African magic at Mahathunzi

Private Property South Africa
Cathy Nolan

Situated in over 1 000 hectares of authentic African terrain in KwaZulu-Natal, complete with both large and small wildlife, Mahathunzi will shortly be released onto the property market.

Up until a few generations ago, all of South Africa, and indeed Africa itself, was pristine natural countryside. Humans lived in total synchronicity with that landscape, taking only what they needed, depleting nothing, living as an extension of nature itself while animals roamed free.

There are very few parts of the continent where this emblematic reality and image of Africa remains. In reality it is shrinking. But on the land of Mahathunzi, even though not totally free of the peripheral impact of modern human activity (Hilton College is an immediate though invisible neighbour, Pietermaritzburg is 10 minutes away, its northern neighbour is the five-star Karkloof Safari Spa, and the Albert Falls Dam sits 2kms away on the Umgeni River) this property has retained its essential ecological systems and character. Its physical extent and topographic scope ranges from open grassland plains, kranses, plateaus, dolerite cliffs, forested valleys and water pools. This land supports established populations of Wildebeest, Giraffe, Reedbuck, Eland, Kudu, Impala, Nyala, Blesbok, Zebra and Warthog, as well as abundant bird-life and many other indigenous species.

Unique offering

In cognisance of this property’s uniqueness, a measured approach has been undertaken to ensure the offering would be distinctive, relevant to its surroundings, provide experiential living as its core offering and ensure a balanced relationship between land and human habitat.

Just 49 sites only are available for purchase. The erven range in size from 20 to 30 hectares, presenting a choice of views. Each plot has been deliberately selected to present a clearly identifiable flat section where a single residential building can be positioned and constructed. Innovative thinking has ensured that the buildings are a product of consciousness within the setting. No earthworks or cutting will be utilised in integrating the dwellings with the natural surrounds, safeguarding the ecological status of the landscape. Game will roam freely between the scant residences. Residents will be able to utilise the more than 46km of all-weather shale roads within the property for game viewing routes as well as take advantage of the expansive freedom to enjoy mountain biking, walking and even trail running.

Design-driven architectural approach

A collaborative approach between the architectural team, comprising Neil Hayes Hill, George Elphick of Elphick Proome Architects and Andrew Makin of Design workshop: sa, has yielded a considered design language that will clearly differentiate Mahathunzi. Their design-driven thinking has determined an advanced style where a strikingly modern aesthetic belies environmental compatibility. Low-slung, elegantly understated single storey buildings; walls of glass; visibly natural materials and dispersed, linked, small or large dwellings arranged to spatially and experientially integrate with the landscape will pioneer a calm revolution in South African and African architecture. The buildings are essentially invisible in their context, ensuring the landscape will retain its inherent value and visual quality. Each home, different from every other, will share this relationship and build an individual and collective property value to far exceed its investment. Combining landscape and architecture in a synergetic association offers a truly exceptional way of living; providing a retreat from the frenetisism of the man-made world, whilst appreciating nature’s vitality.

Environmental responsibility

With regards to environmental responsibility, two wildlife and environmental consultants, Dr Hans Grobler and Peter Le Roux, have been visiting the property on a weekly basis since 2001 and have advised, and will continue to advise, on the rehabilitation and sustainable wildlife management of the property. As part of the development of the property, an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) was established and approved by the Department of Environmental Affairs. The two wildlife and environmental consultants have been appointed as the Environmental Control Officers (ECOs) in terms of the EMP and report to the Department of Environmental Affairs every six months. This holistic approach has ensured that the carrying capacities of the property are not exceeded, food sources are sustained, soil erosion is prevented, invasive alien vegetation is monitored and removed with the competent assistance of the local community as the development forms part of the Umgeni catchment area, and, annual animal census’ are recorded. One of the ECOs will also sit on the Architectural Committee at Mahathunzi to ensure that the environment will always have right of way.

Security is a major factor, and access to Mahathunzi will be strictly monitored on 24-hour basis. All plots will have access to 3-phase electricity, fibre-optic cables will provide access to Telkom and high speed Internet, and water will be provided from boreholes and dams.

Etiquette rather than rules

Offering a lifestyle aligned to environmental etiquette rather than regulatory rules, Mahathunzi will appeal to those whose values connect to the African landscape yet still want the choice of accessing city rhythms on demand. With some of the best schools in the country and excellent medical care just a short distance away, a revamped airport offering seven flights a day to Johannesburg from Pietermaritzburg, plus the fact that Durban is just an hour’s drive away, Mahathunzi offers the best premium hinterland living.

In all that this development property presents, the sense of freedom, openness, and almost endless continuity of space in an area where urbanisation continues to squeezes in, this offering is increasingly rare.

With a price point between R4-million and R6-million excluding VAT, Mahathunzi is truly a solid investment opportunity.

Sales and marketing team

Seeff Ballito has been engaged to drive the marketing and sales of Mahathunzi. As an integral member of the associated development team, the Seeff unit is well positioned to deliver a personalised and knowledgeable service and expand on the various unique selling points that will give Mahathunzi the edge over all other premium products on the market.

Tim Johnson: 082 424 6202 or tim.johnson@seeff.com

Mark Johnson: 082 600 6286 or markj@seeff.com

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