Vast diversity of Karoo towns

THE sheer extent of the semi-arid Karoo as a region is like no other in South Africa.

Covering almost 30% of South Africa and spanning four provinces, the Karoo is surrounded by the Kalahari in the north, Namaqualand and the West Coast to the west, Boland and Overberg on the south-west, Garden Route in the south, and the non-Karoo regions of the Eastern Cape and the Free State.

Furthermore, says Wayne Rubidge, Pam Golding Properties manager for the Karoo: "Each of the 52 Karoo towns with their historic buildings, unique architecture and broad range of affordable and unusual investment property choices, offers something very compelling and different from the next town.

"Carnarvon, located in the centre of the Northern Cape, is also benefitting from its unique location at the centre of the Meerkat (SKA or Square Kilometre Array) radio astronomy project.

"There are highly appealing Karoo villages such as Loxton (in the Northern Cape's Bo Karoo) which offers an enviable retreat from urban pressures with its simple and secure country lifestyle. Similarly, the picturesque villages of Nieu Bethesda and Murraysburg (in the Karoo Midlands) offer good value as a country investment and with an appealing lifestyle.

"Then let's not forget the trendy and vibrant towns like Prince Albert in the Karoo, Western Cape. Increasingly in demand, the town is located at the foot of the Swartberg Mountains and in close proximity to the Cape and Garden Route. With its farm- type lifestyle, Prince Albert is renowned for its excellent Karoo produce, such as cheeses, olives, wines and fruit and is one of the most sought-after towns for premium property investors. In the same property category but with a very different offering is Graaff-Reinet in the heart of the Great Karoo, also in the Eastern Cape.

"In between and among all these regions, are many other unique Karoo towns such as those in Northern Cape's Bushmanland Karoo like Kenhardt and the Baviaanskloof Eastern Cape towns such as Willowmore and Steytlerville.

"Travelling down national highway N1 to Cape Town after Hanover and before Three Sisters is Richmond, which like Hanover is located in the Bo Karoo region," he adds..

He cites Phillipstown in the Northern Cape, with its great value Karoo historic homes for between R250 000 and also R450 000 and its large number of undeveloped agricultural erven varying in size from 2000m² to 4000m² on the opposite side of the Hondeblaf Rivier.

"The Karoo is home to very special properties, some of which are available for purchase. These include an immaculately refurbished historic stone jail which is now a residence offering exclusive guest accommodation. Furnished with lavish antiques the property, including its contents is marketed for a cost of R12.8-million ...this striking 1880s building is one of the finest examples of Victorian architecture in the area."