“No more do the people of Tshwane have to wake up at the crack of dawn to hit the R21 and rush to OR Tambo International in Kempton Park.”
These were the words with which Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa recently launched Airlink’s first scheduled service from the newly refurbished and upgraded Wonderboom Airport north of Pretoria, which aims to provide a convenient and cost-effective alternative to OR Tambo International for domestic travellers who live in Pretoria, Rustenburg and nearby Limpopo towns such as Bela Bela and Nylstroom.
Working in partnership with SAA, the first service operates between Pretoria and Cape Town and has already caught on among local travellers, with its three return flights a day operating at capacity. And with further inter-city services planned, the mayor also said during his opening speech that guest houses, lodges, B&Bs and hotels around the airport should start looking at expanding and upgrading to accommodate an increase in both leisure and business tourism to Tshwane.
“These services will reduce travel time and also costs for local residents who want to travel to other major urban centres, but will also make it much easier for people from those centres to visit Pretoria,” he said. “This will result in more money being spent within Tshwane and thus contribute to economic growth and job creation in the city.”
Rawson Property Group Managing Director Tony Clarke says this certainly seems likely, since Tshwane offers leisure travellers easy access to scores of important heritage sites and the malaria-free game and nature reserves of the Dinokeng and Waterberg areas, as well as lovely weather.
“The city also has thousands of businesses located in multiple commercial and industrial nodes, and business travellers are also bound to appreciate quicker access to these companies. For example, the major vehicle manufacturing centre of Rosslyn lies very close to Wonderboom Airport along the N4 freeway, as does the internationally-renowned Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute.”
“Meanwhile Pretoria, as the country’s administrative capital, also houses scores of embassies, consulates and international NGOs, whose staff must often travel to Cape Town and other cities, not to mention the large number of MPs and other government officials who commute frequently between Parliament and their homes in Pretoria.”
Figures show, he says, that about 40% of the domestic users of OR Tambo International actually live within 25km of Wonderboom Airport, and that ultimately the facility is expected to attract at least 2 million passengers a year.
“As things are, though, the redevelopment of the airport and planned expansion of its scheduled services is already having a marked effect on the property market in the neighbouring suburb of Doornpoort.”
“It has shone spotlight on the area, which statistics from property data company Lightstone show still consists mostly of freehold homes (65%), although the development of many new complexes in recent years has taken the sectional title component to 34%, with a handful of estates making up the balance.”
“They also show,” notes Clarke, “that the average price of freehold homes in the suburb has risen from R995 000 last year to R1 030 000 now, and that the average prices of sectional title homes shot up from R670 000 to R740 000 after the airport upgrade plans were announced last year. Sales of flats and townhouses in the area reached their highest levels since 2011 as investors piled in ahead of an expected increase in demand for local rental accommodation among airport and aviation staff.”
However, he says, there is as yet no chronic shortage of homes for sale in Doornpoort and there is still excellent value to be found there. “Current advertised prices for two bedroom, one bathroom townhouses in modern secure complexes start at around R540 000, and those for three bedroom, one bathroom units at around R590 000 – which also makes it a great choice for young singles or couples who work in one of the many businesses and retail outlets located in the Kolonnade Centre and all along Zambezi Drive in the neighbouring suburbs of Montana, Sinoville and Annlin”.
“Prices for units with two bathrooms that are more suited to young families range from around R620 000 all the way up to around R1,2 million depending on the size of the unit and garden, the security provisions and other facilities in the complex such as a pool and clubhouse.”
Meanwhile for family buyers with older children who want bigger gardens and more space, the prices of freehold properties start at just under R900 000 for houses with three bedrooms and two bathrooms and range up to just over R2 million for a luxury home with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, three living rooms, staff quarters and a double garage.
“And although the area does still has something of a ‘country’ feel about it,” says Clarke, “residents do not have to face long commutes to access schools, shops or medical facilities. Laerskool Magalieskruin; Hoërskool Montana; the Doornpark and Village Square shopping centres and the Netcare Montana Hospital are all less than five kilometres away.”