Selborne History

In the mid-1900s, the area where the estate is situated today was some eighty (80) hectares large and was held by Lord Selborne, the Secretary for the Colonies.

The Selborne homestead, or main hotel Manor house as we know it today, was built and completed in 1954 by Vernon Crookes as the official residence of the M.D of Reynolds Brothers Ltd, the company that operated the local Sezela sugar mill. Only the finest materials were used in the construction of the building, and the entire joinery together with the oak paneling, window panes and flooring was imported from England.

After Mr. Crookes retired in 1964 he acquired the manor house together with 80 hectares of gracious estate for his personal use and named it Selborne Park. The whippet that forms the current estate logo is derived from the Lord Selborne family crest.

During 1979, the magnificent Selborne Park estate, owned by the widow of the sugar magnate Vernon Crookes, came up for sale and Denis Baker bought the estate for his family home and the running of his Fayden Jersey Stud farm. In 1982 he led the South African delegation to the World Jersey Cattle Conference in Canada, after which they toured the USA. While visiting friends in Waterloo, Iowa he played golf at a golf housing estate for the first time which inspired his vision to create Selborne.

Upon his return to South Africa, he began to transform his farm into a golfing residential estate. In 1985 Denis’ dream of a luxury golfing complex at Selborne started to become a reality. In May 1987 the course was opened for play, and the very first residential golf estate in South Africa was born. Old converted railway carriages were used as the first change rooms and halfway house. The homestead turned into a Lodge with seven bedrooms and in due course a new clubhouse was built. The Golf Committee used the Lodge, the current Hotel, as the Members Club House, which operated until January 1989, when the new Club House was completed.

During 1992, nine luxury garden suites were added to the seven-roomed Lodge, creating a 16 roomed Guest House. During the same year the Conference Centre, seating 100 delegates was completed.