Savoy Estate is a residential community of about 2,000 people in the northern suburbs adjacent to Johannesburg proper, in Gauteng Province, South Africa, Region E. Unlike the better-known, trendy and touristy Joburg suburbs next door in Region B, Savoy Estate is a quiet, reserved neighborhood tucked between De Villiers Graaff Motorway and Louis Botha Avenue, wedged above Highlands North and below Sandton, approximately halfway to Midrand from central Johannesburg. Savoy Estate is an ideal place for a family with children to own a home within close range of the city. Close enough to be accessible to hot spots in Joburg and the northern suburbs, but insulated from all the noise and congestion.
History and Lifestyle
Savoy Estate is typical of the middle and upper class communities in the northwest portion of Region E where it meets Region B’s eastern boundary. It is gracefully, slowly modernizing and it is deliberately not urbanizing. Somewhat similar to Highlands Park, but slightly less expensive, Savoy Estate has grown up out of a sparsely settled older established residential area dating back to the early 1900’s, and it has a substantially Jewish identity. Homes are typically large but unspectacular, and the streets are organically arranged rather than being laid out on a square grid. The town of Waverly sits adjacently on its southwestern flank, with Lyndhurst to the east and Bramley directly to the north.
The name “Savoy” is reminiscent of the region in the West Alps of France where the Royal House of that name reigned from the Renaissance period to the Napoleonic years, and its influence upon the colonization of South Africa echoes faintly in the name and architecture of Savoy Estate. Ashkenazi Jews who left Western Europe in order to seek more secure property rights and religious freedom were instrumental in establishing South Africa as a commercial hub and they have maintained their traditions in Savoy Estate among many other areas around Johannesburg.
The refined and traditional atmosphere of Savoy Estates is reflected in its main attractions, which comprise the elements of family life, work, weekly worship, and education. The local schools are excellent for children of all ages. The Chabad House provides a fruitful Jewish learning and community center. Gan Yisrael Camp and Savoy Girls School raises children according to their parents’ conservative standards, and the Jane Pick School of Ballet offers fine arts training, among other similar small but high quality institutes here.
Things to Do in Savoy Estate
Quick access to the major roadways north of Johannesburg make it very easy getting to and from Savoy Estate. The major hubs of the city’s financial, entertainment, and cultural life such as Sandton, Parkhurst, Four Ways, Killarney, The Wanderers Cricket Ground, and Melrose Arch are all within a few minutes’ drive. Tambo International Airport is thirty minutes away and the safari/game reserves are a straight shot to the northeast for a day trip.
Savoy Estate is a very small district encompassing only 0.45 square km. So there are few restaurants, shopping centers, nightspots, or hotels within its boundaries. Mentionable exceptions include the Gradevole Ristorante Indo Italian Restaurant, which serves traditional and eclectic Italian and Mediterranean dishes, a Savoy Spar Kosher food supermarket, and a conveniently located franchise of Nando’s. There are two noteworthy, excellent guest accommodations. The first is Hotel Capri, and the second is the Savoy Guest House, with a pool, terrace, billiards hall, and free wi-fi, where each room has a refrigerator, a private entrance, and a tea/coffee maker and where some suites even have their own private gardens.
Climate and Living in Savoy Estate
Summers (October to March) are warm, generally 30°C (86°F) in the daytime and 26°C (79°F) at night. Afternoon thundershowers are common, but are usually dissipated by evening leaving behind a clear sky and comfortable nights. Winters are mild, with cool, dry, sunny days in the single digits to the upper teens C (40-65°F). But temperatures will dip slightly below freezing in the coldest part of the season between July and August.
Home prices in Savoy Estate are not excessive and are generally comparable to surrounding areas. A typical 3 bedroom, 2 bath house with a pool, large yard, and garage goes for between R750,000 and 4,000,000, with the average home price running near 1,500,000. Two bed, 2 bath flats cost anywhere between R100,000 and R750,00 while providing excellent security services and amenities.
Savoy Estate is a neighborhood for middle class families with traditional values to enjoy summer days in the yard by the pool with friends and relatives grilling on the barbecue, or an afternoon gathered around the TV watching a rugby match and ordering out for pizza. On Saturdays and Sundays, the synagogues and churches will be active, and during the week, the kids will have their schedules packed full of schoolwork and extracurricular activities. Tourists will not find much to see or do here, but the locals like it that way.