KZN eco-estate uses innovative model to support local community

While the launch of Serenity Hills, the dynamic eco-estate in Margate, may be the start of something amazing for the new residents, it’s actually part of a larger story of community upliftment that dates back to 2015 – with the establishment of Sweetdale Skills Center.

Swiss entrepreneur, Roland Wenger, his wife, Sibylle, and their two children, Sam and Connie, are committed to improving the lives of those around them in a meaningful and sustainable way. This commitment saw them establish the Skills Center which provides disadvantaged youth, women and disabled people on the KZN South Coast with employable skills. Students receive expert instruction from experienced trainers in a variety of skills including, painting, carpentry, boilermaking, landscaping, restoration, cooking and in hospitality.

The Skills Center is also developing and coaching emerging entrepreneurs in communities to promote self-sustainability and sustainable job creation.

“’Learning by doing’ is the heartbeat and success of the Skills Center,” explained Sam Wenger, Development Director of Serenity Hills. “It was established as a way to encourage communities to participate in the economy of South Africa, with the aim of improving their living conditions. The connection with Serenity Hills is an extension of this long-term vision.”

The Skills Center consists of various workshops, dorm facilities, classrooms and outstanding communal areas – a place to feel safe and share the act of kindness. As part of practical training for qualified artisans, the Skills Center provides services to the state-of-the-art Serenity Hills Eco-Estate. Through this partnership, homeowners have the benefit of using these talented individuals for: 

     Gardening and landscaping

•     Carpentry


     Housekeeping and hospitality

The community upliftment doesn’t end there. The award-winning restaurant, The Packshed, is another of the Wenger family’s initiatives being incorporated into the Serenity Hills eco-estate. Besides providing world-class fusion food, The Packshed forms part of the Skills Center, providing practical experience for chefs- and waiters-in-training.

Beyond this, the Wenger family has established the impactful Sweetbike Community Project which provides disadvantaged schoolchildren with refurbished bikes so that they can get to and from school easier. With limited transportation, and vast distances in accessing schools in rural locations, many children are forced to walk hours to access education – leading to a higher dropout rate and increased safety risks for children. Sweetbike sources pre-owned quality bikes from Europe, with the mechanic team at Sweetbike Workshop – also part of the Skills Center – then refurbishing the bikes for donation to pupils.

“Serenity Hills has been developed around this same concept of sustainability and community upliftment,” continued Wenger. “When people buy into the estate, they can benefit from the homegrown talent while knowing they are supporting local skills development. It’s not just about buying a house; it’s about buying into a compassionate community.”

Alongside the community commitment, investors at Serenity Hills will enjoy a number of world-class amenities. These include:

•      A-grade security

•      Pet-friendly

•      Mountain biking trails

•      Individual solar power options

•      Sustainable water sources

•      Walking and running routes

•      On-site medical care

•      Artistic workshops

•      Award-winning food and beverage outlets

•      Sustainable design

•      Low-density living

•      A clubhouse

•      Abundance of wildlife and birdlife

To find out more about Phase 1 of Serenity Hills, visit or follow @serenityhillsecoestate on Facebook and Instagram.