Beach life coming to Joburg South as Balwin builds its third lagoon in Gauteng

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Balwin is also in the process of building a lagoon in its Munyaka Lifestyle Estate in the Waterfall which will be the size of seven rugby fields.
Balwin is also in the process of building a lagoon in its Munyaka Lifestyle Estate in the Waterfall which will be the size of seven rugby fields.
Photo: Balwin Properties
  • Balwin Properties wants to expand its Thaba Eco Village and include a lagoon.
  • Balwin has agreed to buy portions of Farm Rietvlei, where it will develop a lagoon, a hiking trail and a bridge linking its estate to the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve.
  • The company has been working with the US-based Crystal Lagoon to build man-made crystal-clear lagoons in Blyde Riverwalk Estate in Pretoria and Munyaka Lifestyle Estate in the Waterfall.

Balwin Properties wants to build another beach-like lagoon in Gauteng, this time in the south of Johannesburg.

On Monday, the property developer announced that a deal with Tentacle Properties, allowing it to acquire portions of Farm Rietvlei to develop a "world-class eco-estate" with a lagoon.

Balwin will pay a maximum of R330 million, excluding VAT, to acquire the land.

"Balwin intends to construct a Crystal Lagoon in this development and bring the beach life to Johannesburg South," said Balwin in the announcement.

Balwin said it has been negotiating this sale with Tentacle Properties for over a decade to acquire these land parcels. Initially, Tentacle Properties sold the land which became Balwin's Thaba Eco Village. The development was launched in 2020.

This transaction will allow Balwin to extend the Thaba Eco Village to build "The Greater Thaba Development", stretching over approximately 300 hectares of land. Only about 150 hectares is developable.

Balwin said the additional land will allow it to add about 7 443 new apartments. These will include luxury duplexes and free-standing residential homes too.  

Third man-made lagoon in Gauteng

Balwin will be constructing its third man-made lagoon in Gauteng after the Blyde Crystal Lagoon in Pretoria East.

Balwin is also in the process of building a lagoon in its Munyaka Lifestyle Estate in the Waterfall precinct in Midrand. That lagoon will be the size of seven rugby fields.

The Blyde Crystal Lagoon became operational in 2020. It allows for swimming, kayaking and paddle-boarding.

A rare sight in Gauteng, the lagoon attracted a lot of buyers to the Blyde Riverwalk Estate who saw it as an opportunity to turn their investments into holiday apartments. But Balwin then introduced fees for visitors who book a short-term stay on the estate and later forbade short-term stays altogether allegedly because permanent residents were tired of "the unruly conduct" of short-term visitors.

At the time, Balwin said the influx of short-term visitors had become a security concern. So, access to the upcoming lagoon in Johannesburg South will likely be influenced by the past events at Blyde Riverwalk Estate.

But things might be a little different in the South as Balwin intends to apply for the status of a UNESCO World Heritage site for part of The Greater Thaba Development.

Balwin wants to build a Green Flag rated hiking trail in the development and a bridge linking it to the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve. Various wildlife and game species will be incorporated into the reserve areas to attract tourism as part of the existing nearby Thaba Eco Hotel.

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