At this time of the year, the mountainous regions of the Eastern and Western Cape offer home buyers the unique appeal of cosy winter getaways with scenic slow-clad vistas and the promise of crackling log fires.

Comments Wayne Rubidge, Pam Golding Properties (PGP) area principal for the Karoo and North Eastern Cape regions: “The popular mountainous areas include the Western Cape’s Klein Karoo, in particular in the vicinity of the Swartberg Mountains where towns such as Prince Albert, one of the Karoo’s most exclusive towns, are highly sought after among home buyers from around the country.  In this town, over the past eight months PGP has sold 12 properties at a total value of R13 million with the highest price being R2.7 million for a historical Karoo home.”

He says the Eastern Cape arguably has the best snow, particularly around Rhodes in the Southern Drakensburg and the mountainous area north of Graaff-Reinet, which annually receives heavy snowfalls  and is transformed into a ‘little Switzerland’ for a couple of weeks each year. Snow towns include the picturesque villages of Rhodes, Lady Grey and Nieu Bethesda. 

“Mountain getaways and small farms above 3500 feet are the most popular category of property when it comes to snow in sun-rich South Africa. Probably because of our abundance of sunny days, images of picture-perfect snow scenes, exhilarating crisp, clean air, log fires and the accompaniments of winter add appeal to this special category of property.  Buyers both South African and from Europe have realised the advantages of this type of property. These include a healthy climate, abundant mountain spring water supplied to the underground aquifers by the melting snow, and beautiful mountain scenery with snow-capped peaks which grace the landscape,” says Rubidge.

Snowy mountain properties in the Karoo Highlands ranges, which form part of the great escarpment, are priced from R2000–R5000 per hectare. These include a 844 hectare property in Nieu Bethesda with views of the snowcapped Compassberg, which is the highest peak in the Cape Province at 8200 feet. Priced at R2.98 million, this property has the remnants of an old stone motel that was used in the days of ox wagons trekking north into the interior, as well as a river running through it. On the northern slopes of the Sneeuberg Mountain Range is an exquisite 300 hectare property which is part of a 2000 hectare private nature reserve with a watermill that needs restoration and a historic shed with reed ceilings and cobbled floor. This property is priced at R2.8m.

On special promotion is an investment opportunity in the 5000 hectare High Karoo Park which is surrounded by the highest peaks in the Northern Cape Province. This property, with its abundant water which filters from the snow capped mountains into the fountains and streams, is a very special nature farm.  A 10 percent shareholding in the High Karoo Park can be acquired for USD 250 000, and this includes the right to use existing historic farmhouses, or you can refurbish your own stone cottage. In the North Eastern Cape near Rhodes, home of the first South African ski resort, is a beautiful 222 hectare farm with 1.5km of river frontage with excellent wild trout fishing. There is mountain spring water for the house, which is fully furnished and has 3G cellphone reception. The farm is on the market for R3.5 million through Pam Golding Properties.
Adds Rubidge: “Mostly grassland in nature, the vegetation in most of these mountain ranges changes as the altitude gradient increases. Wildlife and nature are the sought after experience with hiking, horse riding, trout fishing popular activities. Game in these areas can include species such as zebra and other grazers that thrive on high altitude grassland plateaux. Wingshooting and birding are also popular in these pristine mountainous regions with clean air, fresh water and an unforgettable environment.”

Issued by Gaye de Villiers

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