Associated with some of the countries more creative individuals such as potters, sculptors and artists, and known as “the artist town”, White River in Mpumalanga lies 20km north of Nelspruit and close to Pilgrims Rest. Descriptions of charm and tranquillity add to the appeal of this fascinating district.
With unsurpassed hospitality and an array of some of the finest four star hotels, lodges and timeshare resorts in the surrounding region, it’s hardly surprising that White River is a popular holiday destination. The area offers visitors a wealth of attractions and activities that include everything from hot air ballooning to white water rafting, abseiling or microlighting. The town also houses some outstanding restaurants, offering something for every palate, and is a mere 30km from the Kruger National Park.
Casterbridge Farm has recently been developed into one of the most original and charming shopping concepts in South Africa. A blend of Victorian and Tuscan architecture complimented by formal magnificently manicured gardens makes the Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre a unique concept. A selection of clothing, linen, furniture and décor shops, as well as restaurants and coffee shops cater to those who enjoy the finer things in life. Music and theatre lovers can be entertained at the Barnyard Theatre at Casterbridge.
The historical sites and old wagon trails offer us a reminder of the colourful characters that passed through the town in search of gold. The farm Witrivier was established in 1902 at the end of the second Anglo Boer War for demobilized soldiers from both British and Boer camps. In 1914 a syndicate purchased this 40-hectare property planting 60 000 fruit trees and the area soon became a viable farming subsidiary. Today over 2 500 farmers work these smallholdings producing vegetables, sub-tropical fruits and timber.
The area has also become a popular with second home buyers and a number of secure estates have been developed. The White River Country Estate is one such development. Positioned on the edge of an 18-hole golf course in a country-like setting, the estate offers the discerning buyer the opportunity to invest in an area that has all the right trappings for memorable family holidays.
There are two excellent co-educational, independent schools situated close to the town. Uplands Preparatory and Uplands College as well as Penryn College, which is twinned with St. Stithians College in Johannesburg, cater for pupils from grade 00 to grade 12. Both schools have an outstanding reputation.
Once regarded as an agricultural hub, the town has gone on to reinvent itself. The demand for upmarket properties situated in secure exclusive estates bears testament to this and property prices have soared. A search on a well-known estate agency’s web site indicates that prices range from around R30m for a 330m2 property on an estate to R385 000 for a two bedroom home in the suburb of Hillsview, indicating perhaps, that there really is something for everyone in this thriving community.