Ma­jes­tic, idyl­lic life­style

Lea Jacobs takes a look at the go­ings-on in an his­tor­i­cal small town in the West­ern Cape

Business Day - Home Front - - HOMEFRONT -

THERE’s some­thing go­ing on in the small town of Swellen­dam in the West­ern Cape. This beau­ti­ful spot that is home to 50 na­tional mon­u­ments has caught the at­ten­tion of those look­ing for some­thing a lit­tle spe­cial in a place that of­fers out­stand­ing scenery and an idyl­lic life­style.

Nes­tled at the foot of the Lange­berg Moun­tain ranges, Swellen­dam has a pre­dom­i­nantly Mediter­ranean cli­mate with a sun­filled sum­mer and win­ter tem­per­a­tures of around 15 C. The town is sit­u­ated close to Bar­ry­dale and a one-hour drive from Cape Agul­has and Struis Bay.

Es­tab­lished in 1652 by the Dutch East In­dia Com­pany, Swellen­dam was used by traders as a re­plen­ish­ment sta­tion and the town was de­clared a mag­is­te­rial district in 1743 by Gov­er­nor Hen­drick Swellen­grebel. To­day, the town is the third-old­est mag­is­te­rial district in SA.

The many his­tor­i­cal build­ings in the town bear tes­ti­mony to a by­gone era and the Drostdy build­ing which the town orig­i­nally cen­tred around con­tin­ues to play a sig­nif­i­cant role. This ma­jes­tic struc­ture stands ex­actly as it was built orig­i­nally in 1844, with the ex­cep­tion of the roof be­ing raised and a small dormer win­dow be­ing placed in the loft. To­day, the build­ing houses the town’s mu­seum and well-vis­ited wine cel­lar.

The area of­fers a wide va­ri­ety of ameni­ties, in­clud­ing the Swellen­grebel Fly­ing Club that hosts an an­nual air show. Eques­trian en­thu­si­asts can take the Two Feath­ers Horse Trail, rid­ing through the scenic forests, across the rivers and along the foothills of the pic­turesque Lange­berg Moun­tain Range.

The pres­ti­gious five-star bou­tique ho­tel, De Kloof, caters for those look­ing for lux­u­ri­ous ac­com­mo­da­tion and is just one of the ameni­ties aimed at those who ap­pre­ci­ate the finer things in life. Top class restau­rants, bou­tiques and arts and craft shops are the or­der of the day in this beau­ti­ful town and for those who tire of shop­ping, there is a nine-hole golf course that is suit­able for golfers of all hand­i­caps.

Per­haps be­cause of its his­tory, lo­ca­tion and fa­cil­i­ties the town has re­cently been en­joy­ing a fresh wave of in­ter­est from prop­erty buy­ers. Knowl­edge Fac­tory’s SAPTG re­ports that 71 free­hold sales have been reg­is­tered at the Deeds Of­fice so far this year. The high­est price paid for such prop­erty was R2,28m, al­though the av­er­age price at­tained hov­ered around the R978 000 mark.

Rai­mond Lam­precht, the prin­ci­pal of the newly-opened Swellen­dam Jawitz Prop­er­ties fran­chise, says the beauty of the re­gion and its close prox­im­ity to both Ge­orge and Cape Town has prompted fresh in­ter­est with prop­erty buy­ers. “The area is re­garded as a safe en­vi­ron­ment in which to raise fam­i­lies.” This cou­pled with rep­utable schools and qual­ity of life is adding to the al­lure.

He says that growth at the lower end of the mar­ket is in­creas­ing, par­tic­u­larly in the R400 000 to R750 000 range. At the mid­dle level, a three to four bed­room house goes for around R1m and a sec­tional ti­tle apart­ment in a re­tire­ment vil­lage would fetch R850 000. There are in­ter­ested buy­ers in the higher-price bracket too, al­though typ­i­cal of the up­mar­ket ar­eas coun­try­wide there’s been less ac­tiv­ity and some prop­er­ties have been on the mar­ket for as long as a year or more.

“Hav­ing said that, we have re­cently sold two up-mar­ket prop- er­ties for R2,175m and R1,950m re­spec­tively in less than a month,” says Lam­precht.

Pam Gold­ing Prop­er­ties has also noted a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in sales in the area dur­ing the first quar­ter of 2011, record­ing 19 sales with a value of more than R30m dur­ing this pe­riod.

Pam Gold­ing Prop­er­ties’ area man­ager for Swellen­dam, Le Roux van der Merwe, at­tributes the up­turn in the mar­ket to a va­ri­ety of fac­tors. “It is of course partly due to wider eco­nomic fac­tors, as the coun­try be­gins to climb out of the re­ces­sion pe­riod. But there is also a sense that our scenic town is be­ing re-dis­cov­ered by sev­eral dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories of buy­ers. The most notable in­clude en­trepreneurs want­ing to es­tab­lish them­selves in a po­si­tion where they can ben­e­fit from the busy lo­cal tourism in­dus­try.

With so much go­ing for it, Swellen­dam is likely to con­tinue mak­ing the news for all the right rea­sons. Con­tact: Pam Gold­ing Prop­er­ties Lynette Baden­horst 082 482 0349 Jenny Whit­tle 073 386 1824 Of­fice 028 514 2747

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The four-star Brae­side Guest House, which oc­cu­pies over 4 000m of land is for sale for R3,4m. This Cape Ed­war­dian home dates back to 1901, and has five en-suite bed­rooms. Fur­ni­ture and fit­tings are ne­go­tiable at ad­di­tional cost.

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