Areas and Places

Major development for Cato Ridge area to impact on housing demand – sound returns at Eagle's Ayre Estate

With massive development earmarked for the corridor between Hillcrest and Pietermaritzburg, this burgeoning node is being forecast as KwaZulu-Natal’s equivalent to the Midrand, says Barbara Becker, Pam Golding Properties area principal in Pietermaritzburg and the KZN Midlands. 

“The Cato Ridge area, which forms an important link in the N3 corridor between Durban and Gauteng, as well as between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, has been identified as ideal for development into a container hub and industrial node, with development to include infrastructural investment in transport routes as well as industrial and town centre precincts and to facilitate opportunities for community and external investors.

“A dry port – for the handling and railing of container and bulk cargo in order to alleviate congestion in Durban, is in the final planning stages and one proposal is to establish the dry port in Cato Ridge on the north side of the N3), with eThekwini Municipality planning to rezone 610ha of agricultural land which is to be released for industrial development. Clean industry such as warehousing will be developed in the nearby Camperdown area, while other industry will be situated in Cato Ridge. Evidence of this is that Value Logistics and Ellerines relocated their warehousing to Cato about a year ago. Nearby Hammarsdale is also to be further developed into a larger industrial hub, with a site of approximately 180ha awaiting approval for such a development, which is said to be for a 50 000sqm warehouse for a national retailer,” says Becker.

She says the development framework for Cato Ridge is under way, with proposals that the N3 be widened to four lanes each way from Cliffdale to Pietermaritzburg and a dedicated freight road be constructed from Durban to Cato Ridge. The South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) is also in the process of acquiring land at Drummond to build a proposed viaduct from the bottom to the top of Cliffdale to ‘straighten’ the N3 by eliminating corners which are dangerous for heavy vehicles.

Potential for property market and tourism

Becker says the growth planned for the area augurs well for the region, as well as the property market. “This part of the KZN Midlands has enormous potential for investment and growth in the business sector, as well as increased tourism potential  – with our own ‘Table Mountain’ in the Camperdown area and Nagle Dam and game reserve in the Valley of 1000 Hills below. This is also part of the Midlands Mistbelt, which includes the renowned Msunduzi River, with numerous outdoor leisure activities such as hiking, fishing, game viewing, cycling and micro-light flying.”


She says as a result, the housing market is set to benefit, as housing demand increases. “We are already experiencing a growing demand for homes in the Camperdown area, at present mainly for stock under R1 million. We anticipate this will spread as home buyers realise the benefits of living in a scenic and tranquil country environment which is easily accessible to the N3, such as the secure residential development, Eagle’s Ayre Estate. With travel time to Hillcrest only 10 minutes, Pietermaritzburg 15 minutes and Durban 20 minutes, you can enjoy a tranquil country lifestyle in the bushveld while still being conveniently located near major centres and all amenities. In addition, the route from Camperdown also cuts out the bottlenecks and for those travelling towards Durban the flow is in the opposite direction from traffic congestion,” says Becker.

Eagle’s Ayre Estate

“Proof of the appeal of the area is the success of this development, which is set in the peaceful hills of Camperdown with panoramic views overlooking Mayibuye Game Reserve. The residential estate is already established, with 37 homes completed, while a further 24 homes are in various stages of completion,” she adds.

Now there is an opportunity to acquire a quality three or four bedroom, freestanding home in phase two of this secure and prestigious development, as six completed units have become available for purchase, priced from R1.8 million to R2.88 million (including VAT and transfer fees), marketed exclusively through Pam Golding Properties.

Constructed in natural shades of taupe and camel, the units range from 181-285sqm in the 24-hour manned and gated eco-friendly estate, which also has scenic views of KwaZulu-Natal’s own ‘Table Mountain’ from each of the homes. The units include two bathrooms, kitchen with granite tops and built-in oven/hob and extractor fan and double garage with automated doors.

Good return on investment

Adding to the desirability of the estate is the fact that a few completed homes in phase one have been resold at 13 percent return on investment. While some owners have purchased for primary residence, others have acquired for investment purposes, yielding sound returns.

Says Pam Golding Properties agent, Kevin Wicks, who is marketing the homes in the development: “For example, one owner purchased a spacious unit in the front row for just under R1.4m six years ago and is now achieving a rental income of R16 000 per month. In addition, his unit is currently valued at R2.7 million, and so essentially he is achieving a return on capital invested of 32 percent per annum (R1.4million to R2.7 million = 193% ÷ 6 years = 32.14% capital appreciation).This is attractive for buy to let investors, as a R1.8 million unit could achieve rental of approximately R12 000 per month.”

He says buyers to date in Eagle’s Ayre Estate are local or from the Durban and surrounds. Each home has been individually designed to provide the best in luxury living enabling residents to move in and simply relax – enjoying sundowners at the estate boma and viewing game in the reserve in the valley below while children splash in the natural rock pool. With a wide range of wildlife, Mayibuye Game Reserve incorporates the Natal Lion Park, animal rehabilitation centre, restaurant and conference centre, craft and garden centre as well as a residential component, including lodges, spread over the total site of 8 500ha which includes valley bushveld and grassland stretching down to the river.


Other attractions within easy reach include Shongweni Dam Nature Reserve, while the 1000 Hills Experience Route includes a host of artists, crafters and cultural villages. The 1000 Hills Choo Choo, which begins its route from Kloof Station nearer Durban, meanders through striking scenery to Cato Ridge.


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