Living in harmony with nature; head to Hout Bay for the best selection of eco homes

Hout Bay is home to a number of secure estates that provide the opportunity to live an eco-sensitive lifestyle; more than any other suburb in the country, says Seeff agents, Nolan Wood and Leonard Geffen. 

While there is often emphasis on greening and energy reduction measures within homes, it is equally important that attention is paid to the environment and, estates such as Kenrock, Avignon, Tierboskloof and Ruyterplaats have set the benchmark in eco-living without having to forego a luxury lifestyle.

The estates were developed with conservation in mind, something that started in the village a few years ago. The focus is on greening the environment with indigenous plants such as fynbos, proteas and trees indigenous to the area. There is an ongoing effort to replace for example the pine forests with indigenous trees, say the agents. As a result, we have seen bird species, insects and animals like mongoose come back into the estates. Owl boxes and protection measures for the spotted Leopard Toad are other eco-measures in the estates. Natural streams flow from the mountains may also not be dammed. As a result of the water and waste management efforts, these natural streams are bringing essential nutrients down from the mountain that has resulted in a more pristine river and is encouraging fish populations, add the agents.

The estates are also low density residential developments and building restrictions and guidelines ensure minimal impact on the environment and encourage the use of natural building materials. The estates offer top class security and quality real estate, reassurance that buyers are investing in top class homes here, say the agents. They are also diverse and there is something to suit each buyer's lifestyle preferences and budget.

In Kenrock Country Estate for example where Wood is a resident, natural stone and wood have been carefully incorporated into build elements such as bird-hides, boardwalks, storm water channels and lookout decks. Natural streams come down from the mountain and dams on the estate are stocked with indigenous fish. Its elevated location against the slopes of the 12 Apostles means that residents also enjoy stunning views of the valley and direct access to the Table Mountain Nature Reserve, says the agent. Prices here range upwards of R5,25 million and R6,475 million for homes recently sold here by the agents to around R8,9 million for a luxury, 700sqm family home that almost blends into the environment. Massive glass windows and walls provide stunning views.

The home is set on 2 acres of indigenous gardens with mature trees, vegetable gardens and natural mountain pools, irrigated by water from a rainwater tank. Plenty of natural wood and stone along with eco-friendly bamboo flooring and counter tops add to the eco-credentials of the home. It includes a spacious lounge with a fireplace, dining room, two family/TV lounges, a study and modern open-plan kitchen with a separate scullery and laundry room. An additional basement room could serve as wine cellar, cinema or gymnasium. There is also a spacious outdoor entertainment area and swimming pool. The home includes five bedroom suites. The main suite includes a separate dressing room, fireplace and a double vanity and shower as well as a free-standing stone bath. It opens to a private balcony. There is also a separate two bedroomed cottage for dual living or rental as well as a triple garage.

Buyers looking for a French Provencal style home, could head to Avignon Security Estate that offers a picturesque, mountainside setting. There are about 60 homes in the estate set amidst large indigenous gardens and a park for children and picnics. Prices range upwards of R5 million.

Tierboskloof in Baviaanskloof, is a 16 hectare fynbos mountain estate nestled amidst a mountain forest with spectacular sea and mountain views and nearby waterfalls. Every home has unobstructed mountain and sea views, the result of height restriction. Non-reflective materials and muted colours aim to add to the minimal environmental impact, say the agents. Aside from access to mountain trails and a trail through a hidden valley to the river, residents also have access to communal facilities such as a squash court, tennis court and a salt water pool. Prices range upwards of R5,695 million for a luxurious, four-bedroomed thatched home in the estate.
Ruyterplaats enjoys one of the most picturesque mountainside locations in the country. Set on 42 acres of indigenous vegetation with its own lake Lalamanzi, the estate comprises of 84 freehold homes and 51 sectional title lodges. Again, it provides the opportunity to live in an eco-sensitive environment and enjoy walks and direct mountain access, say the agents. Prices range upwards of R2,65 million for a two bedroomed townhouse and R3,395 million for three bedrooms. Free-standing homes start at around R4,3 million and range upwards to R23 million for a luxury home.

Security estates such as these also contribute significantly to job creation according to a recent study by the Association of Residential Communities (Arc), say the agents. The study revealed that about 45% of the market, around 5 million residents live in gated estates and that these contribute to about 65,000 jobs earning about R3,9 billion in wages and salaries associated with the management and maintenance of the estates.

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