The beautiful Cape Winelands has just been listed by iconic travel guide Lonely Planet as one of the Top 10 Best Value destinations for tourists in 2020.
This list forms part of the overall Best in Travel 2020 rankings, and as such is likely to be read by millions of people around the world.
The “best value” rating means, said Evan Godt, director of content operations at Lonely Planet, that it is possible for travellers to enjoy a quality vacation experience in a particular region here while their money goes further than expected.
“And while they are enjoying the spectacular scenery, exceptional wines and outstanding restaurants in the Winelands region, visitors will also be exposed to some of the most sought-after real estate in South Africa,” said Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group.
“The main towns in the region, which lies to the north of Cape Town, are Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, Tulbagh and Wellington, and it is also home to many of the country’s top residential estates, which makes it an increasingly popular choice for affluent local homebuyers seeking to relocate away from the hustle and bustle of city life, and for international buyers seeking a holiday or investment property in SA.
“As the local affiliate of the global Luxury Portfolio International network, we are receiving an increasing number of international enquiries for homes in this region and according to New World Wealth, there are almost 3000 South African dollar-millionaires now resident here.”
Land and home prices in Winelands estates range from around R2 million up to about R35 million and choices include working wine or olive farms as well as golf estates and lifestyle estates featuring luxury health and sports facilities.
This home on the Val de Vie Estate, listed at R15,9m, was recently sold by Chas Everitt International.
This home in L’Avenue De Franschhoek Estate, listed at R15,95m, was recently sold by Chas Everitt International.
This home on the Pearl Valley Golf Estate, listed at R25m, was recently sold by Chas Everitt International
The heart of the region is the magnificent Paarl / Franschhoek valley nestled between the Simonsberg and Groot Drakenstein mountain ranges and bisected by the Berg River. Also known as the “Valley of Life”, this is home to the Boschenmeer Golf & Country Estate, the Pearl Valley Golf Estate & Spa and the world-renowned Val de Vie Winelands Lifestyle Estate.
Anneke Buys and Amanda Colombo, who are the local representatives of the Chas Everitt International Luxury Portfolio division and have sold more than R220 million worth of luxury homes this year (see photos), say these estates are particularly attractive to affluent buyers because of the carefree, open-door lifestyle that they offer, facilitated by state-of-the-art security and a wide range of luxury facilities.
These include the polo club and fields at Val de Vie and the Jack Nicklaus signature golf course at Pearl Valley, wellness centres, spas, high-end gyms, tennis and pétanque courts and miles of scenic riding, cycling, running and walking trails.
There is a golf academy in Boschenmeer, which also incorporates the Paarl Golf Club 27-hole course; a Ryk Neethling swim school at Val de Vie and a highly-regarded equestrian academy at Pearl Valley, which also boasts a Mantis Collection hotel with superb resort and conferencing facilities.
These estates are also now home to some outstanding restaurants, including the new Reuben &Co Café, the latest to be added to the portfolio of acclaimed SA chef Reuben Riffel, while the picturesque village of Franschhoek, at the southern end of the valley, is known as the culinary capital of SA and contains more than 30 restaurants, cafés, bakeries and chocolatiers.
Franschhoek is also a major tourism centre, as it is the gateway to several wine routes showcasing the Huguenot history of the region and incorporating some of the Cape’s oldest and most distinguished wineries.
It also hosts two international festivals a year – the Franschhoek Literary Festival in May and the Bastille Day Festival in July – and is just 10 minutes from the highly-rated Bridge House private school.
Indeed, say Buys and Colombo, the proximity of excellent schools where entrance is relatively easy is another big draw card for the Valley of Life.
“While the number of high-end buyers semigrating from Gauteng and other inland provinces has abated somewhat recently, that gap has easily been filled by a string of buyers relocating from Cape Town’s plush Southern Suburbs and Atlantic Seaboard areas, where there are long waiting lists for the top schools.”
Other sought-after schools in the region include the Simond Private School in Simondium, and the La Rochelle Girls’ High and Paarl Boys’ High schools in Paarl – which incidentally also offers upmarket shopping malls and two private medical centres.
Meanwhile a spate of new developments are set to extend the accessibility of the region to a wider range of residents, offering new homes in Paarl at prices from around R1.85 million, homes in Franschhoek from around R2.9 million and homes in Val de Vie at prices from around R6 million.
Two years ago Val de Vie also added an Evergreen retirement village to its range of residential offerings, and this recently led to the estate winning the Best Multi-Generational Estate in the World award (https://bit.ly/2slMP0X) to add to its other accolades as the Most Secure Estate in Africa and the number one residential estate in SA – and will no doubt continue to shine a flattering spotlight on the Valley of Life.