With an enviable all-year round climate, the little town of White River occupies a prime position in Mpumalanga.
Surrounded by gentle hillsides covered in forestry plantations and farms growing tropical and citrus fruits, macadamia nuts, flowers and vegetables, White River retains a rural, country feel, despite being just 20 kilometres from the bustling centre of Mbombela (Nelspruit). The town, with its 15 000 inhabitants, has built up a reputation as an arts and culture hub with a secure, laid-back lifestyle that attracts people from South Africa, Mozambique and Swaziland.
Safe estate living
There are currently about 10 secure estates in White River, which have been designed to accentuate the area’s attractions. The pioneer amongst them, the White River Country Estate, with its 18-hole golf course, is also home to the White River Country Club. Almost all of its 300 stands have been developed. It borders Uplands College, one of the area’s best-known private schools.
“Uplands and Penryn schools have been a major draw-card for people looking to leave the big city behind, but still give their kids a fantastic education,” says Royden Trollip from Century 21 in White River. “I myself grew up in the area and know the quality of life that you can enjoy here.”
Other estates, such as Pamushana, Recoleta and Sheffield also pride themselves on selling a secure, active lifestyle to homeowners. Over the years, Trollip has seen people buying up properties on these estates, often with one parent commuting for work to Nelspruit, but also to Johannesburg and further afield in neighbouring Swaziland and Mozambique.
“We have many overseas buyers who live here for a portion of the year. It’s also a sought-after retirement area,” says Diana Dessington from Pam Golding Properties, White River. There is also lots of movement in smaller properties, especially among first time home-owners, and complexes like Erwarton and Macadamia are doing well.
“White River’s location is so central to so many places that it’s an ideal base for a wide range of people; the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport is just 15 minutes away, the Kruger National Park’s Numbi Gate is a 20-minute drive from the town, the scenic towns of Sabie and Graskop are also close by and you can be hiking in Swaziland or having lunch at the Maputo Fish Market in Mozambique in just a few hours,” says Trollip.
But why not just stay in?
That said, there is plenty in the town to keep residents close to home, with lots of natural bush, hiking trails, and bird and animal life for people wanting to be closer to nature. Mountain biking, in particular, is extremely popular, with a number of marked and maintained trails through farmland and forests. The town also hosts the annual MTN Panorama cycle tour and its two large dams, Longmeer and Klipkopjes, are ideal for a range of water-sports.
There are also several great restaurants in the area, like Fez and Mahois at the Bagdad Centre and Magnolia Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge at Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre. The centre also houses a cinema, a Barnyard Theatre, several cafés and shops, the White River Art Gallery and the Casterbride Music Academy.
“With Nelspruit’s big malls, hospitals and other amenities so close by, and so much quality to offer in the town itself, living in White River gives people the best of both worlds,” says Trollip. “Life is carefree, easy, convenient and perhaps most important of all, secure.”