Global acclaim for Garden Route

High end home buyers and international property investors are turning to the Garden Route, with Knysna and Plettenberg Bay already reaping the benefits of increased exposure to the tourist market in recent years, says Ling Dobson, area principal in Knysna and ‘Plett’  for Pam Golding Properties.

“The Garden Route is now globally acknowledged as one of the most scenic stretches of road in the world, with international travel web site, ranking it sixth in its Top 10 Coastal Drives online survey. According to this website, which has over 1.3 million subscribers, the Garden Route is recognised for its abundance of wild flowers, secluded bays and quaint villages and towns such as Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, Wilderness and Sedgefield.

“Receiving global acclaim for this spectacular region, with no less than 11 Blue Flag Beaches, is gratifying, and the recent announcement by Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, that some 9.2 million tourists visited South Africa in 2012 – over 10 percent more than in 2011 – augurs well for positive exposure for and interest in this region in the future,” says Dobson.

“We are seeing more and more international investors returning and a growing number of enquiries from South African buyers, particularly for upmarket homes. The general price range in demand is from R3 million upwards, and in addition to our R23 million sale of a home in Pezula Private Estate in Knysna at the start of this year, we are currently negotiating a number of high end property sales in the price range from R12 to R18 million. Our combined sales turnover for the areas of Knysna and Plettenberg Bay in March and April 2013 was R40 million (to which Plettenberg Bay contributed R12.57 million), compared to a total of R14 million in sales in Knysna for the same period last year (2012), which was prior to my acquiring the PGP franchise rights for Plett,” she says.  “In April (2013) our combined sales turnover for Knysna and Plett was R16.325 million and halfway through the month May we are already looking at sales of R16 million.”

Pam Golding Properties is marketing a new development  located on the site of one of Knysna’s iconic holiday resorts of years gone by, the Brenton Caravan Park situated in a prime, tranquil site under the well-established Milkwood trees right on the edge of the lagoon. Says Dobson: “This is being transformed into an eco-friendly resort, Lake Brenton, with a show house already well under construction. There is simply nowhere else in Knysna where you can buy vacant land right on the edge of the lagoon, with stands of approximately 500 square metres priced from R580 000 to R1.99 million for the prime locations. Enquiries already received are from leisure home buyers and locals – including those from other regions - looking to reside here permanently.”

There are a total of 62 stands, and the heart of Lake Brenton will consist of rehabilitated forest which will attract birds and wildlife. The resort will include a tennis court, clubhouse, games room and swimming pool, while a toddler play park will be created within the clubhouse area. The resort has its own slipway which feeds into the Knysna estuary, an ideal venue for all water sports including sailing, power boating, water skiing, canoeing and angling. The point on the north side of Lake Brenton is considered by many as the best in-shore spot for kite surfing, and the lake also accommodates sailing, water-skiing and jet-skiing.

The building specifications are on a small footprint under and around the protected Milkwood trees and have to conform to strict eco standards. With a growing worldwide emphasis on sustainable design, architects and town planners are working together to assess the impact of buildings on the site’s environment. As a result, the architecture at Lake Brenton is a direct response to the planning and development conditions defined by the town planning code of the local authority.

The architectural style at Lake Brenton retains its rural character and is designed to blend into the natural landscape, with a lightweight structural system, narrow spans, natural colours, quality finishes and a fresh interpretation of the traditional Knysna cabin. All homes will need to be in wood, glass and steel and raised off the ground. None of the existing trees may be felled.

The developers aim to create an ultimate paradise getaway in an eco-friendly holiday destination, with unspoilt beaches, coves and caves and forest. The protection of flora and fauna is a priority and the intention is to keep this resort secluded, unspoiled, natural and with a tranquil feeling of remoteness.

Knysna itself offers a host of activities – take a ferry trip or a sunset cruise, hike or cycle in the beautiful forests, walk on the beach or enjoy sundowners overlooking the estuary. With a rich history, gourmet restaurants – not forgetting the renowned Oyster Festival held annually, mid-year (commencing 28th June 2013) and a variety of arts and crafts rambles, there are numerous other sporting and recreational facilities in and around Knysna, including three golf courses - Simola, Knysna and Pezula, and a bowling club in the centre of town.

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