One of the most sought-after properties in Cape Town, the 1728 original ‘Belle Ombre’ (meaning “Beautiful Shade”) farm and homestead is on the market in Constantia Upper, says Francois Venter, a luxury property specialist with Seeff Southern Suburbs.
The Victorian-styled home is set on a corner plot of 5 257sqm with dual access in the sought-after pocket of The Avenues. It dates to the origins of the suburb and comes with an interesting history.
The original farm was granted to two brothers named Beck in 1728 and included two properties, Belle Ombre and Goedgeloof. The property changed hands several times from 1744 and by 1872 was bought by Johannes Rathfelder of the well-known family who owned “Rathfelders Inn” in Diep River.
According to “The Great Houses of Constantia” by Philippa Dane and Sydney-Anne Wallace (1981), several changes were made to the property in the late 19th century and later to accommodate the lifestyles of the time.
These included adding a hearth (which was later moved), replacing the thatched roof with a flatter Welsh slate roof and adding two chimney stacks and changing the front façade to French windows. Some early characteristics remain such as original yellowwood beams and Oregon doors, but the parquet flooring was added at a later period.
Venter says the property is located in a high-demand neighbourhood which offers exceptional investment value. The home still offers authentic architectural detail with many gorgeous, traditional, and classic features.
These include French doors and sash windows, verandas, wooden floors, authentic fireplaces and the original farmhouse eat-in kitchen with a pantry and laundry. There are multiple living rooms, three bedrooms and an oversized loft room in the main house as well as a separate one-bedroomed cottage with a lounge and veranda which overlooks the tennis court.
Additional features of this remarkable property include a full-staff accommodate suite and a double tandem garage that fits four cars and extra storage. The garden is well-established with rolling lawns and two pools (including an eco-pool with an entertainment deck).
There is also a treehouse for kids, a sunken trampoline and a Wendy House for garden equipment. Additional features include a solar geyser as well as solar panels with inverters and backup batteries and top-class security
The property offers a rare tranquillity in the heart of Cape Town, regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, says Venter. It is on the market for R35 million.
Constantia Upper currently ranks as one of the most exclusive suburbs in South Africa. It is particularly desirable for its country-like lifestyle yet with immediate access to the oldest wine farms in the country, top private schools and the University of Cape Town.
The suburb attracts a diverse range of buyers including semigration buyers from upcountry areas such as Gauteng and foreign buyers. It has also seen a considerable volume of high-value transactions with about 30 sales above R20 million since the onset of the COVID-pandemic in March 2020, the highest volume in the country equalled only by Camps Bay.
Constantia Upper has not only sustained its property values during the pandemic, but Venter concludes that demand remains high as buyers and investors look to get into the market.