Sardinia Bay Golf & Wildlife Estate in Gqeberha is a place where kids can still be kids.
As sad as it is, the days of children being able to roam around the suburbs without fearing what may lurk around the next corner are becoming few and far between.
Most parents no longer have the confidence to allow their little ones to play street cricket ‘til dark or disappear to a friend’s house for hours on end.
It is a very different story at Sards.
Day and night you’ll find groups of beaming children riding their bikes, kicking a ball or meandering about to investigate a new animal on the property – completely free to enjoy the wonders of this world.
They are enjoying the type of childhood that created so many wonderful memories for the generations before them.
It was what attracted Hilli Badenhorst and her husband to the 100ha property that sports around-the-clock security and access control.
The couple, who are originally from Bloemfontein, have been living at Sards with their two children for a year and could not be happier.
Four years ago, Badenhorst had been offered a job opportunity in Gqeberha but was required to decide “on the spur of the moment”.
Neither she nor her spouse had been to the Friendly City before but loved the idea of their children growing up on the coast.
They stayed in Lovemore Heights at first but having lived on a wildlife estate in the Free State, hoped to move to the development.
“In the suburbs my kids, who were four and five at the time, didn’t even ride a bike.
“Now they have quality of life and can ride any time of day or night or whenever they want. They love playing outside.”
As an illustration of just how safe her children are on the estate, they recently embarked on a treasure hunt with friends that only saw them returning home three hours later.
While Badenhorst was able to track them via her phone, they were on their own all that time.
“They even stopped at the golf club for a cooldrink!”
Playing rugby and soccer in the lanes were other favourite pastimes of her seven and eight-year-old, she said.
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The family are also regular visitors to Sardinia Bay beach since it is “only a minute’s” drive away. And with two fur babies joining the household recently, the dog park has become a popular port of call.
“For someone coming from somewhere else, PE is so great. I love it. It’s really underrated,” she claimed.
The Hugo family has found Sards so nice they’ve moved in twice.
After first arriving in 2017, they decided to build their own home, a process that took a year. They returned to the estate about two months ago.
Natasha grew up in Mtubatuba on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast and as a child had the freedom to walk to a friend’s house or even play in the sugarcane fields whenever she wanted.
Seeing her own children being able to enjoy that kind of life fills her with joy as “this is the way it is supposed to be”.
“My 10-year-old rides all over the estate and often goes for a walk. My eight-year-old is still a little young but we often go for walks with him,” she said.
“In the suburbs you are confined to your yard but here people go walking in the morning or afternoon.
“You can also alert people on the WhatsApp group that your kids are out. Everyone looks out for everyone else.”