The Karoo straddles all three Cape provinces from the Orange River in the north to the Cape coastal mountains in the south. The vast open spaces of the Karoo are interspersed with a wide diversity of farms. A total of 52 historical towns appeal to property investors with their unrivalled placements and unbeatable value for money. These towns and villages of the Karoo are South Africa's oldest and most beautiful offering tranquillity and relaxation, providing a new alternative to leisure and lifestyle investors.
In terms of the property market, each of these towns offers something unique. Whether it’s the area’s natural attractions you’re drawn to, the opportunity for farming or the investment opportunities – there is something for everyone. For example some of the more remote country towns offer huge appeal as historical homes can still be purchased for under R300 000. The larger towns like Graaff Reinet and Prince Albert boast stately homes, good schools and all the amenities you’re after. When it comes to property in the Karoo, it’s all about what appeals to you.
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Explore the Karoo
The Karoo is made up of several regions, namely: the Karoo Midlands, the Western Karoo, Eastern Karoo and the Upper Karoo in the Northern Cape:
• The Karoo is home to some of South Africa’s most famous natural wonders, including the Orange River and the Swartberg Mountains. Each of these attractions offers different adventures, from white water rafting to overnight hikes.
• A drive along Route 62, the longest wine route in the world will introduce you to natural hidden treasures, magical scenery and a host of quaint watering holes.
• The Klein Karoo National Arts Festival in Oudtshoorn, also home to the Cango Caves, is a highlight on the Karoo events calendar and should not be missed.
Living in the Karoo
As the area is so vast, where you decide to purchase property in the Karoo will be determined by your needs.
• Schools: If you have kids and are looking to keep them close for schooling, you’ll opt for a bigger town like Graaf Reniet which has 20 schools from pre-primary through to high school.
• Farming: If you’re looking to farm, choose an area in the Karoo suited to your livestock or crop needs.
If you are looking to buy a house or farm in the Karoo, the best bet is to get in touch with the local Pam Golding Properties agents as they will be able to help you find the perfect town and home for you.
Each of the 52 Karoo towns offer something special when it comes to location, setting and properties on offer. With a myriad of attractions for the Karoo traveller to explore the options for a property investor are equally diverse. For some the more remote country towns offer huge appeal where a historical home can still be purchased for under R300 000. The larger more popular towns like Graaff Reinet and Prince Albert stately heritage houses can sell for up to R3 000 000. These and other Karoo towns offer a full range of services with good schools. The continued interest over the last 5 years in Karoo property seem to increase year on year relative to the economic climate.
Many reasons for this exist and some of the important ones are discussed in brief
1.Urban pressures continue to grow so does the urban edge of the larger towns and metro poles or cities. As a result people need to travel further and further to get away and an obvious route is out to the country. This is also happening in the bigger coastal areas and cities as where space has become a premium and people are prepared to travel further to get it
2.The excellent value the country and rural areas offer is another large draw card. There are many that have not been discovered yet and offer really good value for retirement options, relocation, first time homeowners and the burgeoning buy to rent market in the larger country towns. Prices for homes in many areas still start at round R250 000. For even the more established towns that have houses for sale in the millions the appeal of the country lifestyle is the drawcard.
3.The lifestyle of living in the Karoo is displayed in many magazines and mediums and offers a bit of everything for everyone. Even the perceived inconvenience of not having certain facilities is a drawcard for many. As the trend to adopt a country based lifestyle of any sort continues to gather momentum so does the investment and range of services and activities that follow this thus further invigorating the town and the movement towards ruralisation –
4.The sense of security and well being that the country offers due to its small and established communities and in some cases old ways is a world away from modern day city life. Often being in a country town means more space and closer to amenities with easy access to nature and the outdoors. The interior has many top schools and professional service providers who choose to reside somewhere in its spaces.
Farms In 2012 Karoo farms attracted substantial interest from the full spectrum of SA farm buyers. While most commercial livestock and irrigation farms attract interest from South African buyers many foreign buyers focus mainly on game farms and smaller lifestyle or boutique Karoo farms. This sustained interest has seen farm prices move upwards in 2012 purely based on supply and demand. Although the Karoo and adjacent areas is a vast region the availability certain types of farms is limited. For existing SA farmers looking to diversify such as those in the Western Cape or those relocating from north to south the Karoo is fast becoming the most popular choice.
For many businessman and farmers who have relocated to the coastal areas of the Eastern and Western Cape including the Garden Route the Karoo is accessed in some areas by as little as 1 hours’ drive and a maximum of 3 hours in other areas. This central location of the Karoo will continue to hold appeal for farm investors. For those based further inland the northern regions of the Karoo make it accessible from major inland centres. The other dominant driver of interest from buyers is the nature of Karoo farming itself. The Karoo offers arguably the most uncomplicated type of farming. Besides its accessible location the extensive nature of Karoo farms coupled with low input and labour costs, and a very healthy environment make it unique in the South African farming landscape.