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Ryk Neethling on estate development and semigration to the Cape Winelands

Olympic swimming champion turned property developer speaks about his involvement as a shareholder and marketing director of the landmark Val de Vie Estate in the Western Cape’s Paarl valley.


“I have been involved [with Val de Vie] for just over a decade. The time for the past I think six years really flew by when we bought Pearl Valley and land that was supposed to be Pearl Valley Phase Two. We bought that in 2014 and since then things just really took off.”

“The first few years were very slow just after the global credit crunch when, I think in the year that I joined, we sold one developer stand the whole year. So it was quite a tough time, but it was also a good time to start.”

“So, when I met Martin [Venter], who was one of the first five employees at Atterbury [Property Cape] in the early 2000s, we really connected … We had this kind of shared passion and background in commercial real-estate development, and I just fell in love with Val de Vie. It was very early days then. There were, I think, 28 homes.”

“Today we’ve just under 2 000 homes. I really bought into his vision and, like I said, the first few years were quite slow-going.”

“People actually warned me and said they didn’t think Val de Vie was going to make it. It was in the time of estates like Gardener Ross, which is now Copper Leaf; there were quite a few estates that went bust in those days.”

(Source, Suren Naidoo)

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