Spotlight on: Nottingham Road
This KwaZulu-Natal Midlands town is drawing buyers in droves, attracted to the village lifestyle, top-rate schools, low crime and lifestyle.
Established in the early 19th century, Nottingham Road and its surrounds has an interesting history and many of the town’s residents can trace their ancestry back over a century to some of the first farmers to settle in the area. The name Nottingham Road derives from the regiment of British soldiers dispatched from Nottingham in England to help local farmers deal with the problem of cattle- and sheep-rustling, who built a garrison here in 1856.
Today, Nottingham Road’s main industry is tourism and there are myriad attractions for visitors and locals alike. The busy little town in the heart of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands provides a centre for much of the activity, both commercial and social, in the area. A very popular weekend getaway for both Durbanites and Joburgers, it has also become known for its fabulous wedding venues and spas. While it has an English country town atmosphere, the ample modern amenities and distinctly South African flavour of much of the area give it a unique character.
Situated 130km from Durban and 480km from Johannesburg, Nottingham Road – with its scenic beauty, mountain views and relaxed pace of life – feels a world away. There is plenty on offer in the area, though, with many people making a living from cafés, restaurants, B&Bs, guesthouses, wedding venues and spas. There is also a community of artists and crafters who work in the area and ship their wares all over the world from their Midlands workshops and studios. The excellent schools in the Midlands include Hilton College, Michaelhouse, St Anne’s Diocesan College and Clifton Prep. Nottingham Road’s country lifestyle is becoming an option for more and more families attracted to the security, outdoor activities and community feel of the area.
Nottingham Road has a wealth of property options and buyers are diverse. ‘There are six housing estates in the immediate vicinity of Nottingham Road, ranging from nine units up to 135 units,’ says Peter Greene, principal of Meander Real Estates. ‘There are also houses in the village itself, as well as a range of smallholdings in close proximity to the village. As it is a rural farming area, there are obviously also commercial farms available – although these are in high demand and seldom stay on the market for long when they become available. A small three-bedroom house in the village can be obtained for as little as R800 000, while a large four-bedroom home with Berg views can cost up to R6 million. As far as the estates go, three-bedroom homes in Gowrie Village sell for between R1,8 million and R2,4 million, and the larger four-bedroom homes on the Gowrie Golf Estate sell for between R4 million and R7 million.’
Nikki Anderson of Pam Golding Properties Nottingham Road says that they have properties ranging in price from R350 000 to R86,5 million on their books. ‘Buyers are really looking for the country lifestyle and security that are on offer here,’ she says. ‘Buyers range from parents sending their children to the local private and government schools who want to give them the freedom we are privileged to experience in the Midlands to folk wanting to retire to the area and farmers wanting to expand or invest here.’
Three types of buyers
Greene agrees, saying that buyers fall into three categories: ‘Firstly, we have a number of private schools in the area and parents with children at these schools acquire a second home for the duration of their kids’ stay at these schools. The second category of buyers are those who want a lifestyle change and a move away from the city. Many of these have businesses that can be run via the internet and others commute to Johannesburg for a number of days in the week while basing their families in the Midlands. The third type is the retirement buyer.’
‘With school parents and retirees, we have found that Gowrie Village and Gowrie Farm are very popular estates within Nottingham Road as they are lock-up-and-go, convenient to schools, restaurants and the village and within easy commute of doctors, dentists and hospitals,’ says Anderson. She adds that the established nature/game estates, such as Eagle Crest Wildlife Estate, Siteka Country Estate, The Bend and Mziki are also popular, as are Rawdons Country Estate and Spurwing: ‘Lifestyle properties, such as smallholdings, are popular within Nottingham Road and the immediate surrounds, as are working farms.’
Text Candice Botha