The Karoo is the next big hot-spot for tourists — and others
Forget Cape Town‚ the Karoo is now becoming a popular holiday spot for tourists — and those with a bit of cash to splash are investing in property as demand for accommodation grows.
Pam Golding Properties and tour operators Karoo Connections say they have seen a growing interest in tourism and accommodation establishments in the Karoo.
"The Karoo has so many different options to offer — not only for tourists but also for those wanting to find a relaxing getaway property, which can also provide them with a regular income stream‚" said Wayne Rubidge‚ Pam Golding area principal in the Karoo.
"In light of the economic constraints, domestic tourism has flourished‚ with cost-conscious South Africans eager to visit easily accessible destinations without having to cross the borders or travel overseas. This has made the acquisition of a tourism or accommodation establishment very attractive for those wanting to relocate permanently to country locations."
Rubidge found that many visitors "either come to the Karoo having done their property searches via the internet or go to a specific town with the intention of buying a property as an investment or holiday house".
The Bergkant Lodge in Prince Albert recently fetched R11.5m. Rubidge said other guest establishments on the market ranged from R6.87m to R9.3m.
"Due to the wide range of towns in the Karoo‚ people display diverse interests in properties‚ but the most popular are those with historic value built in the classic Karoo style [or] a larger Victorian style." he said.
David McNaughton‚ owner of Karoo Connections, said the towns of Graaff-Reinet and Prince Albert were popular with visitors.
"People are rediscovering the Karoo. So many people have links with it. At one time it used to be a place to travel through," he said. "Now we’re finding the Karoo has become attractive for the open spaces‚ especially family-oriented holidays‚ whether it’s mountain biking or camping."
McNaughton said tourists — both domestic and foreign — appreciated the Karoo as a destination because it was "off the beaten track". He has seen an influx of German and Dutch tourists. "There’s also a smattering of all other nationalities — Americans are also coming through strongly. Tourism has encouraged the development of restaurants‚ arts and craft centres and craft beer breweries … things considered to be trendy‚ that are bringing tourists here."