City dwellers heads for the Karoo

Buyers seeking a complete lifestyle change are continuing to be drawn to more affordable, smaller towns, not only for budgetary reasons but also in pursuit of a more tranquil lifestyle in a scenic setting.

In the Klein Karoo, Pam Golding Properties area manager, Masood Husain, says the property market is picking up and that recently most enquiries are from those in the senior lifestyle category looking for a getaway option where they can escape city stresses and crime, dabble in farming and enjoy a better quality of life.

“Many of these enquiries are from Gauteng residents, some of whom wish to relocate permanently while others are looking to move in the future, while enjoying this as a leisure getaway in the interim. Currently vacant land in the area is available at exceptionally affordable prices, with a portion of land of approximately seven hectares in Ladismith recently sold for R245 000 and a 54ha piece of land in Calitzdorp acquired for a mere R170 000,” says Husain.

He says the peaceful town of Ladismith, presided over by the iconic Towerkop mountain, is not far from the World Heritage Site of the Seweweekspoort mountain range. “Things are stirring in the town and a new restaurant, De Oude Pastorie, has been established right on the R62, while Ladismith Wine Cellars have a revamped building on the same site – ideal to appeal to tourists along this popular route. There are also a great deal of guest houses and accommodation establishments situated in and around town, as well as an independent winery, Hillock, which is making a name for itself. Events such as the Seweweeksport annual Mountain Bike Race, as well as the Ladismith Eco Festival and the monthly street /farmer’s market are enhancing awareness of the attributes of the town,” says Husain.

Currently Pam Golding Properties (PGP) is marketing a historic home in the typical Ladismith style with the uniquely local ‘Ladismith eyes’ round ventilator openings, priced at R1.15 million. Dated circa 1885 and set on a large, double stand the property includes a main four bedroom house (three en suite), large farmstyle kitchen with huge fireplace and scullery and luxurious design detail and original fittings. There is also a separate guest cottage, braai lapa with pool, large garden, while a rooftop terrace is ideal for entertaining. In addition to well priced homes available for purchase in the town, ranging in price from R550 000 to R1.8 million, is a spectacular farm comprising 1020ha of veld and surrounded by breathtaking mountain views. Complete with land for grazing or crops, abundant water including a few waterfalls which help create an ambience of peace and privacy, this property is marketed by Pam Golding Properties for R1.945 million.

“Another fascinating town is Van Wyksdorp, a small town with not even a tarred road but with a thriving farming community – especially those focusing on organic produce, and a tremendous community spirit conducive to social get-togethers. This is the home of Laharna Olives which are found in various prime outlets in Cape Town, with Rooiberg Lodge and game farm popular for idyllic getaways. The houses in Van Wyksdorp are quaint, with a number of Victorian examples, and the town has many residents of artistic talent whom have retired here from the Cape Town area and surrounds. This is a tranquil location with views of scenic mountains and Karoo veld,” says Husain. One of the prime properties currently on the market is a historic watermill farm which has been painstakingly restored to high standards as a guest farm, with five charming cottages. One of about five original watermills in the area, this is now the only remaining example. All the cottages have their original features and one of these, the langhuis, has a 21m long stoep (veranda) which can be used as a restaurant, gift shop or even gallery. “This is an eco-friendly setting, with ample water and solar panels, a large vegetable garden and fruit trees. The main house, again with a stoep which provides serenity and views, has two additional bedrooms. The property is priced at R4.95 million through PGP,” adds Husain.

Located on the R62 not far from Oudtshoorn is the home of the well-known Calitzdorp port and wine farms, large fruit farms and a few game farms. Set among the picturesque mountains is this thriving artists’ community of Calitzdorp, a small but lively town. Says Husain: “The Groenfontein road is a ‘must-drive’ loop with spectacular scenery and the gallery of the renowned photographer, Roger Young. The iconic NG Church building looms proudly over the town and hosts amazing organ recital performances by Father Noel-Jean Creil, a maestro of world standards. The town has beautiful, old historic houses with an elegant Victorian throwback, and other properties with huge potential such as the Handelshuis restaurant, gallery and potential B&B, a Portuguese influenced guesthouse, tastefully resorted barn for a bohemian ambience, a getaway cottage or even an ideal millionaire’s residence for high class living. Prices of homes and other properties on the market through PGP range from R59 000 to R5.5 million.

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