There’s an old English proverb that says “a man’s home is his castle”, but in the modern age of densification very few home owners in South Africa can boast that it’s literally true – unless you currently happen to be castle-hunting in the millionaire’s playground of Plettenberg Bay.
If you have a mere R75 million to spare you can buy your very own Castle on the Cliff, a majestic rural villa crafted castle-style from local stone and perched above the ocean on a 66-hectare estate near the pristine Robberg Nature Reserve.
And it comes complete with a large sea-filtered rock pool, a private lake, and a prehistoric cave. This expansive natural wonderland was home to indigenous tribes thousands of years ago and various artifacts have been found on site. These belong to the estate and are included in the sale.
“Plettenberg Bay on the Garden Route is one of very few locations in South Africa where there is appetite for property that falls in the super luxury bracket,” says Hein Pretorius, Broker Principal of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in the town.
According to the New World Wealth South Africa 2016 Wealth Report, the coastal holiday town’s Beachy Head Drive, lined with mansions overlooking Plett’s unspoiled beaches, boasts the most expensive houses in South Africa outside of Cape Town.
Pretorius says the report further notes that there were some 2 300 South African trophy homes valued at R20 million or more as of December 2015.
“The majority are in Cape Town (880) and Johannesburg (550), but Plettenberg Bay, a small town the size of an average city suburb, boasts an astonishing 120 homes in that price bracket and ranks third in the country,” explains Pretorius.
One of those properties currently on the market is the Castle on the Cliff, otherwise known as the Vygekraal Estate. The five-bedroom mansion boasts sweeping views of the ocean from its cliff-top perch and is a stone’s throw from some of South Africa’s most scenic hiking trails.
According to deeds records the property last changed hands in 2008 for R48m and Pretorius says it is still one of the most expensive ever sold in Plettenberg Bay.
“Properties this magnificent are as rare as hens’ teeth and when the opportunity arises to own such a gem there’s always appetite in the market. It’s a stunning, unique home in an idyllic location that will attract a unique buyer; someone who treasures privacy and outstanding natural beauty”.
“It’s also a property made for entertaining with a catering-size kitchen and flowing living areas. There is spacious staff accommodation on site, as well as an estate manager’s cottage.”
Steven Neufeld, Manager Principal of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Plettenberg Bay, says: “The first half of 2016 has been our best year to date for this period and there has been significant market growth across the board”.
“There is absolutely no doubt that despite the weak economy, demand for property in Plettenberg Bay remains extremely high”.
“With 483 property registrations recorded between January and the end of July, it’s a distinct possibility that 2016 will be a record year when one considers that almost 40% of the house and estate sales concluded between August 2015 and July 2016 occurred in the three months between May and July this year, with 57 freehold sales to a combined value of R121.21m and 47 security estate transactions worth a total of R131.67m recorded respectively.”
Neufeld adds that their previous high was in 2011, when the market bounced back from the 2008 crash, and 611 properties transfers were registered.