Greyton - blooming marvellous

The town of Greyton, located about 90 minutes’ drive from Cape Town at the foot of the Sonderend Mountains, is literally blooming as its legendary rose gardens come into their prime.  The town celebrated its 20th annual Rose Fair at the end of October (2011), drawing hundreds of visitors to enjoy a festival of music, arts, cuisine, and above all, floral pageantry.

Pam Golding Properties’ area manager for the northern Overberg, Le Roux van der Merwe, says Greyton is one of the region’s best kept secrets, offering a relaxed country lifestyle in a warm yet cosmopolitan community environment, with low crime levels and a thriving artistic community.

The tranquil hamlet is peppered with art galleries, interior decor shops and craft centres, and hosts a popular fresh produce market on Saturday mornings, displaying the best of local farming efforts and cuisine.  A bird-watchers’ paradise, the village also offers plenty of healthy outdoor activities, from horse-riding and mountain-bike trails to hiking in the surrounding 2200ha nature reserve – the third largest in the Cape.  Greyton is also known as a haven for holistic health, and has a number of spas and alternative therapy centres. These many attractions combine to make the village a popular spot for weekend getaways, and it consequently has a sizeable hospitality sector with numerous B&B’s and restaurants.

Van der Merwe says nobody is quite sure just why the town came into existence. “Greyton was founded in 1854 by Herbert Vigne, just 5km away from the Moravian mission station at Genadendal,” he says.  

“There was no need for another central commercial node for local farmers, and no railway line or mineral deposits to explain why a settlement grew here – it just did!  The village was laid out on a rambling farm named Weltevreden, and was named after the Cape governor of the time, Sir George Grey.  It still retains its basic original layout to this day, and its dominant design theme of Cape vernacular architecture is fiercely protected by the local Aesthetics Committee.  

Other remnants of its early days are the magnificent oak trees which line the village streets.  This is a place where time has stood still to some degree – the atmosphere is still that of a sleepy country hollow only lightly touched by the modern world.  Indeed, Greyton only received electricity in the 1970’s, and the R406 access road was only tarred within the last few years.”

PGP’s MD for the Boland and Overberg regions, Annien Borg, says properties in Greyton range from quaint, rustic cottages to shady farmhouses with a warm, lived-in ambience, and some newer grand-scale country homes.

“Many of the town’s older historic buildings have been beautifully restored, and most properties contain substantial gardens, fed by the village’s leiwater system,” she says.  “One can pay around R1.2 million for a cottage on a sizable plot, going up to R4 million or more for larger three- or four-bedroomed homes, some set on plots as large as 4000sqm.

There are also a number of smallholdings surrounding the town, which can be priced anywhere from R1.5 million, for vacant land, to close to R11 million for those with large luxury homesteads.  Typical crops include mission olives and small-scale vineyards, most notably Sauvignon Blanc.”

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