Sir Lowry’s Pass, spanning the Hottentots Holland mountain range, offers one of the most panoramic and famous views of Cape Town, and is traversed by thousands of motorists every year. Yet few may realise that its lower slopes are home to some of the most scenic country homes in the Cape, offering sweeping views of False Bay and the Winelands. Pam Golding Properties (PGP) reports that these properties are highly sought-after for the secure, wholesome country lifestyle they offer, as well as their rich cultural heritage.
The area’s famous farmlands were first developed in the 18th century, with notable estates including Goedeverwachting, Knorhoek and Frederiksburg. Originally the area now known as Sir Lowry’s Pass Village was nothing more than an outspan site for travellers who could water their oxen at its two streams. But by the early 19th century a small mission settlement had been established, and by 1846 it already had a post office of sorts – a private house where travellers could leave or collect letters. With the extension of the Somerset West railway line to the area in 1890, the settlement soon grew to include a small school, hotels and shops, as well as facilities for farmers to drop off their crops at the railhead. The area grew in fame in 1806 when the peace treaty to end the Battle of Blaauwberg was signed at Goederverwachting, formally ending hostilities and handing the Cape to the British. Construction began on the pass itself in 1828, and it formally opened in July 1830. It is named after Sir Galbraith Lowry Cole, who was governor of the Cape during this period.
This rich history today provides the backdrop for a number of historic farmsteads and vineyards, which are now flanked by a wide variety of residential homes, including several acclaimed secure estates as well as smallholdings. PGP agent Edelweiss Hankey says the likes of Tre Donne, Wedderwill, Knorhoek and High Riding Estates offer a combination of country living in a rural setting, with access to a wide variety of city amenities and entertainments, from excellent schools, shops and medical care, to a wealth of recreational activities. Entry level prices typically start from just under R2 million while top end prices have reached R6 million in Wedderwill Estate and R8 million in Tre Donne. The estates are most popular with families wishing to raise their children in a country environment with good security and large gardens, as well as with those wanting a home office in a tranquil environment, and those wishing to keep livestock on their properties.
Wedderwill Estate includes around 80 properties, ranging in size from 800sqm to 6000sqm. These are laid out in six precincts to create a sense of true country living. The estate spans over 400ha, of which just over half is allocated to a private game reserve, and residents also have access to dedicated hiking and riding trails, as well as a private lake for water-sports. Equestrians also love the High Riding Estate, which consists of a community of smallholdings ranging in size from 8500sqm to 14 000sqm, and offers 5km of bridle paths. There are just over 90 properties in the estate, with a number of vacant plots still available. Also popular is Tre Donne Estate with just over 90 erven, and plots ranging in size from just under 3000sqm to over 10 000sqm. Knorhoek Estate offers larger properties, with erven ranging in size from 12ha to 66ha. Property turnover is particularly low on this estate, and it is only seldom that homes are available for purchase.
“Residents of these estates not only live in a secure environment with rich flora and fauna surrounding them, but also have access to the beaches of Strand and Gordon’s Bay, the hiking trails and concerts of the Helderberg Nature Reserve and Vergelegen Wine Estate, and the wild beauty of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve,” says PGP’s area manager for Somerset West, Louise Varga. “They are also close to popular wine estates such as Waterkloof (with a popular restaurant), Mount Rozier and Journey’s End, and can enjoy guided wine walks through the vineyards of the Schapenberg Hills. Private medical care is available nearby at Vergelegen Medi-Clinic, while major shopping is available at Waterstone Village as well as Somerset Mall. There are also endless possibilities for horse-riding, mountain-biking, hiking, and bird-watching in the surrounding areas, as well as two nearby golf courses including the acclaimed Erinvale.”