KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), or more popularly known in South Africa as being the Zulu Kingdom is an exciting, spectacular and fascinating multi-cultural showpiece destination mostly known for its warm Indian Ocean in the east and soaring peaks to the west.
This region excites with its biggest attraction destination as the coastal iSimangaliso, better known for being the Greater St Lucia, due to key landmarks in Zulu history and evidence of early man living in the caves up high in the Lebombo mountains dating back 130 000 years and providing scientist with clues regarding the lifestyle of this prehistoric settlers. From this cave alone almost 69 000 stone implements and various human remains have been recovered. KwaZulu-Natal is also mainly known for being mountainous with its 'Barrier of Spears' uKhahlamba-Drakensberg, exhibiting Stone Age cave paintings. Drakensberg is the name given to the eastern portion of the Great Escarpment, which encloses the central Southern African plateau. The Great Escarpment reaches the highest altitudes in this region.
Historical legends that shaped the country encouraged the naming of The Zulu Kingdom, to be referred to as the Zulu Empire sometimes, being the monarchy in Southern Africa that extended along the Indian coast from the Tugela River in the south to Pongola River in the north. The small kingdom grew to dominate the area under the rise of famous Zulu King - Shaka.
The gateway city of KwaZulu-Natal is the busy hub of Durban, this coastal city in the east, is known for its African, Indian and colonial influences. The Golden Mile beachfront is a popular destination for surfers, joggers, sun-bathers and water-sports enthusiasts. Refurbished for the Soccer World Cup in 2010, the seafront parade starts at uShaka Marine World, a large theme park with an aquarium, and ends by the futuristic Moses Mabhida stadium. This part of KZN of course boasts pulsating and inviting fusion of Eastern and Zulu heritage overlooking Africa's busiest picture-postcard seaport.
Also known to be a magnet for thrill-seekers in the great outdoors - from wave riders to hang-gliders, and golfers to mountain bikers, is the vacation destination Umhlanga. Umhlanga Rocks has many luxury hotels and apartments right on the beach, including the Cabana Beach Hotel, the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Oyster Box Hotel, the Umhlanga Sands Hotel and Pearls of Umhlanga apartments. Many of these have views of the landmark lighthouse. “Umhlanga contains a large selection of apartments, townhouse complexes and free-standing homes. It is popular with professional couples, business people and retirees seeking a relaxed lifestyle in a seaside location that is also convenient to offices, shops, medical facilities and entertainment venues” stated Conrad Vorster, Licence Partner of Engel & Völkers Umhlanga.
Conrad added that Umhlanga Proper is generally not for first-time buyers. Apartment prices start from around R2 million for a 2 bedroomed unit and R3.2 million for 3 bedrooms, while luxury units on the beachfront sell for R5.5 million upwards, and penthouses start at around R10 million.
On the doorstep of Umhlanga, you will find the town of Ballito, also located on the North Coast. It is rapidly shaking off its former status of being predominantly a holiday resort where you can only expect to see year-round frolicking dolphins and majestic seasonal whale migrations. It is now a residential community which is quickly becoming a favourite for working commuters overflowing from Durban and Umhlanga. Particularly the world renowned Zimbali Coastal Resort and Simbithi Eco-Estate in the Ballito area are noteworthy.
Ballito caters for a broad cross section of buyers, ranging from entry-level 1 bedroomed apartments at R800 000 and 2 bedroomed units from R950 000, to the middle market where 2 and 3 bedroomed apartments and homes are priced between R1.5 million and R2.5 million. “At the top end of the market a luxurious 4 or 5 bedroomed units in an upmarket apartment building will achieve in excess of R3.5 million and 4, 5 or 6 bedroomed standalone homes within a luxury lifestyle development will set you back from R5.5 million upwards” shared Gert Vorster, Licence Partner of Engel & Völkers Ballito.
Moving along to the South Coast of KZN, you will find nature's annual extravaganza, the unforgettable cast-of-millions- the wonder of the sardine run. The South Coast starts with Amanzimtoti, which is just 10 to 15 minutes’ drive from Durban. This area has had a boom in retail property development. The latest mega-store to open is Makro, which joins the Galleria Mall and Arbor Crossing which offers a wide variety of shopping. The South Coast consists of miles and miles of golden beaches, forests, rolling hills and all-year round sunshine, making it one of the prime holiday destinations in Southern Africa.
For those who enjoy swinging a club, the South Coast known as the Golf Coast boasts a number of world-renowned golf courses with spectacular sea views and memorable 19th holes. They are Umkomaas, Scottburgh,Umdoni, Selborne, Port Shepstone, Margate, Southbroom, San Lameer, Port Edward and Wild Coast Golf Course.
A further 2 hour drive away, you will find a cluster of towns to choose from. Stretching from Hibberdean to Port Edward alongside the Wild Coast to Margate. “Entry-level prices for town-houses are between R600 000 and R700 000 upwards, with 1 bedroomed apartments starting from R400 000 and 2 bedroomed apartments from around R520 000. In good areas, the entry-level cost of a 3 bedroomed house is around R1.1 million, while at the top-end of the market prices start from R1.5 million upwards. “As a result of the demand in this area we have experienced recently, good stock is difficult to hold on to, as they sell very quickly” stated Natalie Herbert, Licence Partner of Engel & Völkers Margate.
Currently the average price of properties across KZN is R2,5 million with 44,798 properties currently on the market. The growth to the north has stimulated sales in the Ballito region, with attractive estate living as well as the holiday market and business growth recorded to have gone up with 112% over the last year. Turning further South, an increased demand for primary residential property has slowly crept into the South Coast from Amanzimtoti through to Scottburgh and even as far as Umtentweni where sales have increased by 20% to 30% year on year. “Looking ahead, the KZN residential market looks set to be the most vibrant this year, at least in terms of potential house price growth and return on investment” stated Craig Hutchison CEO of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa. “The North Coast of Kwa Zulu Natal is the new ‘Cape Town’ when it comes to property. It’s about a preferred location because of the many opportunities for business and local economic growth” Craig concluded.