West Coast game farms see rise in demand

South Africa’s farming community has experienced a difficult few years, amid security concerns, global economic turmoil and uncertainty over land reform.  But one segment of the market which is seeing renewed interest is that of farms located in the Cape West Coast region, says Pam Golding Properties (PGP).  

The company is experiencing a steady increase in enquiries from buyers seeking game farms and smallholdings in this area, either as lifestyle purchases or with a view to developing the properties as commercial or eco-tourism ventures.

PGP agent Liza Steyn says the farming area around the small town of Hopefield is proving particularly popular, thanks to its proximity to Cape Town, just 120km away, as well as to the unspoiled beaches of the coastline.  The commercial hub of Vredenburg is also just 30 minutes’ drive from Hopefield, and offers the necessary amenities such as schooling, healthcare and shopping at the new West Coast Mall.  “The area surrounding Hopefield offers options for those seeking anything from 1ha to 20ha or 50ha farms, while slightly further away from town, there are large-scale farms suitable for game,” she says.

“Some of our buyers simply want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and forge a lifestyle for their families that is quieter, calmer, and closer to nature,” she continues. “The smaller properties are well suited to this category, and are also sought-after by equestrians as they have ample space for horses.  Other buyers are approaching their purchases as commercial ventures, with a view to developing the properties as working farms or for the hospitality industry.  A number of our buyers have previously farmed livestock and crops on larger properties in the inland provinces, but have been drawn to the Cape in search of better security.”

Value for money and scenic location are two key factors attracting buyers to this region, and Steyn says small fynbos farms are particularly popular – especially in the late winter / early spring season with its magnificent floral displays.  “One can obtain a 1ha smallholding for as little as R200 000 to R350 000,” she says, “while 20ha farms are priced from around R540 000 upwards.  Even a larger farm of over 40ha can still be purchased for only a little over R1milllion.  Game farms by their very nature require larger tracts of land for the animals to roam, and with the cost of livestock included, tend to fetch well over R4 million.”

Recent enquiries have come from across the country, including mixed-use farmers wanting to relocate from Limpopo and the Northern Cape, as well as Boland farmers wishing to expand their operations.  Steyn says there have also been enquiries from semi-retirees as well as families with young children wishing to move to the countryside or purchase a weekend home there.

PGP’s most recent sales have included a 585ha farm near Hopefield, sold in September 2012 for R1.95 million.  This property was purchased by a livestock farmer who intends developing it as a working farm in due course.  Meanwhile 11 smallholdings (sized 1ha to 47ha) have changed hands in Hopefield over the past year (October 2011 to September 2012 – all agencies), with prices ranging from R170 000 to R1.2 million.

Among the farms currently available for purchase in the West Coast region, exclusively through PGP, is a 900ha game farm near Hopefield with significant potential for development as an eco-tourism venture.  Fully-fenced with 2.2m game fencing, and with all Cape Nature certifications in place, the farm is well-stocked with a number of species including kudu, eland, zebra, gemsbok and springbok, as well as a variety of other smaller game.  The property includes large tracts of fynbos with magnificent proteas.  Developments include a newly-built rustic two-bedroomed chalet and a 4x4 adventure route.  The property has ample water supply including a borehole, and a good-quality road network.  It is on the market at R9.8 million.
Another property with potential for development into a game farm is a 926ha farm at Dwarskersbos near Velddrift, which includes 1km of pristine beachfront.  The easily accessible farm has a mostly-tarred road network.  It is on the market at R8.75 million.

Further inland, PGP has the exclusive mandate to market a magnificent game farm in the Cederberg area, stretching over 2000ha of land that includes superb fynbos, high levels of biodiversity and several San rock art sites.  The farm is home to over 8000 species of fauna and flora, including Cape lion, cheetah, leopard, buffalo, eland, kudu, zebra and other small game.  Applications are pending to introduce two rhinos to the farm, and electrified camps have been prepared in advance of this possibility.  The property is completely fenced and has ample water supply from 10 boreholes and numerous dams.  All Cape Nature permits are in place, and the property includes three homesteads with ample accommodation, a large conference room and staff housing. The property is on the market at R27 million.

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