Garden Route draws World Cup teams
Golf courses on country estates highlight the region’s status as a prime destination, writes AnnaMarie Smith
THE Garden Route has been selected as the base for three teams participating in the 2010 Soccer World Cup and they will stay at top hotels in the area.
The French team has selected Pezula Resort Hotel and Spa in Knysna, Denmark chose Simola Golf and Country Estate in Knysna and Japan chose Fancourt Hotel and Golf Estate in George.
These estates have in common a tranquil, natural environment, close proximity to practice facilities at sea level and a wide variety of entertainment venues and public amenities.
Industry professionals say the region’s appeal to foreign visitors and investors lies in its moderate Mediterranean climate and extraordinary outdoor lifestyle.
Heavy investment in upmarket properties in the region has seen George and Knysna showing steady growth despite the global recession and a severe drought.
Fancourt Golf Estate, close to George Airport, features three Gary Player signature golf courses on a secure estate.
Chief operating officer Neil O’Hagan says that while they are pleased to host the French team in June and July, the estate is equally proud to be hosting the first-ever European PGA Seniors Tour tournament in SA, in March.
O'Hagan says that last year was unproductive in terms of property sales, but that the market is now stirring, with several prospective high-end deals on the cards.
He says by attracting nontraditional visitors to the region, the Soccer World Cup spin-off may well become visible in the longer term.
Fancourt recently launched Montagu Ridge Villas, a fractional title product of two-and threeweek stays upgradable to four and six weeks respectively and available in two-and four-bedroom units priced from R320 000.
Other developments on the estate include the Colonial Lodges, Oaklands, Cape Dutch, Links Ridge and the Gentleman’s Estate.
The 1 000ha Pezula Private Estate, with a championship golf course, recently launched the Country Estate, also the venue of The Field of Dreams, where the French soccer team will during practise during their stay. The development will feature 30 northfacing plots averaging 4 800m² and will be on sale at about R1,5m. Each has spectacular views of indigenous forests, sweeping fynbos landscapes and the Outeniqua mountain range. Located close to Pezula’s facilities that have won international recognition, these plots represent country living at its best.
Ling Dobson, principal at Pam Golding Properties Knysna, and agent for Pezula and Simola, says the pristine area, including privacy and top medical facilities, makes it most suitable for hosting the foreign soccer teams.
Dobson says Pam Golding’s property sales in the area have increased by about 40% from last year. One of Simola’s prime homes was sold for R14m, the highest price fetched at this estate to date.
However, Dobson appealed to sellers to remain conservative in pricing properties and rentals in the area, thereby cultivating SA’s appeal as a healthy investment opportunity rather than a hugely overpriced destination.
Simola Golf and Country Estate, a low-density development on 325ha of prime land overlooking the spectacular Knysna lagoon and heads, a popular choice with several teams knocked out of the Soccer World Cup, will host the Danish soccer team.
Derek Carol, sales and marketing director at Simola, says: “After a very tough 18-month period, and with a market not quite showing fireworks yet, the year to date has shown marked improvement of 100% turnaround in property sales.”
He says this is illustrated by the sale of two sectional title hotel suites at R3,13 and R3,65m, four luxury apartments averaging R4,5m, as well as some freehold sales where plots measure from 12 000m² to 16 000m².
Carol says buyers at Simola are upcountry locals from Pretoria and Gauteng who invest in the estate’s secure, outdoor lifestyle.
RIVER RUN: Montagu Ridge Villas features properties for sale at Fancourt Hotel and Golf Estate in George through fractional title.
PEACEFUL PLACE: Pezula Resort Hotel and Spa in Knysna provides a tranquil, natural environment at sea level close to soccer practice facilities.
A luxury home for sale at Simola Golf and Country Estate, set on 29 000m and valued at about R30m.