Majestic, idyllic lifestyle
Lea Jacobs takes a look at the goings-on in an historical small town in the Western Cape
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
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.