News from - iafrica.com - SA's priciest properties

Sought-after by those at the very pinnacle of the social hierarchy, South Africa's most expensive properties are everything you'd expect — extremely luxurious and very private. Personal lifts, scurrying housekeepers, a butler or three, spas and fully equipped home gyms are just some of the humble pleasures that the distinguished owners of these homes have come to expect.

Offering panoramic views of Table Mountain or overlooking the beautifully bronzed bodies lying on the white, sandy beaches of Clifton, these homes inspire envy and admiration in equal parts.

Unsurprisingly, South Africa's richest provinces — Gauteng and the Western Cape — dominate the tops spots with a single KwaZulu-Natal property just squeezing into the Top-12 positions in terms of highest purchase price.

Three sectional title properties sneak into the Top-12 — the most expensive property ever sold in this country (we'll get to this one later), a unit in the exclusive suburb of Clifton in Cape Town that fetched price of R46.5-million in February and a unit in the Simbithi Eco Estate near Ballito in KwaZulu-Natal that achieved R30.1-million in April of 2007.

The remainder are free standing and range in price between R32-million (Hyde Park, Johannesburg) and R106-million (Noordhoek, Cape Town). Other suburbs that feature are Jozi's Morningside, Sandhurst and Douglasdale as well as the leafy Mother City neighbourhoods of Bishopscourt and Newlands.

A list like this can never be conclusive as some owners only sell to preselected buyers while many others don't disclose their sales prices. However, with the help of Knowledge Factory, I've compiled a list as comprehensive as possible.

Dreams are good friends…

Number 12: Simbithi Eco Estate (near Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal) — R30.15-million

Only 30 minutes away from the chaos that is Durban, nestled between the sea-side towns of Ballito and Salt Rock, Simbithi Eco Estate could just as well be on another planet. Within walking distance from Thompson's beach where bottleneck dolphins can be seen frolicking year-round, this tranquil hideaway is a coastal paradise with dense, indigenous vegetation, fertile wetlands, rolling hills, abundant birdlife and awe-inspiring scenery.

The estate offers extensive facilities including state of the art security, an equestrian centre, an adventure playground, open areas for sporting activities and an 18-hole Matkovitch designed golf course.

'Playground' of the rich and famous indeed...

Number 11: Hyde Park, Johannesburg — R32-million

One of Africa's most exclusive addresses, Hyde Park borders Illovo, Sandhurst and Craighall Park. Houses are grand and graceful, but fortified by sky-high walls and armed-to-the-teeth security.

Although undeniably beautiful, it's the gargantuan stand sizes that mostly attract the well-to-do to this corner of Joburg.

Hyde Park has a reputation for being tranquil and quiet despite being slap bang in the centre of Jozi's leafy, shopping mall invested northern suburbs. It's twisty roads are mostly devoid of heavy traffic and provides easy access to the Hyde Park Shopping Centre — home to some of the most prestigious speciality stores and boutiques in the southern hemisphere.

Number 10: Douglasdale, Johannesburg — R33-million

Douglasdale is an idyllic, upper-class suburb located between Fourways and Bryanston, just north of Sandton. It's renowned for its relative safety and rustic nature. Residents can often be seen enjoying the splendid scenery while horse riding, hiking or bird watching.

Number nine: Sandhurst, Johannesburg — R33.5-million

You'll be green with envy while driving through this district of Sandton. As one of the wealthiest suburbs in South Africa, Sandhurst is famous for incredible house prices, gigantic lot sizes and super-security that includes a tactical response company that patrols the area and guards posted on street corners.

According to Stephen Brick, a Vered Estates area specialist, the most basic, entry-level homes are priced around R10-million while novelties like private cinemas, chipping greens, dams and helipads are a common occurrence.

A major draw card is its prime location. It is minutes away from the Sandton CBD and amenities such as Sandton City and the Hyde Park Shopping Centre. There are great schools in the area including the distinguished Marist Brothers in Inanda, Pridwin in Melrose and Crawford in Benmore.

Number eight: Bishopscourt, Cape Town — R34.25-million

Rub shoulders with Nobel Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu and other celebrities who reside in this small, ultra-wealthy enclave in Cape Town's southern suburbs where centuries old oak trees line the streets.

Bishopscourt is situated close to leading private schools, the University of Cape Town and the decidedly upmarket Cavendish Square shopping centre. It's right next to the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden and only 10 minutes from the city centre.

Number seven: Morningside, Johannesburg — R45-million

The upmarket and fashionable suburb of Morningside is home to some of the most manicured gardens ever thought possible. Part of the larger Sandton area, it's known to be quite secure and peaceful.

This prestigious area is obviously not the suburb of choice for the little people…

Number six: Clifton, Cape Town — R46.5-million

A haven for the filthy rich and world famous this Cape Town suburb has some of the most expensive real estate in Africa and boasts a jaw dropping setting against the backdrop of Table Mountain.

In summer bronzing beauties clamour for space on the powdery, white beaches, eager to show off their latest surgical enhancements. Clifton's beaches repeatedly make it into Discovery Travel Channel's Top-10 beaches in the world while Forbes.com voted it the eighth best topless beach on earth.

The majority of the houses nestle on massive cliffs with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean and — although mind bogglingly expensive — are often quite small as many were built by the City of Cape Town for returning soldiers who fought in the First World War.

Less than 15 minutes from downtown Cape Town, Clifton might very well be the most beautiful residential area on the planet.

Number five: Newlands, Cape Town — R52.5-million

Lush vegetation in this upmarket Cape Town suburb points to the fact that Newlands is the wettest urban area in South Africa. Located on the foot of Table Mountain, it is home to many of South Africa's best schools as well as the Newlands Cricket Ground and the Newlands Rugby Stadium.

Residents of this lush suburb have the Newlands Forest, a popular outdoor recreation area, as well as the Table Mountain National Park right at their doorstep.

Number four: Morningside, Johannesburg — R57-million

Number three: Sandhurst, Johannesburg — R59-million

Number two: Noordhoek, Cape Town — R106-million

This suburb located below Chapman's Peak on the west coast of the Cape Peninsula is probably best known for its picture perfect shoreline and wide, seemingly never-ending sandy beach. Whichever way you enter it — either through the spectacularly scenic Chapman's Peak Drive or the Ou Kaapse Weg which runs through the beautiful Silvermine nature reserve — you'll be stunned by the sheer, unparalleled natural beauty of the place.

Noordhoek is a small, artsy community dotted with nice houses, many with dramatic ocean views. Horse riding is popular, as can be expected in a wealthy hamlet blessed with such a broad, lengthy beach.

Noordhoek's most famous resident, the Scottish billionaire Irvine Laidlaw, recently paid a whopping R106-million for the historic estate De Goede Hoop which was, until very recently, by far the most expensive house ever sold in all of Africa.

Number one: V & A Waterfront, Cape Town — R110-million

The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in the heart of Cape Town's harbour is South Africa's most visited tourist destination and home to the most expensive residence on the continent.

The Waterfront is set against a most dramatic backdrop of sea and mountain views and offers a wide variety of shopping and entertainment options, offices, hotels and, of course, extravagantly lavish apartments.

Property magnate Sol Kerzner made a killing recently when he sold the first of three penthouses at his new resort for a stupendous R110-million. Not bad for a flat.

It is, obviously, not just any old flat. According to Kerzner, the penthouses are 'amongst the most sought-after and luxurious in existence'. The three 800m² apartments take up the two top floors of the R1-billion One & Only hotel which is due to open in October next year.

All three the apartments have spectacular views of Table Mountain, the marina and Robben Island. They also have their own pool terraces, private lifts, a butler and top-notch concierge services. Owners will have access to the hotel spa and fitness centre as well as a la carte catering from the hotel's restaurant.

Article by: Kabous le Roux - www.iafrica.com