This is what R300,000 a year buys you at SA’s most expensive high school – which just saw a fee increase of a whopping R22,000

  • Pupils at South Africa’s most expensive school, Hilton College, each get a personalised academic plan and access to 16 academic subjects and 16 sports.
  • The school increased its fees by a whopping R22,040 in 2019 to R298,600 per annum this year
  • The boarding school’s 500 pupils are housed in seven houses on the estate, where they are assigned a personal tutor to make sure they take part.  

Hilton College – South Africa’s most expensive school – offers each pupil a personal tutor and individual academic plan, 16 subjects and 16 sports all on a 1,700-hectare estate in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

The all-boys boarding school increased its fees by a whopping R22,040 in 2019 to R298,600 per annum, comfortably surpassing Michaelhouse – the second most expensive school in South Africa – which charges its pupils R284,000 in 2019.

Hilton College was founded in 1872 as a non-denominational Christian college. It has a chapel on the school grounds and is one of the oldest independent schools in South Africa.

The Chapel on Hilton’s school grounds (Facebook, Hilton College)

The school has several cricket, rugby and hockey fields, tennis and squash courts, a shooting range, as well as a gymnasium and an Olympic-size water polo pool. Its roughly 500 pupils are housed in seven houses on the school grounds.

“Within the houses are well-appointed common rooms, prep and study areas, and recently upgraded ablutions which include private shower compartments,” the school’s website reads.

Churchill House, one of the seven boarding houses, on Hilton’s school ground (Facebook, Hilton College)

Each house has a housemaster, which are “senior appointments, and their lightened teaching loads enable them to pay careful attention to their charges”. House managers are responsible for the day-to-day running of the houses. 

“As women, [the house managers] are also able to bring a motherly touch to the way things happen in the house.”

At Hilton, every pupil is assigned a tutor, a member of the school’s academic staff, whom he has to meet weekly. The tutor is assigned to make sure that pupils are fully involved in the school’s activities.

“Outdated and unacceptable practices, such as fagging and initiation, play no part in the Hilton College culture,” the school says.

Aerial photo of Hilton's school grounds (Facebook,

Aerial photo of Hilton’s school grounds (Facebook, Hilton College)

The Hilton College Nature Reserve is housed on the school’s grounds and Hilton believes that the estate acts as an outdoor classroom where fewer, longer lessons allow for greater engagement, promoting deeper learning.

Map of Hilton’s estate.

Pupils are encouraged to spend time on the estate, fixing pathways, counting animals and compiling checklists of birds of prey.

Routes in the reserve vary from half-hour strolls to hikes that can take a couple of days.

Main image credit: Business Insider SA

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