Underberg in demand for holiday cottages

Home buyers with young families who are looking for inexpensive holiday cottages for weekends and vacations are turning to the Underberg and Himeville areas of KwaZulu-Natal, says Angela Walker, Pam Golding Properties’ (PGP) area principal.

“Interestingly, the bulk of these are buyers residing in coastal areas, who prefer to retreat to a cooler climate against a scenic mountain backdrop for their leisure getaways. Such properties start at around R700 000 for a small cottage, and even a spacious double-storey home can be had for under R900 000. These properties are set on very generous stands, with plenty of space for children to play. This area still has a distinctly unspoilt charm, fresh mountain air and astonishing beauty which changes according to the season. As a result the climate and landscape is interesting and diverse, and visitors often say it’s invigorating but soothing for the soul. Farming is still the main local industry, followed by tourism, which has potential for future growth.

“Periodically we receive enquiries from expatriates returning to South Africa from overseas, and we are also seeing enquiries from early retirees in their 40s and 50s – particularly from Johannesburg – seeking to escape city life for an alternate lifestyle which may include a guest farm,” she says. The drive to Pietermaritzburg and Oribi Airport is around one hour and 30 minutes, and Durban is approximately two hours.

Leisure activities and attractions in the Underberg and Himeville areas are many and varied. With the popular Drakensberg Gardens area only about a 35km drive, there is good trout fishing in the nearby Umzimkulu and Ngwangwane Rivers, while many private dam owners allow the local fishing club to utilise their dams. Members can book a ‘river beat’ on participating farm owners’ river frontage, or a particular dam to fish for a day. Sani Pass is one of the major local attractions, particularly as it’s far more accessible as the road has been tarred from Himeville to the hotel. Another popular location is Cobham, just 20km away and ideal for families with its gentle day hike and swimming in pristine rock pools.

Says Walker: “Over the years the Underberg district has produced many Springbok polo players, and now the area has a brand new venue which hosts the Southern Districts Polo Tournament from 7-9  September (2012). This is an exciting spectator sport, set in beautiful surrounds.  There is also great interest in local birdlife, with farmers taking more interest in protecting their wetlands, and crowned cranes have special breeding areas which are protected.  Pucketty Farm, with its farm stall and art gallery is well known to visitors, situated right at the entrance to Underberg village, while the Underberg Farmers’ Association Agricultural Show is a big local and family event (29, 30 September 2012). There is also the renowned Splashy Fen Music Festival, which takes place each year at Easter time,” adds Walker.

Homes in Underberg currently on the market through PGP include a well maintained thatch cottage with views to the Himeville Nature Reserve and plenty of space to build another dwelling. Set on a stand of 4047sqm this one bedroomed home is priced at R700 000. A three bedroom home with outstanding views of the Southern Drakensberg is priced at R860 000, and includes generous open-plan living areas, covered verandah and well established garden with mature trees.

Also with scenic views of the Drakensberg Mountains and valley is an elevated three bedroom, two bathroom double-storey A-frame style house with a warm timber interior. With fireplace, under floor heating and a fully fitted kitchen plus a study or fourth bedroom, this property is well priced at R995 000. A charming two bedroom, two bathroom, double-storey home with a garden which is a haven for the owners, their pets and the multitude of birds that come to feed is priced at R895 000.  This property also offers the opportunity to convert a study and storeroom into a self-contained cottage.

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