RESIDENTIAL LIVING IN THE BUSHVELD
Thorny Bush is a new lifestyle estate on an existing golf course in the booming Limpopo town of Mokopane.
A GROWING NUMBER of South Africans are looking to live in the peace and tranquillity of the Limpopo bushveld, and Thorny Bush Lifestyle Estate is a newly developed residential estate catering for the twin demands of secure housing and golf in the town of Mokopane, formerly Potgietersrus.
Estate homes are currently being built on the expansive property of the existing Kameeldoring Country Club, which has a beautiful 18hole course, an impressive oasis of green fairways seen from the air in the dry bushveld. It was opened for play back in 1978, yet it has long remained one of South Africa’s hidden golfing gems. For one thing, while only minutes away from the town centre, it cannot be seen from the R101 main road leading into Mokopane from the south, and it’s mainly only golfers in Limpopo who have enjoyed the delights of playing there over the years.
I first discovered it about 10 years ago, when the first golf estates and resorts began to flourish throughout the Waterberg region of Limpopo. With its numerous kameeldoring trees, many of them hugging the fairways and forming natural hazards, the course has always reminded me of the wonderful Sishen layout in the Northern Cape, although the trees here in the north of the country are not nearly as large as they are there. It’s a fun layout, mostly flat, with a variety of interesting holes, challenging in places, and the low-slung clubhouse, shaded by many trees, has a restful view over the course.
Until now Kameeldoring has remained a simple country course, popular on Sundays with social golfers when the green fees are half price.And during the week an affiliated visitor pays R140 for 18 holes. Various buck roam the course, and I’m told that giraffe will be introduced.The fairways during my visit were incredibly lush considering the drought conditions in the region; the course receives a secured two megalitres a day of grey water for irrigation.
Mokopane is today an expanding and bustling town, its economic growth fuelled by mining activity on the northern limb of the Bush-
veld Complex. The Mogalakwena mine nearby is the largest open pit platinum mine in the world, and a “flagship operation” in Anglo-American’s platinum portfolio, creating thousands of jobs for the area. The mine has been there since 1993, but production is now at an all-time high, and there is even talk of Mokopane becoming as big as Rustenburg. Mogalakwena is one of six municipalities which form part of the Waterberg district.The high mountain range straddles the town, and during the rainy season its slopes are covered in waterfalls.
As a result, there has been considerable interest in affordable residential offerings at Thorny Bush (130 stands sold), which the developers, Rob Hudson, managing director of Hayes Matkovich Developments, and local attorney Shaun McGrath, insist is not intended as a holiday home destination, unlike the other Waterberg estates at Zebula, Elements and Euphoria. Thorny Bush is also just 60 kilometres from Polokwane, the capital of Limpopo.
Being part of Hayes Matkovich Developments, it was only natural that Peter Matkovich’s design company should upgrade the course. Three new holes have already been built to accommodate the 200 hectares of golf estate component, and the others will be renovated with new cynodon greens over the next year. Home owners, who will begin moving into their new homes in March, automatically become members of the golf club, which will benefit through the growth in fees and rounds, but continue to operate independently of the estate.
As we know by now, the majority of home owners on golf estates do not actually play golf, so Thorny Bush will take advantage of the fact that the estate forms part of a wildlife conservancy of over 300 hectares, to which residents will have full access for biking, walking and fishing. There will be 30 kilometres of mountain bike and running trails, and already in use is a 40-hectare dam for keen and competitive fishermen, with its own specially created swims.
The wetlands of the Nyl River watercourse adjoin the golf estate. It came to be known as the “Nile” in the 1860s when a group of Voortrekkers saw the wide river flowing northwards and were under the impression that they had arrived at the mighty Nile itself. That was how Nylstroom, now Modimolle, acquired its name.
Also in the vicinity is a private school, while there is a good model C school in the town. A private hospital has been approved for the area, with construction planned in 2016.
Mokopane has an airfield close to the golf course, and its long runway means it is in constant use. Thorny Bush, like Zebula, is therefore a handy estate for anyone with their own aircraft. There was a “fly-in” of 94 aircraft from all over South Africa to Mokopane in November.
THORNY BUSH FORMS PART OF A 300-HECTARE WILDLIFE CONSERVANCY TO WHICH RESIDENTS WILL HAVE ACCESS FOR BIKING, WALKING AND FISHING.
HIDDEN GEM Kameeldoring Country Club, with its bushveld setting, is to be incorporated into Thorny Bush Lifestyle Estate.
WATERBERG BACKDROP The 18th green at Kameeldoring CC, framed by bushveld trees and the Waterberg.