INTRODUCTION | HISTORY
and golf make for a heady mix of pleasures writes Marcus
Special places breathe the spirit of special people.
You can almost feel their presence. Unique characters
lend their homes a unique charm. Steenberg Estate has
only changed hands five times since it was established
in 1682, but no owner possessed more magnetism, charm
and charisma than the first, Catherina Ustings Ras.
Catherina arrived by ship in Cape Town in 1662, a naïve
but ambitious 22-year-old from northern Germany. Her
life was a fairytale, punctuated by the occasional horror
story. She saw one husband eaten by a lion, another
trampled by an elephant, but through it all maintained
a steely stoicism and appreciation of life’s small
Catherina was a free spirit with enormous powers of
persuasion, convincing the governor of the Cape Simon
van der Stel to grant her a small piece of land in the
Constantia valley. Rumours that she was his mistress
may have helped her hand, but what Catherina wanted,
Catherina got. If Simon van der Stel required some boudoir
persuasion to make up his mind, the modern visitor will
have far less trouble concluding what Catherina knew
– Steenberg is a slice of
heaven, the very definition of luxurious, elite living.
All within the Cape Town city limits. What you want,
So impressed were the judges of the International Real
Estate Federation (FIABCI) that in 1998 Steenberg Estate
was recognized with their Prix d’Excellence in
the Rural category.
Steenberg’s modern ‘package’ is unique.
The Manor House of circa 1740 remains the centerpiece,
today a boutique hotel of exquisite character, while
the original winery is home to Catherina’s restaurant,
a five-star dining experience.
Since 1996 the Estate has been a working wine farm where
the emphasis is quality rather than quantity and as
a result the vintages have grown in prestige year by
year. If you enjoy a crisply cold glass of sauvignon
blanc, look no further.
All this and a championship golf course, too. Designed
by premier architect Peter Matkovich, the Steenberg
layout is a study in contrasts, offering anything from
a links, to a desert, to a marshland feel.
One of the great qualities of the course is that it
demands a clear head rather than bludgeoning power.
It is not exceptionally long, but bares its teeth with
strategically placed bunkers and water hazards. You
really will have to use every club in the bag.
And your home? Some 210 plots are thoughtfully and spaciously
laid out around the golf course, all the homes designed
strictly in keeping with the Cape vernacular architectural
style. A further 15 you might struggle to spot, but
up amongst the trees is High Steenberg, where the homes
possess more of a Canadian mountain lodge feel.
Catherina Ustings Ras would have loved
to show you around your new home herself.