Security Estates In The Western Cape – The Ultimate Luxury

Security Estates In The Western Cape – The Ultimate Luxury

14th July 2014

Written by Vanessa McCulloch

When it comes to the top security estates in Constantia, such as Silverhurst and Steenberg, naturally beautiful settings and the reassurance of high-end security are a given, says Tara Whiting, Founder of Acquire Africa. It’s the spirit of community that you can’t put a price on

“The demand will always be there. Especially in the Cape where there’s a finite supply” – Tara Whiting

“It can be a difficult thing to find in South Africa,” says Tara Whiting, owner and director of Acquire Africa, a luxury property agency with an impressive array of high-end properties in their portfolio. The question under discussion is how to find secure living and still tap into that elusive sense of community. “Your garage door closes behind you and you’re safely enclosed in your home, behind high walls and electric fencing. I think that changes the way you feel about life and your state of being.”

Tara has lived in some of the most super-charged cities in the world, including New York, London and Hong Kong and has called Cape Town her home for the last 14 years. Initially wary of the security-estate lifestyle (“I wasn’t sure it would suit me”), she lives with her family in a security estate in the Constantia Valley. Convenience was initially what lured her there. Her daughter walks herself to school, and there’s no more worrying about the lifts to ballet. The appeal, however, runs deeper than simplifying the school run. Over the weekends her teenage son divides his time between their house and his best friend’s who just happens to live over the road. “They often have two dinners. One at mine and one at theirs,” says Tara. “It’s wonderful for them but also for us parents.”

Lauren Mason can relate – she wouldn’t want to live any other way. A resident of Silverhurst for the past 12 years, the prestigious Constantia Valley security estate where the average house price is R15.2-million, she believes it ticks all the boxes for carefree luxury living. “It’s such a beautiful setting and so peaceful,” she says, of the surrounding nature, mountains and vineyards – Constantia in all its glory. “In summer we sleep with our windows and doors open.” There’s not a burglar bar to be seen but another major draw card for her is that her children can go where they please. “They have the freedom to cycle and play in the park with their friends without supervision. My son will disappear early on a Saturday morning and we won’t see him until lunchtime,” she says. “And it’s not a worry.” Testament to the attraction of peace of mind is the change in demographics in Silverhurst buyers. “Over the years, I’ve noticed a lot more families with young children,” says Lauren. In fact, according to the estate report from Lightstone, over 60% of buyers from June 2013 to May 2014 were classed as ‘middle aged’ (36-49 years old) debunking the pre-conception that it’s mainly mature buyers who gravitate towards these estates. While living near young families has its benefits, privacy is still paramount. “While there’s a sense of community it’s not intrusive,” says Lauren. “It’s not like a Desperate Housewives situation. Most of the time you’re not even aware there are people living nearby.”

Compared to Silverhurst’s 91 houses, the nearby Steenberg estate has 242 properties and boasts a world-renowned golf course, hotel, two gourmet restaurants and a winery. In 2012, the golf course was voted by Condé Nast Traveler as “the top foreign golf resort”. The restaurants, Bistro 1682 and Catharina’s, are incredibly popular and very chic. “Living there, it’s all about the lifestyle. You decide you’re not cooking tonight and walk down the road to one of the restaurants,” says Tara. “Afterwards you stroll home again. There’s a certain European flavour to it all.”

According to Tara, the demand for estate living of this calibre isn’t going to diminish any time soon. Acquire Africa has some of the most exclusive Steenberg and Silverhurst properties on their books, each with their own individual look and feel – there are no cookie-cutter designs here. Grandly scaled in a beautiful setting, the Georgian-style mansion in Silverhurst, at R33,500 000, has all the luxury trimmings and stately interior proportions. Over in Steenberg, there’s the four-bedroom understatedly elegant home, for R15,9-million that overlooks the vineyards. It’s close to the golf course yet has the feel of living on a private wine farm. Then, for R30-million, there’s a five-bedroom manor house, set on an incredible 8000m2, with elevated views towards the sea, a spectacular garden and a private helipad. It could arguably be the best house on the estate. “The location is unique,” explains architect Andrew Berman who worked alongside his partner André Pentz on the design of the house. “It’s right up against the mountain with incredible views. The setting is very dramatic. There are very few properties like that I would say.”

Of course both Silverhurst and Steenberg offer state-of-the-art security systems (think fingerprint recognition at the gates) that are also discreet enough not to feel fenced in. The security measures aren’t so in your face as to be a constant reminder of your need for them in the first place. “Realistically, crime isn’t going to decrease in a major way,” says Tara. “The demand for estate living will always be there, particularly in the Cape where there’s no land left close to the good schools and other amenities – it’s a finite supply. In my opinion, security estate properties don’t fall as much as private houses do in a down market.”

It’s a good investment financially but also for your peace of mind. “Sometimes I look around and think goodness where did all these kids come from! And where did all the food go?” laughs Tara about the times her son and his friends from the estate come over. Not that it matters. “I’ve grown to love that informal, neighbourly approach. It’s changed how we live our life.” That image of your kids being able to roam from house to house, visiting friends without having to worry about their safety – now that’s priceless. Perhaps it’s the ultimate luxury of all.

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