Situated among the Swartberg mountain range, Toringberg and Towerkop is the small town of Ladismith – a fascinating place for many reasons.
The ostrich feather craze from 1865 to 1870 converted Ladismith into a boom town, with 50 000 birds breeding on the Lucerne fields around the town, but the feather crash in 1914 brought the district to bankruptcy.
The crash, however, provided a golden opportunity for the vineyards, deciduous fruit and stock farming industries to grow and today Ladismith is known for its excellent fruit and cheese. Around 65% of all South Africa’s export apricots originate from here and the area is also famed for its two cheese factories, winery and many ostrich farms. General farming in Ladismith is slowly moving towards the establishment of game and organic farming as interest from farmers local and abroad is increasing.
Ladismith also has a rich architectural heritage and is unique in the sense that it has its own building style that could better be described as a simplified Georgian design. Other styles like Neo-Gothic, Victorian, Regency and Rural (Karoo) can also be found.
Imelda Egan, an estate agent with Seeff Properties, says many of the properties she sells in this town have a rich history. One of her recent sales includes the Historical Old Post Office with thatched roof right on Route 62.
“The Old Post Office was built in the 1800’s and was the first Post Office in Ladismith. Although the town around the Post Office changed considerably over the years, by some miracle this building remained untouched until it was renovated to a house in 1964 by its previous owners. It was sold for the low price of R490 000 because of the massive renovating that was needed”.
Egan is currently marketing another three exceptional properties in Ladismith, all for under R3 million. They include:
A gracious Victorian homestead:
This five bedroom and four bathroom home is currently being run as a successful guesthouse. It has been fully restored and meticulously maintained, but still includes many period details, including original wood floors, working fireplaces, beautiful mouldings and charming architectural details including pressed ceilings. The home is set amongst a 2712 m2 landscaped rose garden and is being marketed for R2.295 million.
Egan says one very seldom finds a home with this level of original detail carrying such an affordable price tag. “That is why people are attracted to Ladismith – it offers residents the opportunity to live in a home from a bygone era at only a fraction of the price that you would pay for a modern home in the city. Ladismith offers an uncomplicated life in a clean and secure environment.”
This “Out of Africa” home built exclusively from stone on the outskirts of Ladismith boasts unusual architecture in an outstanding location.
Egan says the home was designed to include and enjoy special views of one of Ladismith’s landmarks, Towerkop, from every room. There is an irrigation stream on the North side of the house servicing the surrounding farmers, and renders great delight in conjunction with nature as it meanders past the house. Depending on the rain fall it could either be just the trickling sound of easy flowing water or a rather large mass of thunder after a rainstorm
The stone used for the building of the house is all local and was hand excavated in the mountain koppies, surrounding hills and from the remnants of old ruins and even from disused stone kraals. It took a master stone mason, from the nearby mission town three years and one month to build the house.
The inner walls of the home are also constructed from stone except where there are built-in cupboards and tiled areas. All the inside doors, door frames, and window frames are made from sleeper wood. The ceilings are Spanish reed with clay to ensure coolness in summer and heat retention in winter.
The home’s interior includes stones from all over Africa – there are stones from the first missionary at Gross Barmen near Okahandja, a piece of an old mill from the Namib Dessert, stones from the Nkhoma mountain in Malawi and several stones from elsewhere that were brought as gifts to the builder.
The home has four bedrooms, the open-plan living and dining area is complimented with a huge fireplace and a large farm style kitchen with a cellar apartment with ablution facility underneath that could be used as an entertainment area. A built-in braai with mountain views and a beautiful garden complete the picture.
This home is on sale for R2.699 million.
This Victorian home built in 1892 dates back from the Ostrich era. The home was declared a National Monument and includes Victorian features such as Oregon Pine ceilings and floors imported from Canada, handmade glass windows from Holland, a wood stove from Sweden, iron pillars from England and inside Oregon Pine shutters.
This 400m2 home is also currently being run as guest house and the main house boasts seven bedrooms. The Coach house has been tastefully refurbished and has two bedrooms, two bathrooms and open plan living and kitchen area. The old stables were converted into three garages and the wrap-around veranda offers a magnificent view of Towerkop and the Klein Swartberg Mountains.
Another special feature of Albert Manor is that every single door in the home has its original locks and keys – not one key has gone missing in 125 years! The doors have Porcelain doorknobs and the solid cast iron pillars on the verandah were imported from England. The cast iron broekie-lace adds the final touch reflecting an old world charm of the 19th century.
Egan continues that this home is on sale for R2.6 million. “For a large Victorian home that includes these features this price is exceptionally reasonable”.
Egan concludes that there is a significant increase in the demand for property in the Ladismith area particularly from the Northern parts of the country.
“Ladismith offers a safe secure environment with good schools and infrastructure. Our Municipality is well run by the DA and ANC coalition and properties in the area do not stay on the market for very long as it offers good value for money”.
“The average prices of property in Ladismith have more than doubled since 2012, are up nearly sevenfold since 2001 and still there is no sign of a slowdown”.