The Wilds, intimidating from the name I’m sure. But so not as to mislead you, this is more “Wild-serenity” than “Wild-being-chased-a-by-a-giraffe”. For The Wilds Estate certainly does bring to life that lost African art of living within a natural, unspoiled environment – unspoiled might even be a misnomer, for the only thing developers at the Wilds have done is spectacularly improve upon what was found. The empty, rugged wilderness that stood before, its beauty caught and bottled by the architects of the current landscape, has been transformed into an Eden of living, for residents living within the properties of the Wilds want for nothing, as the very best in shopping experiences and needed facilities are mere minutes away.
I know we all remember, and certainly not with fondness, the end-of-week, end-of-month traffic that ate through our precious time as though a hoard of hyenas tearing through a carcass in some desolate elephant graveyard to be found upon the African savannah (all descriptions in keeping with the estate name – and apparently a little bit with the Lion King movies). In summer, hot leather seats would do nothing to improve the already low morale of all those who sat in bumper to bumper traffic in an attempt to reach that final destination…no, not death, no I mean the halls of shopping malls where life-giving food and other do-da’s are to be found. And in winter? The leather seats doing just as much to aid to our discomfort except now on the opposite end of the temperature scale (it’s like they’ve got it in for us), the traffic just as bad, if not worse as the cold numbing our bodies to the point of not wanting to move, as we’d wait for hours to get a to a place that is usually only a forty minute drive – and that’s already a decent distance.
The Wilds has certainly gone the distance in solving the problem of proximity. Situated moments away from the well-guarded portals of the Estate (such is the security at The Wilds) are the very best in lifestyles centres of Pretoria, and offering the very best of absolutely anything you need – honestly it would probably make more sense to move into the mall. The necessities and wants of life are displayed within brightly lit windows for all to see, as international and local brands alike make their mark on the South African shopper. And around this time of year? It’s as if all these malls were in some sort of to-the-death competition to see who could install the very grandest Christmas decorations.
And the winner of said competition, hands down almost every year, would be Menlyn Retail shopping centre, for their enormous (and absolutely awesome) Christmas light teddy bear, suspended from the ceiling, although it seems more as if it were floating mid-air, inviting you over the rail to join it in its annual dance, a tribute to Christmas – but you know, don’t, it’s like a two story drop. But teddy bear aside (or as far aside as you could get it, such is its size – I mean the things massive), the vast and colourful array of choices within the mall itself leaves nothing to be desired in terms of finding what you need when doing one’s Christmas shopping. And as if that wasn’t enough, the mall looks to expand its horizons, and your field choice as a shopper, through the addition of scores of new stores in a completely, brand-spanking new wing of the centre, construction having begun earlier this year. Finally, as if you needed another reason to head down to one of the largest shopping centres upon the African continent (yes, really), the newly renovated entrances at each of the mall allow for a flow of traffic that would make SANRAL green with envy, an additional three lanes added, meaning that access to the uncountable number of parking spaces available just got even easier – not that it needed to in the first place.
Menlyn, however, is not the only place that spells its name with a silent “unique” (although it is the only place with a giant hanging Christmas teddy bear – honestly I will never get over it, you could take any man or woman to see it and they would fall in love with you out of sheer joy for the thing, trust me I know). The Grove boasts the only ice rink within the greater metropolitan area of Tshwane (also not a bad a place to take a date, the cold within the ice rink enclosure makes appealing the idea of huddling up next to your special someone –Christmas spirit is certainly in the air!). With tons of fun for the whole family, from my ten year old kid sister, to my twenty three-year old self, to my fifty-two year old mother, and good lord was that a sight, the ice rink certainly completes a day joyous and easy-going shopping in the most spectacular way possible.
For what more could you want from an enclosure than a life that sees everything you need at your fingertips and the avoidance of bumper-to-bumper traffic during this holiday season (a golf course? Oh, that's right around the corner, found at Woodhill golf Course and Country Club)? Because that’s a real thing, present year round, not to be boxed up and available under the tree but once a year. All of this is, is what is to be expected from an estate of this genius.
A very, wild, estate.