Areas and Places

Val de Vie development has set new standards for rural estate projects

Paarl and its surroundings are today known for the many luxury residential retirement and lifestyle estates that have sprung up in this beautiful part of the Western Cape in the last two decades: Oude Renbaan, Pearl Valley, Boschenmeer and Val de Vie Estate.

Many of these estates, says Lizette Joubert, the Rawson Property Group’s franchisee for the Paarl precinct, set new standards in home and landscape design. However, it is quite likely, she says, that Val de Vie, which she describes as one of the boldest and most upmarket of all the recent developments, will be the most successful and the fastest selling of them all.

Situated in the fertile Berg river valley between Paarl and Franschhoek, the development, which started in 2006, is being handled by the property developer Elements Development Projects for which the Olympic gold medallist swimmer, Ryk Neethling is the Marketing Director.

Val de Vie covers 250 ha in all. Prior to being developed it was used primarily for general and dairy farming, vineyard cultivation and wine production. Most of the dams (six covering 12 ha) associated with these have been retained as have many sections of the vineyards, pastures and orchards. Today, the development can offer most homes, not only mountain views to the Groot Drakenstein, Paarl Rock, Simonsberg and the Franschoek ranges, but also vistas of cultivated, open agricultural land. More than 70% of the estate consists of vineyards, farmland, wildlife camps, paddocks and polo fields.

In one section, a complete 2 ha small Cape nature style game reserve with several varieties of buck and Zebras, has been created and the homes overlooking this, it is said, are among the most prestigious in Val de Vie.

However, the features which give Val de Vie its signature and upmarket image, and which have drawn many buyers from far afield, are the international standard polo grounds, which have 80 stables, and the Polo Club Restaurant & Wine Bar in the Polo Pavilion at the main polo field — which has a first class reputation. The Pavilion also serves as a popular venue for corporate and social events as such weddings.

The estate also has a Sport and Leisure Centre, located in the heart of Val de Vie. It has two squash courts, a fully equipped gym, two outdoor tennis courts, an indoor, heated 25 metre swimming pool and outdoor pools. The indoor swimming pool is home to the Ryk Neethling Swim School.

Security at Val de Vie has always been a top priority. It is covered by a ‘military specification thermal blanket’ that has become a benchmark for other estates and the eight kilometre perimeter is protected by a two metre high iron rod fence that is fully electrified. Throughout the project the developers have installed security booms between various precincts. The estate borders onto two kilometres of the Berg River with beautiful picnic areas for the residents.

As mentioned, Val de Vie was launched in 2006. A glance through its latest online resale figures will show that, once plots have been built on, the average value of a home sold here today is R4,800,000. In total there are 532 plots and 500 of these have been sold. By the end of the year it is estimated that 350 home will have been built on the estate.

Those for sale vary in price from R850,000 to R4 million, but the bulk of demand is around R1,200,000. The plots vary in size from 600 m2 to 1,400 m2.

Buyers have to choose one of the builders on the carefully selected building panel and and all homes have to conform to certain design guidelines. These, says Minette Bezuidenhout, one of Rawson Paarl’s two agents working with the developers on this project, are not too stringent but they do ensure that no one home can clash stylistically with others or lower the standard of the development as a whole.

“Val de Vie presents the perfect balance between nature and stylistic modern living. It achieved a five star award for the Best Multiple Unit Development in South Africa in 2013 and the award for the Best Single Unit Development in Africa for its Polo House.” says Minette Bezuidenhout.

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