Areas and Places

Holiday homes for nature lovers: the Overberg South's quaint coastal gems

View of the Cape Agulhas lighthouse, the third lighthouse to be built in South Africa.

Three hours south of Cape Town lies a little town with a pretty big claim to fame: it’s positioned at the very southern-most tip of the African continent where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic along striking, rocky shores.

Known as Cape Agulhas, this quaint town is just one of several idyllic spots along the south coast of the Overberg, attracting nature-lovers, fishermen, artists, families and seniors all looking for a quiet place to enjoy the fresh ocean air.

“The Overberg is predominantly a dairy, wool and wheat-farming area,” says Marthie Jones, franchisee of the Rawson Property Group’s Cape Agulhas franchise, “but the coastal towns like Struisbaai developed as a result of an industrious fishing community.”

According to Jones, fishing is still a big draw to the southern coastal area, as are the numerous nature reserves, national parks, hiking trails and museums. “It’s a very popular holiday region,” says Jones, “because of the wonderfully relaxed lifestyle of most of the towns here, the clean air and all the healthy outdoor activities available. It’s also an extremely low crime area, and within easy reach of bigger towns and cities, which makes it an attractive option for retirement-aged couples.”

While retirement purchases are popular, around 60% of properties in the Overberg South area are bought as holiday homes, typically by over 35s and families with children.

There are three distinct towns wrapping around the southern tip of the Overberg coastline – Suiderstand, Cape Agulhas and Struisbaai. They share many similarities, but each has its own defining characteristics attracting buyers and holiday visitors alike.

“Struisbaai is the current crowd favourite,” says Jones, “probably because it’s a little bit bigger than the other towns in the area, and has a small CBD with a selection of shops and restaurants.”Particularly popular with fishing enthusiasts, Struisbaai’s picturesque old harbour, built in 1959, plays host to a colourful mishmash of holiday leisure vessels and charming wooden “chukkies” – the traditional boats of the local fishermen. For those who prefer to stay on land, however, there’s also a pristine 14km stretch of beach linking Struisbaai to the town of Arniston in the east, and a selection of national monuments to admire and explore.

Properties in Struisbaai are varied, from vacant stands to houses, sectional title developments and an exclusive estate in the Agulhas Nature Reserve. Prices start at R195 000 for vacant stands, R795 000 for houses, and apartments at R490 000 and up.

Cape Agulhas is smaller and less developed than Struisbaai. “People usually visit Agulhas to see the southern-most tip of Africa,” says Jones, “but there’s a lot more to the town than just that. It has the second-oldest working lighthouse in South Africa, some beautiful tidal pools and rock swimming pools that are a favourite with kids, and some of the best shallow water fishing in the country. There’s also a small supermarket, a café and petrol station, and some nice local restaurants.”

Agulhas properties are mostly limited to vacant stands and houses, with prices very similar to those in Struisbaai.

Even more isolated and remote than Agulhas is Suiderstrand, which boasts absolutely no shops or businesses at all – an integral part of what makes it special. “Suiderstrand is a nature-lover’s paradise,” says Jones. “It’s bordered by the Agulhas Nature Reserve and the ocean and is just the most beautiful place to relax with no distractions.”

Suiderstrand properties are mostly freestanding houses, with a selection of vacant stands as well, but there is also an exclusive nature reserve called Blue Bay with properties for sale. As in Struisbaai and Agulhas, you’re unlikely to find anything under R795 000, or R195 000 if you’re looking for vacant land.

“We’re definitely seeing an increase in the popularity of vacant stand purchases in all three towns,” says Jones, “and it’s likely that the prices are going to start to increase. For now, things are quite stable across all property types and there is plenty of stock, so it’s a good time to invest before the market picks up.”