Downshifting? Look to the KZN Midlands

If you’re on the hunt for a relaxed lifestyle “far from the madding crowd”, the villages of Nottingham Road, Rosetta and Mooi River in the KZN Midlands might just be the perfect places to look for a country retreat.
“Apart from some of the best schools in SA, the Midlands has a charm all of its own,” says Michelle Lang, co-owner of top local estate agency Harcourts Gateway Midlands, “and visitors who have experienced the Midlands Meander will know that the vistas are breath-taking and the people warm and hospitable.

This beautiful country-style guest house near Nottingham Road is for sale through Harcourts for R8,5m. Situated close to wedding venues and prominent private schools on a private game estate, it has 12 guest rooms, 10 of them with ensuite bathrooms, and a 30-seater dining room as well as a conference/games room with a full sized billiard table.
“Tourism is one of the main drivers of the economy here and we receive many enquiries about country guest houses for sale as well as lifestyle properties. This is a very popular area for weddings and conferences and we do currently have a number of B&Bs listed that are being sold as going concerns and represent great opportunities for entrepreneurs seeking to move to the Midlands.”
The area is also a sought-after farming region and Clive Lang, the other co-owner of the franchise, is a specialist in agricultural valuations and sales of farms and smallholdings. “The area is renowned for its beef, dairy, horse and timber farms, and has the benefits of a productive climate, pastoral landscape and accessibility to major regional roads. A competitive market exists for most categories of properties in the area,” he says.
As for Nottingham Road, Michelle says: “There are some historic homes here with high ceilings, grand staircases, wraparound verandas and large, well-kept gardens but our greatest demand now is for homes in the secure estates like Gowrie Village and Gowrie Farm, where facilities are state-of-the-art and prices start at R2,5m. Buyers want the country lifestyle but, it seems, they don’t necessarily want to give up their gym, their speciality shops or their connectivity.” 
Rawdon’s  Country Estate in Nottingham Road also offers  residential vacant stands for around R780 000, she says, as well as a range of country mansions, cottages and semi-detached units. A feature of this development is the incorporation of a commercial area behind the popular Bierfassl Restaurant where the intention is to establish 10 specialist food outlets.
“These are to be housed in freestanding units each with a shop below and accommodation above and all with a delightful Olde English village look, in keeping with the original look and feel of ‘Notties’ village.”.
Another option for estate living, she says, is Giant’s View Estate near Rosetta, where plots are going for around R850 000. “Rosetta is a charming country village with a small dam where locals gather for bi-monthly farmers’ markets and Friday-evening braais, and it has a wonderful community spirit.”

Meanwhile Mooi River is the agricultural hub of the area and offers more affordable homes for first-time buyers, small business owners and local government employees. “Here you can buy attractive three-bedroom homes with easy access to the N3 for as little as R585 000 and still enjoy the Midlands lifestyle,” Michelle says.

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