History in the making

Situated along the Garden Route in the Western Cape Province, the region of The Wilderness has arguably some of the most beautiful terrain that the South African coastline has to offer, and it is for this reason that this popular holiday node attracts many tourists and property investors alike, year after year, says Schalk van der Merwe, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Eden, whose office services Wildness and the surrounding areas.

“Just 15km east of George, the area is saturated in rich South African history and since as far back as the 1800’s the area has been known for its long white sandy beaches and lagoons, along with its natural bounty of rivers and lakes, which attract many outdoor enthusiasts. There are many activities in the area such as hiking, mountain-biking and paragliding. There are also activities for the less adventurous that would prefer to take in the breathtaking scenery of the forests and lakes at their own pace. The area has become synonymous with intrinsic tranquility and is ideal for seaside holidays or property investors looking for a change of pace,” says van der Merwe.

He notes that due to the historical significance of the region, there are currently plans for an eco-tourism trail, museum and adventure centre.  The museum will highlight the cultural history of the area and honour its early inhabitants such as the Khoi-Khoi, San and the Gouriquas tribes. There will also be exhibits of the early trek farmers, who left deeply incised wagon wheel imprints in Kaaimansgat, which are still visible today.  Kaaimans is a Khosan name given to the place where the Kaaimans and Swart Rivers join. Kaaimansgat was one of the few places between the mountains and the sea where it was possible to cross the Kaaimans River with a wagon. The first recorded crossing was that of Ensign A. Beutler, who crossed the Kaaimans on 13 October in 1752, heading east on business for the Dutch East India Company.

“A lot of development has occurred over the years since the first wagon crossing. In 1920 a gravel road was built around Dolphin point leading to Kaaimans and linked on the other side of Woodfield, this become the popular way to The Wilderness.  To meet demand and higher volumes of traffic, the N2 Road was built in the late 1940s with the main Kaaiman’s bridge being opened on 20 January, 1950.  The original wagon crossing point was in the area between the causeway and the N2 bridge and although the infrastructure has been modernized to accommodate the growing numbers of people visiting the area, The Wilderness has still maintained its quant coastal town charm,” says van der Merwe. “The lifestyle that is offered along with the unique setting has continued to add to the allure of the region.”

Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that there is always a high demand for property situated within coastal areas that offer both picturesque surroundings and quality-of-life living. These areas generally hold their value and offer buyers a good return on their investments.

One of the properties that RE/MAX Eden currently has on offer in The Wilderness is a hilltop retreat with river frontage that is surrounded by the indigenous fauna and flora of the region. This R8 million home on 10.89 hectares boasts spectacular panoramic views of its surroundings. It offers spacious open-plan reception areas that flow out to the undercover braai and entertainment area featuring a rim-flow pool. The house has two bathrooms and two bedrooms with a third loft style bedroom to complete the picture of this historical property.

“The beauty and unique offering of the area make it a sought-after region. There is nowhere quite like it in South Africa and once people visit The Wilderness they will want to keep coming back,” says van der Merwe.  

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