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.
Local estate agent Ling Dobson says the Garden Route is now globally acknowledged as one of the most scenic stretches of road in the world, with international travel web site, www.virtualtourist.comranking 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% more than in 2011 – augurs well for positive exposure for and interest in this region in the future,” Dobson says.
“We are seeing more and more international investors returning and a growing number of inquiries from South African buyers, particularly for upmarket homes.
The general price range in demand is from R3-million upwards. Currently, there are on-going negotiations for a number of high-end property sales in the price range of R12-million and R18-million.
A new development currently being marketed is located on the site of one of Knysna’s iconic holiday resorts of years gone by, the Brenton Caravan Park.
It is situated in a prime, tranquil site under the well-establishedmilkwood trees right on the edge of the lagoon. Dobson says it 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 500m² priced from R580000 to R1.99-million for the prime locations.
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 conformto strict eco standards.
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, unspoilt, natural and with a tranquil feeling of remoteness.