Knysna’s award-winning residential marina

Carrying the name of the Norwegian Thesen family, who settled in the town of Knysna and established a timber processing plant on the island, much has changed since those early days with Thesen Islands having been redeveloped into one of the country’s most sought-after residential marinas.

According to Schalk van der Merwe, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Coastal, whose office services Knysna and the surrounding areas, much of the allure of Thesen Islands is its ideal positioning within the heart of one of Southern Africa’s richest ecological estuaries. “The tranquil surroundings of being on the water’s edge and the beautiful indigenous forests in the region have made it a popular choice for property buyers who are looking for an exclusive home among scenic surroundings,” says Van der Merwe.
One of the region’s major tourist attractions, the Knysna River Estuary on which Thesen Islands is situated, is a highly sensitive eco-system. “Due to the fact that the eco-system was so delicate, the residential development of Thesen Islands required a great deal of planning which covered ecological, architectural, engineering, aesthetic, social and cultural guidelines. As a result, it took around eight years of meticulous preparation and research before the project could be started. Approval to begin the development was granted in 1998, however was subject to over a hundred stringent conditions,” adds Van der Merwe.

He notes that while the strict guidelines may have delayed the development of Thesen Islands, it is these specifications, along with the unique lifestyle on offer that has made the development an award-winning residential marina attracting a great number of property investors, both locally and internationally.  
RE/MAX Coastal sales associates, Corlia Goris and Sue Abernethy who specialise in property sales on Thesen Islands, say that the marina’s Blue Flag status has also added to its popularity among buyers.  “The exclusivity and security measures on Thesen Islands provide residents with an unparalleled living experience. The maritime properties are situated on the edge of a beautiful lagoon among picturesque surrounds, while access to the development is limited via either a gated guardhouse or one of two monitored access canals. It is the only residential marina of its kind in the country and it is this unique lifestyle offering that has boosted demand for property in Thesen Islands and kept the value of the homes appreciating,” says Goris.
Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that developments that offer both security and lifestyle benefits are highly sought after countrywide. He notes that due to the popularity of this type of property, many homes within secure estates retained their value during the recession period and are once again showing good returns on investment.

According to Goris, the homes that are specifically sought-after in Thesen Islands are north-facing, four-bedroom, four-bathroom houses that have their own mooring. She notes that one such property that RE/MAX Coastal is currently marketing is on the market for R10.999 million. The home features unsurpassed views over the water, a private covered patio and rim-flow swimming pool leading to the jetty and personal beach. The double volume in the lounge, dining room and kitchen creates a feeling of space and atmosphere, and the area has a double-sided fireplace for warmth during winter. A separate cosy lounge with wood-burning fireplace adds intimacy and privacy. Goris adds that all bedrooms lead out onto balconies and there is a separate cottage with a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and lounge. A lovely level garden is an additional bonus.
“Purchasing a property in Thesen Islands will allow property buyers to enjoy the exclusive lifestyle a development of this nature offers, while seeing the return on their investment grow over the years,” Goris concludes.

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