SA's 10 most exclusive residential estates revealed

Johannesburg - Exclusive Paarl estate Val De Vie was once again rated as South Africa’s top estate in a survey, which reveals where South Africa’s most exclusive residential estates are located.

The survey, by global bank AfrAsia Bank and research group New World Wealth, rated the luxury estates on criteria that included design and space, communal gardens and parks, maintenance, location, security, scenery, activities and facilities.  

The survey noted that recent trends in estate living over the past year included a rise in demand for retirement estates especially. The popularity of wildlife estates is also increasing, while overall there is a move away from traditional golf estates.

It said many developers are now creating small neighbourhoods within the estates, opposed to the old model where houses were spaced evenly around the entire property.

This new model allows for more parkland and open spaces between the neighbourhoods, the authors stated.

But staking a claim in these luxury estates remained an expensive endeavour, with some homes in the estate costing up to R70m.

Here are the top ten:

 1.  Val de Vie

Featuring vineyards and polo fields among a picturesque backdrop, Val De Vie once again took top honours as South Africa’s highest rated estate. One of its neigbourhoods includes the Gentleman’s Estate, the most exclusive neighbourhood on the estate that offers residents their own private stables, garden and vineyard. Properties on the Gentleman’s Estate range from 3 to 6 hectares each.

House/apartment prices on Val de Vie range from R3m to R50m.

 2.  Steyn City

Steyn City moved up to second place this year from being ranked fourth. The newly-built Johannesburg estate includes an equestrian centre, a golf course and over 250 hectares of landscaped parkland. Its communal areas, vegetation and parks that emulate those of London were the main reasons for its score improvement, the survey’s authors stated. The estate is still at early development but once fully complete, Steyn City will be the most extensive estate in the country in terms of facilities and activities.

House/apartment prices on the estate range from R2m to R30m.

3.  Zimbali

Zimbali near Durban is arguably the most picturesque estate in the country, with its own natural lagoon and forest. The estate attracts an abundant birdlife, which includes kingfishers, louries and bee-eaters - even the rare crowned eagle is a resident here. The estate is right on the beach.

House prices on the estate range from R5m to R50m.

4.  Fancourt

Fancourt on the Garden Route is South Africa’s top estate for golfers, the researchers believe. The estate has three highly rated courses on one estate. The two original courses - the Montagu and the Outeniqua - were built in the early 1090s. The estate is also home to the world famous and Africa’s top rated golf course, Fancourt Links, constructed in the 2000s.

House prices on the estate range from R3m to R50m.

5. Waterfall Equestrian Estate Waterfall

Waterfall City overlooks the newly-built Mall of Africa, and is lauded for its convenience and exclusivity. It is arguably the most exclusive estate in the country. Stands on the estate are particularly large, starting from around one hectare each.

House prices on the estate range from R10m to R70m.

6.  Steenberg

One of the pioneer estates in South Africa, Steenberg contains a large winery and vineyard and has relatively few houses on the big estates. Originally a vineyard, Steenberg was redeveloped by JCI in 1990 to include a golf course, hotel, spa and housing estate.

House prices on the estate range from R3m to R35m.

7.  Mjejane Mjejane Lifestyle Estate

Despite the growing market for wildlife estates, Mjejane Mjejane was the only one to make it into the survey’s top 10. It is located on the banks of the Crocodile River, bordering the Kruger. Because its borders are open on the Kruger side, Mjejane has access to the full big five. The estate offers 200 stands over 4 000 hectares with 10km of river frontage.

House prices on the estate range from R5m to R30m.

 8.  Whalerock Ridge

The 100 hectare Whalerock Ridge in Plettenberg Bay boasts impressive views over Robberg Beach. The bottom gate of the estate is located about 100 metres from the beach.

House prices on the estate range from R3m to R35m.

9.  Waterfall Hills

Retirement Estate Waterfall Hills was the only retirement estate to make the top ten survey. The authors said this estate has definitely set the benchmark that others will look to follow.

House prices on the estate range from R3m to R6m.

10.  Fransche Hoek

Newly-built Fransche Hoek Agricultural Estate in Franschhoek is attracting wealthy buyers lured to South Africa’s fine food capital and one of the fastest growing towns in the country, in terms of rich people investing in property. The estate has its own private vineyards and fruit orchards.

House prices on the estate range from R10m to R60m.

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