A cooler climate and gracious trees draw families who want big gardens and a village lifestyle to Kloof in KZN.
Nestled at the top of Field’s Hill on the outskirts of Durban, Kloof is known for its large properties, cooler climate and beautiful old trees. The area was originally richmond Farm, which was established in 1845. At one stage, the farm was owned by the Field family, after whom Field’s Hill is named, and from 1901 it was divided up into plots that were prized by wealthy residents of Durban for building summer homes in order to escape the heat and humidity at the coast.
The area was originally called ‘Kranzkloof’ after the nearby gorge but its similarity to Kranskop lead to much confusion on the railways and eventually the ‘Krans’ was dropped to avoid the frequent errors that resulted in many parcels going astray in both towns. The old railway station is now the popular pub Stokers arms.
Kloof has some illustrious literary connections, with famed author alan paton having been a resident in the area for many years and Marguerite poland still living in the suburb today.
Property prices in Kloof range from R1 500 000 to R10 000 000 for some of the older, large properties, says Michele Wilson of Seeff Properties Kloof and Hillcrest. Many properties are very big, with most stands being at least one acre in size, and therefore there are several mansions in the area. Tennis courts and swimming pools are common and many homes have been passed down through generations.
"There is an exciting positive movement of prices for stock below R1 500 000, where we saw a gentle price increase of about 5% by the end of 2011, with other prices remaining stable. This quarter has shown an increase of land sales at an average of R660 000, which is a good indicator of positive property movement in the area."
In the market
Kloof has avoided the development of office blocks and apartment buildings that has been common in the Highway Area in the last few years and so retains its charm.
Kloof has changed in the last few years from a small village to a 'village with a vibe'
explains Michele. "With regard to the rental market, the demand has reached an all-time high in the area, with the strongest demand being for townhouses, which fetch around R8 000 per month on average. Our rental market ranges from executives to families, who are either returning to South africa from 'not so good' experiences abroad, or are in the process of building a new home."
There are several respected schools in the area: the government Kloof Junior primary, Senior primary and High schools and Thomas More College and St Mary’s Diocesan School for Girls. The proximity to these educational institutions and easy access to Durban via the M13 highway, as well as the magnificent homes, make Kloof popular with families.
"Kloof has a refreshing cool climate, with a fabulous social environment, excellent private schooling, superior care and catering for retirement, and property that offers value for your money and investment opportunities," says Michele. "Our municipality is ever positive and strives for improvement in every field, be it conservation, crime prevention or campaigning to keep our area beautiful!"
Victoria Verbaan, a Kloof resident and celebrated illustrator, artist and designer, says, "It’s a little island of tranquillity in Durban’s thriving metropolis. I grew up here surrounded by open spaces and beauty. Tennis days and big family occasions with my grandparents living next door were a regular event. It has grown tremendously, but is still so familiar and the locals are so warm."
Victoria says Fat Tuesday Gallery and Shop and the Bellevue Café are her favourite local spots; both are on the Bellevue Campus, as are her studio and the International Trend Institute (ITI)."The architecture of the campus lends itself to a creative environment." Kloof Country Club and the Shongweni Farmers Market are another two of Victoria’s hot spots. "The market is a lovely Saturday morning outing for the dogs and kids." She also recommends a visit to Makaranga Lodge, with its beautiful gardens and art collection, or a few hours at Brigit Filmer, ‘a wonderful spa’.
Kloof has a lot of young families, and there is a great sense of continuity and tradition. Everything is close and convenient – from the Post Office to the local Woolies, gym, ballet shop, you name it, it’s all literally within five minutes of your home. The only downside is you are never incognito.
Take a trip through the Upper Highway Area in KZN: