Situated on the ridge of a main road that runs from Durban to Pietermaritzburg, Hillcrest has become far more than the sleepy hollow it once was.
Once considered a “weekend” village, Hillcrest was founded in 1895 to provide a quieter, farming-focused lifestyle to settlers in Durban. Since celebrating its centenary in 1995, the suburb is growing up and developing into a friendly, family-focused area that’s made for living life well.
A number of sport stars have been proud Hillcrest residents over the years, including Shaun Pollock, Dale Benkenstein, Terence Parkin and Wayne Fyvie. This is also the place that Sir Liege Hulett, the captain of the sugar industry and founder of Kearsney College and Tongaat Hullett Sugar, once called home.
Living in Hillcrest
Because it stands 650m above sea level, some say that Hillcrest bestows upon its residents one of the best climates in the world, although the occasionally frosty mornings can be quite bracing when you awake. But that just gets you going for the day as you set out towards your office in central Durban. And after a busy day at work, the drive up the hill towards home helps you let go of the day’s frustrations and fast pace, offering up some serenity as you approach your residence.
From a resident
Hillcrest’s residents have witnessed a boom in development in recent times, with residential complexes and gated communities like Plantations and Augusta Country Estate offering unique, serene settings for raising families.
Says Shaun Dutton, MD: FirstView, a digital agency, “I’ve been living in Hillcrest for 20 years. The top two things about Hillcrest are that it epitomises ‘community’: it has the perfect balance of everything a family needs, and the quality is top notch. Every aspect of living here is great: schools, malls, parks, restaurants, amazing housing and estates, churches and great people. The other great thing about Hillcrest is that as much as it has grown, it is still a village, with close, easy access to some of the best locations in KwaZulu-Natal, including the city, Umhlanga and Nottingham Road. It’s essentially the best, central place for families to stay. Hillcrest’s community is close-knit and most of the activities involve being together with others and enjoying life. It’s not that easy to just pop out for milk and bread, because you’re bound to connect with a few close friends on your way or even meet new ones.”
Raising a family in a suburb that’s got a big heart takes more than just a serene setting though, and that’s why Hillcrest’s schools and community facilities are so important. Private school facilities, including Waterfall College, Curro Hillcrest Christian Academy and Highbury Preparatory School are located within the suburb, with Roseway Waldorf School situated a short drive away.
Its sporting and recreational facilities are an essential part of the wholesome life that Hillcrest offers and they are well supported by residents. Founded in 1929, the Hillcrest Tennis Club offers coaching, floodlit courts for night matches and a quaint kiddies’ playground. Watch the Comrades any year, and you’ll definitely spy members of the Hillcrest Villagers Athletics Club as they pace their way to the finish line. And if you’re in the mood to run around popping paintball shots at your friends, head to the Hillcrest Paintball Arena for a fun day out.
Six of the best in the ’Crest
Shaun Dutton, MD: FirstView, share his top six family-friendly spots in Hillcrest:
- Pallet Jack’s – family fun for everyone, with a great menu and incredible play area
- Shongweni Farmers’ and Craft Market – worth rising early on a Saturday morning for, with fresh produce of the week and an impeccable range of craft, clothing and curios
- Heritage Market – retail therapy at specialist or franchise stores, in a quaint village setting
- Stretta Café – for takeaway pizza or settling in for a sumptuous Italian lunch
- Watercrest Mall – a little of the city in the village, including cinemas, a food court, shopping and entertainment
- Lineage Coffee – a home-grown roastery and official coffee supplier and partner establishment to Stretta Café, for delicious brews
Property prices in Hillcrest
A typical property for sale in Hillcrest is a four-bedroom house at an average asking price of R2,9m.
- 24% of cn complexes, at an average asking price of R2,14m
- 5% of properties for sale are flats/apartments, at an average asking price of R1,13m
- A typical property for rent in Hillcrest is a four-bedroom house, at a monthly asking price of R13,000
Hillcrest properties account for:
- 9% of the total sales listings in the Durban region
- 4% of the total rental listings
- 8% of the interest (views) of properties for sale
This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.