Knysna has always been synonymous with all the fine things in life – not only is it a paradise destination with world class views and home to the vibrant oyster festival – but it is also one of relatively few towns in South Africa that boasts island living.
Thesen Islands and Leisure Isle are two of the most sought after settings in Knysna and it comes then as no surprise that these two islands are also the two highest selling suburbs of Knysna.
In 2016, 23 homes were sold in Leisure Isle to the value of around R116 million. The most expensive sale was made for R15 million – this property is located on the waterfront and has stunning views of The Heads. Another sale was made for R8.1 million and both these homes are going to be utilised as bed and breakfasts which are extremely popular on The Island.
Yvette Botha, an agent for Seeff Knysna, says Leisure Isle has a total circumference of over 4 kilometres, is 1.6 kilometres in length and 5 kilometres across at its widest point. Along the shores of the Island lie beaches, parks and areas of protected natural vegetation.
The narrow roads, little lanes and lovely gardens add a quaint village feel and the water and matchless views in all directions contribute to the special ambience and the sense of being at one with nature.
The main beach on Leisure Isle is at Bollard Bay, where there is a good stretch of sand and shallow water ideal for children. At low tide the Green Hole on the east of the Island, and Land’s End and Kingfisher Creek at the north-western tip offers small sandy beaches.
The Island and the surrounding salt marshes are home to the endangered African Black Oystercatcher, along with other water birds such as Reed and Cape Cormorants, Grey Herons, Little Egrets, African Spoonbills and African Sacred Ibis.
The area is also popular for estuary fishing and catches range from White Mussel Cracker, White Steenbras, Garrick, Kob and Grunter, as well as the occasional Ragged Tooth Shark and a variety of skates.
Botha continues that most stable owners on Leisure Isle have lived there for longer than a decade because of the unsurpassed lifestyle and surroundings. Many sellers comprise the elderly who have to sell in order to relocate to retirement villages.
“Prices on Leisure Isle have grown steadily since 2013 and the average sales price is now R4.2 million, almost back to the average before the crash in 2008. Homes in this price range however don’t come onto the market often and if they do they are snatched up quickly and sell for the full asking price.”
Botha concludes that most homes that come onto the market on the island range in the R5 million to R7 million price range, while beachfront homes can sell from R14,5 million up to R27,5 million.