Limpopo’s best-kept wildlife secrets

If you hanker for a home in the bush, close to the iconic Kruger National Park, you need look no further than one of Limpopo’s “best kept secrets” - the Grietjewildlife conservancy about 30km outside Phalaborwa.
Started in 2003 and now incorporated into the Greater Kruger National Park, this offers bush-lovers the opportunity to acquire huge stands of around 21ha each at prices from just R780 000, says Glenda Watson, the new Chas Everitt International property group franchisee in Phalaborwa.

This magnificent home on an elevated site in the Grietje conservancy is on sale through Chas Everitt International for R6m.
“This is exceptional value for land in a prime game-viewing area,” she notes, “and prices will no doubt rise once the conservancy becomes better known and demand increases. To date, though, Grietje has only been ‘discovered’ by a few keen environmentalists and shrewd investorswho have over the past 10 years builtthe  holiday homes and private lodges that are now starting to come up for resale.”
Previously an area of agricultural smallholdings, the conservancy still also contains some farmhouses and other old dwellings, but few of these are in good condition, says Watson, and buyers would do much better to build their own new homes or purchase one of the more recently-built ones. Prices for the latter average around R2m.
Meanwhile, for those who would like to live among wildlife but closer to Phalaborwa itself, there is the Mahlatini Reserve,about 10km outside the town and bordered on one side by the Kruger National Park and the other by the 45 000ha Letaba Ranch provincial reserve.
Watson says this 1320ha reserve and the wildlife in it is formally managed by a home owners’ association, but the stands are also 21ha in extent and although there are building guidelines to protect the environment, the development is not themed, so buyers can expect privacy and the freedom to design the homes of their dreams.
Stand prices, she says, generally range from R1m to R1,2m, but she currently has one with a dam on the Letaba fence-line for sale for R570 000, and another on the Kruger Park fence-line available for R750 000.

Elephants at a watering point in Mahlatini Reserve just outside Phalaborwa

“Some houses in Mahlathini are also available for resale now, at prices ranging from around R2,5m to R9,8m for a luxury home on an elevated site that provides panoramic views over the Kruger Park.”
In Phalaborwa itself, older three-bedroom mine houses sell for around R700 000 to R800 000, and more modern homes for up to R1,5m – “for which you could expect to buy a home with three or four bedrooms, two living rooms, a study, a modern kitchen, a pool and entertainment area and a double garage on a stand of around 1200m on the more desirable northern side of town.
“And although the property market here has tended to fluctuate according to the fortunes of the surrounding mines, it is doing so less now,” she says, “because Phalaborwa is increasingly popular with retirees due to its warm climate and the fact that it has a new private hospital. It is also renowned as the safest town in SA, and has excellent public and private schools, so it also attracts families relocating from the cities in search of a more peaceful, rural lifestyle.”

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