varied history,” says Mike Greeff, CEO of Greeff Properties, an exclusive affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estates, who is marketing this historical home.
Greeff notes that the development of the area all started to change with the building of private schools, and new shopping complexes in Constantia and Tokai. “More people wanted to move out of the city. New office parks in Wynberg and Westlake further increased demand.” The area offers a number of excellent hotels, guesthouses and restaurants, a nearby golf course, and quick access to beaches, nature trails and the M3 motorway. “Constantia is still rural, here you can live close to the original vineyards where some of SA’s finest wines are produced,” he says.
Despite this proximity to open land and a sense of being outside of the city, restaurants and outdoor venues abound. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in particular is a beautiful and popular venue for locals and visitors alike. There are local malls, and the False Bay beaches such as Muizenberg, St James and Fish Hoek are all easily accessible from the valley.
Constantia sports centre, on the Main road, has a cricket pitch, tennis courts, bowling greens, while a Virgin Active Gym and is adjacent to False Bay rugby club.. Schools are located in nearby Wynberg, Claremont, the American International School in Constantia Hills, or Reddam House in Tokai.
“If you're thinking of buying a tract of old farmland to subdivide and build a security complex, you're in for a battle for approval,” says Greeff. “The Constantia Property Owners Association is very strict on subdivision. Restrictions also extend to commercial space. Many Constantia residents are A-income earners who want to be near the area’s excellent private schools and raise their families in a semi-rural setting.”
The mix of property sizes is broad. In Upper Constantia, these can range from 1 350m² to 8 000m². Prices range from R3,5m for an average family home, right up to those selling above the R20m mark. In Rural Constantia, plots range from around 700m² to 2 000m², with homes selling from R2,5m up to R5m and sometimes more. “Constantia represents great value at current prices because plot sizes are much larger than those in the rest of the Southern Suburbs. As the Southern Suburbs become increasingly dense, Constantia will become even more valuable because of its position and large plot sizes,” says Greeff.
According to property data provider, Lightstone, more than 93% of the property in Constantia is freehold, with the balance made up of residential estates and very few sectional title developments. The statistics also show that more than 45% of current residents have lived in the area for 11 years or more, with 42% of recent buyers aged between 36 and 49. The average property price in the area over the past 12 months was around R6,5m.
This home presents a unique opportunity to own a piece of Constantia Winelands architectural heritage