Search for Mansions

Introducing BorrowDale Brooke, Zimbabwe's Most Expensive Neighborhood with Luxury Villas and Luxury Mansions

The huge Borrowdale estate in north-east Harare with its steep hillsides covered with msasa trees and cut by the near ravines of the Umwindsi River and its tributaries, has always been the desired home of the "comfortably off".

Spectacular views, beautiful scenery and neighbours who are "our sort of people" provide serious attractions to those who have risen to the top of their business or profession. And now a new generation of wealthy men are moving into the estate amid an orgy of mansion building over the past decade, with builders and their earth-moving equipment a prominent sight.

But no one should plan on this suburb without some serious money. While the upper-middle income people might just be able to squeeze into Borrowdale Brooke, you will need a minimum of US$500 000 to build along "millionaires row" in Luna, Umwindsidale, Carrick Creagh and Helensvale all once sections of the huge estate.

The giant 55 000 acre Borrowdale estate was carved out by three officers of the British South Africa Company: Major Frank Johnson, Captain Maurice Heany and Captain Henry Borrow. Officers of the company column had larger land grants and the column commander and two of his company commanders decided to pool their grants. So from the beginning of Harare the estate has been reserved for the better off.

Borrow, who had the misfortune of being second-in-command to Allan Wilson on his ill-fated patrol in Matabeleland, gave his name to the estate when his surviving par tners decided it would be a pleasant memorial.

The estate was soon cut into sections and these were rented out as farms to people who Johnson and Heany liked. Helensvale was named after Helen Shaw, the new wife of the new police adjutant. Those who took Philadelphia, the Brook, Carrick Creagh, Hogerty Hill and Luna named their sections after their home towns or other associations.

The south-west corner, basically the bit between the present race course and Piers Road, was chopped off early on and subdivided into large residential plots before the First World War.

But the residential development of the rest had to wait until after World War II, and even then it was often piecemeal, the older sections being sold off as farms, then subdivided into "gentlemen's estates" which were further subdivided in time into very large plots, a process still going on.

This is why a visitor to Borrowdale will find the odd old farmhouse, or "country house" in a prime sheltered location surrounded by new buildings.

The process started with the areas accessible from Borrowdale Road and moved east, just as the almost similar development of the farm on the south of the Umwindsi River, Glen Lorne, started from Enterprise Road.

The slightly flatter Glen Lorne was more attractive to the developers of the 1950s and 1960s, hence the blocks of one acre plots on that farm.

Now the bulk of the land left for development is right in the north-east of Borrowdale estate, and the extreme hilly terrain means that plots must be large. Even the master plan for Harare recognises that sub-division will be difficult; the whole Umwindsi catchment is designated as very low-density.

Joining the "old money" a new breed of residents, buoyed by a seemingly incessant flow of money, is now transforming the face of Borrowdale.

Where you were likely to be greeted from a distance by overgrown treetops and an odd high mansion in the days of yore, now a visitor is greeted by a wave of rooftops.

But as you come close, you find that the "new money" likes its privacy as much as the "old money"; the 3m wall is almost standard.

This is the unwritten code of Borrowdale where Zimbabwe's rich and famous are spending huge amounts of cash on exquisite houses they invariably draw themselves into a cacoon of privacy.

"The people here need their privacy and they do not want to be disturbed this is why they put boom gates at every road," said one maid who declined to be named.

And it has come at a price for the residents.

For proper maintenance of the house one would need at least two maids, two gardeners and a chef, and that will set even the meanest employer back US$1 000 a month, plus the need for building a modest village in a corner of the plot to house the staff.

While mountain climbing is a pastime for some people here you need to drive as you navigate through the sharp curves and steep slopes to catch a glimpse of the breathtaking view of the new buildings.

Most of the houses are ready for occupation, others are nearing completion or at roof level while some have already been occupied.

"This is an area where you get to see the who's who in the 'money business' and some of the top politicians. As the clock strikes 6pm guys like you are not allowed to drive through," said one gardener who was busy slashing grass off the driveway.

Indeed, the neighbourhood is where you get to see the Reserve Bank Governor, Dr Gideon Gono and businessmen David Govere among others.

But some of those who own these houses are little known but they like to live in luxury. According to one property developer, a modest plot -- and the one acre is a rarety -- would cost you a whopping US$50 000 an acre and slightly around US$500 000 to complete the house.

In this part of town a borehole, pump station and an electricity generator that could power a decent factory are pretty much standard. All that fuel for the "private power station" adds to the monthly expense so even winning the lotto will not mean much; you need the income too.

A hillside swimming pool and tennis court needs a surprising amount of serious earth moving, all adding to the cost.

The reason for such huge amounts of money is that one needs to hire bulldozers, graders and other machinery to level the ground, or at least terrace a hillside to build the sections of your mansion.

The minimum you can pay is US$30 000 in this area but on average you would pay between US$50 000 to US$60 000 for just one acre and most residents want a few acres so they can spread themselves out.

Some hillside houses have to be spread out; there simply is not enough level space to build a single large mansion and the architect has to come up with several blocks of rooms on terraces.

Building costs per square metre are around US$250 to US$500 depending on the construction company, the desired finish and the need to split the house into sections.

However, cost does not equate to value as market determines the prices. But depending on the acres, features on the house such as tennis court, borehole, security wall, swimming pool and whether it is a one or two storey building determines the cost.

A total of 1 000 common bricks cost between US$50 and US$90 while the same quantity of face bricks cost US$100 to US$190. Semi-common bricks are being sold for US$40 to US$90, gutters cost US$9 per 2,4m, while ordinary door frames coast between US$24 and US$35.

Given such figures, one is able to judge whether they are able to move into these plush areas or just dream. Yes, in Zimbabwe, there are some rich men and to them these figures might just be figures as they plan and build their dream home.

Some areas of new development are still a little garish, compared to the "old money" parts of Borrowdale. But those gangs of gardeners, quite often directed by professional landscapers, are transforming the building sites and covering the 20th century farm fields with articulate gardens.

Within a decade or two the new trees, joining the surviving Msasas, will once again cover the hillsides with green; shrubs and ivy will mute the walls; and "new money" Borrowdale will become far more private and discreet, in fact as private and as discreet as "old money" Borrowdale. It will be a haven for the successful.

Luxury Modern Mansion in Pretoria South Africa by Architect Nico van der Meulen

House in Mooikloof  Pretoria by Nico van der Meulen Architects

When the owners of this home approached Nico van der Meulen Architects, their brief was simple: “to design a stunning, cutting-edge, contemporary home”. The only absolute requirement was that it had to be visually extraordinary with an indoor swimming pool.

The relaxed attitude of the client and the large site (10 000m²) provided the architects with a golden opportunity to explore the home three-dimensionally with advanced 3D computer software, and fuse the programmatic requirements into the 3D model. The outcome was a design where form meets function. Enhancing the structure are the incorporation of sun-orientation, circulation, open-plan living areas, view orientation and privacy.

Rudolph van der Meulen, from Nico van der Meulen Architects, explains: “The result is a design where the three dimensionality of the building is celebrated with intersecting planes of steel and glass ‘hovering’ above the solid elements of concrete and plastered brick. Aluminum louvers are used for sun control and privacy, while creating depth and layering. The ground floor was purposely lifted above the landscape to improve the views of the garden, and to create level differences in the ground floor plane. The main bedroom cantilevers over angled concrete columns and reinforces the ‘hovering’ idea”.

The layout centers around the double volume living and dining area. The dining area is placed on a platform to enhance the views towards the garden. The kitchen is more private while at the same time not entirely enclosed (it is open-plan, leading to the indoor pool area). The indoor pool and living area is enclosed with stacking frameless glass doors which gives the inhabitants the opportunity to completely open up the space. Drinks can be conveniently served directly to the pool via an in-water pool bar. The first floor is split with the children’s bedrooms on the one side, and the main bedroom on the other. The main bedroom has a small private lounge area and is open plan to the bathroom. Exterior louvers give privacy for the floor-to-ceiling glass showers. With the exception of the home theatre and the second guest room, which was added later, all rooms are north facing. Even the kitchen that is located behind the indoor pool receives direct north sunlight from the high windows set in the angled roof during winter.

The interior design team from M Square Lifestyle Design ensured that finishes and fittings accentuated the architecture of the home. All fittings were specifically designed and made to suit the architecture of the house. “The interior reflects the exterior with intersecting planes creating points of interest. The exposed steel roof trusses, steel I-beams, and the bent steel staircase tie the interior with the exterior and refer to the quasi industrial aesthetic of the home,” explains Phia van der Meulen of M Square Lifestyle Design.

“The color palette was purposefully monochromatic with accents of red. This is drawn from the external finish specification set out by the architect. The idea was to create a holistic edifice, where the boundaries from inside to out are diffused,” adds Phia. Steel sculptures by Regardt van der Meulen were used to blend with the steel structure.

Some of the materials used included polyurethane flooring over concrete floors, mild steel both raw and powder-coated, natural ash timber veneers and a sandstone gabion wall which adds texture as counterpoint to the black polished steel wall in the lounge.

The look was completed with contemporary furniture supplied by M Square Lifestyle Necessities.

The home fuses aesthetics and functionality and meets the owners’ requirements for cutting-edge design, while fulfilling the lifestyle requirements of a modern South African family.

The landscaping was designed to incorporate a large wetlands feature to contain the water seeping out from the rock underlay and this supply an ample source for irrigation of the extensive property.

Plants used were all indigenous and adapted to the area, while large sculptures by Anton Smit create visual interest in the landscape.

Visit the Nico van der Meulen Architects website – here.

Photography by David Ross


Luxury Contemporary and Modern South Africa House at Pezula by Wessels Joyce Associates

House at Pezula by Wessels Joyce Associates

Visit the Wessels Joyce Associates website – here.

Morukuru Farm House Luxury Guest Home in South Africa

Morukuru, Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa 
5 Bedrooms, 5 Bathrooms(5 Ensuite), Pool
From ZAR R14000 - R59000 (USD $ 2038 - $ 8589)  per night

This Morukuru villa, a completely redesigned vintage farm house, can comfortably accommodate 10 guests in 5 beautifully appointed rooms. The entire farm house will be your own during your stay, providing you with unparalleled privacy.

Morukuru Farm House offers green eco furnishings, modern design and spacious rooms. The garden leads you either to the heated swimming pool, or to one of the patios to enjoy a specially made cocktail by your personal butler.

Located right on the Madikwe Game Reserve, this stunning villa will surely not disappoint in providing exceptional services and amenities, creating unforgettable holiday!

Bedroom / Bathroom Description

Bedroom 1

2 Twin beds, En-suite bathroom with tub, Alfresco shower, Air conditioning, Ceiling fan, Safe, Phone

Bedroom 2

2 Twin beds, En-suite bathroom with tub, Alfresco shower, Air conditioning, Ceiling fan, Safe, Phone

Bedroom 3

2 Twin beds, En-suite bathroom with tub, Alfresco shower, Air conditioning, Ceiling fan, Safe, Phone

Bedroom 4

2 Twin beds, En-suite bathroom with tub, Alfresco shower, Air conditioning, Ceiling fan, Safe, Phone

Bedroom 5

2 Twin beds, En-suite bathroom with tub, Alfresco shower, Air conditioning, Ceiling fan, Safe, Phone

Features & Amenities

Alarm system
Child friendly
Air conditioning
Heating system
Ceiling fan
Cable TV
DVD player
Home theatre
CD player
iPod dock
Wi-Fi access
Fax machine
Baby equipment
Fitness equipment
Laundry facility
Hair dryer
Toaster oven
Coffee maker
Coffee grinder
Food processor
Table-top grill
Outdoor Features

Swimming pool
Alfresco shower
Outdoor bath
Alfresco dining
Charcoal BBQ
Gated property
Staff & Services


All inclusive services – please refer to Additional Information below for details
At Extra Cost – advance notice may be required:

Early check-in fee
Late check-out fee
Event fee
Spa treatment
Live entertainment
Cocktail workshops
Water park
Exclusive air transfer via Morukuru Air
Villa Policies

Maximum 10 guests
Children welcome
Non-smoking villa
Pets not permitted
Security deposit required
Wedding/Social events accepted
Getting There

Transport available

2 hours helicopter service to hospital
2 hours drive to Gaboronne
4 hours drive to airport
Additional Information

Accommodation includes:
Meals and non-alcoholic drinks
House wines
Local spirits
Private butler
Private chef
Personal nanny
Personal ranger & tracker
Game vehicle
Private game drives & bush walks
Sun downers
Bush breakfasts & bush dinners
Hide stays
Transport within the Madikwe Game Reserve
Return transfer to Morukuru from the Madikwe Air Strip or Madikwe Entrance Gate
Medical emergency response & evacuation
Laundry service
Airport assistance service
The Morukuru family is there to offer you the best exclusive private safari getaway. Set in a private property exclusive for its guests, but within an unfenced part of the malaria free Madikwe Game Reserve, Morukuru stands for an exclusive concept as you will have one of the three amazing Morukuru Villas to yourself with your own itinerary (so no schedules!) and your personalized highly qualified staff to look after you during your stay.

Nestled in your own private villa, you will be surrounded by an abundance of the infamous big five and including Lion, Elephant and Rhino. This is the ultimate bush freedom with a friendly brand of South Africa luxury and hospitality and access to the finest of nature’s beauty.

You'll not only have the entire property to yourself, but a personal staff to attend to your every whim. Even more wonderful are the utterly private safaris. Your personal game ranger works with a gifted Shangaan tracker; together they're a sharp team and will lead you not on any ordinary game drive to see predators (which you will), but on an adventure that will make you feel as if you are personally stalking wild animals. You can even enjoy breakfast or dinner right in the bush! While the rangers’ love of the bush is infectious, he is also brilliant with kids, making the whole wildlife experience interactive and fascinating.