An Overseas Perspective of Life in the Western Cape

Every country has its’ issues.  Yes, we have ours – plenty of them.  And we know how to complain about them too.  But sometimes we lose focus of what we do have, and how fortunate we are.

Over the past month I’ve had the pleasure of hosting a number of high profile overseas clients – from Australia, New Zealand, Romania and Austria.  They have travelled independently and all passed through the Western Cape, where they have tasted the usual tourist attractions: Table Mountain, Robben Island, Cape Point, Gans Baai shark cage diving, the Winelands, and so on.  They have also visited some of the private game lodges in Sabi Sands and Kruger Park.

Without exception they were all totally blown away by the Western Cape.  And what touched them wasn’t just the usual tourist attractions.  It was the people.  It was the natural beauty.  It was what most of us take for granted every day.

As a property owner in the Western Cape, and specifically the Helderberg Basin, you may have wondered whether the grass is greener on the other side – whether you should consider a move to a place that we perceive has fewer issues.

The reality is that we live in one of the most magnificent areas on the planet.  Our geographic location, nestled up against lush mountain slopes and the sparkling ocean, and hugged on the side by world-class vineyards, is truly special.


But don’t forget the people.  We know that things take longer in the Western Cape, and it’s a given that service levels in many instances need to improve.  But the people of the Western Cape are friendly – and visitors are totally taken by the warmth of Capetonians.

What does that mean for real estate?  It means that other people are envious of us – that they can see the attraction to living here.  This is borne out by the strong flow of purchasers from Gauteng and KZN who still stream to the Western Cape.  At Harcourts Platinum roughly 1 in 8 buyers’ are relocating here from elsewhere in South Africa.

That means there is consistent demand for local property.  And that’s healthy as strong demand and diminishing supply means upwards pressure on prices.  That makes property ownership a good investment, especially in the Helderberg Basin.

It’s only human to get frustrated about service delivery, protests, and increased costs.  But think “big picture”.  There will be issues and problems wherever we live.  But in most cases they are a small price to pay for living in this amazing place we call home.

A few of my visitors made a comment that took me by surprise:  “Thank you for not leaving”.  I thought about that for a while and it hit me that it’s a message we should be sharing with all those that have been able to stay here and who contribute to making this a better society.

ImageWe are privileged to live in this beautiful place and we are wise to invest in it.   Visitors leave vowing to return and spend just a little time in this amazing place we call home.   Granted, not everyone living in the Western Cape enjoys the same standard of living – something that needs to change with time – but many of us have the ability to enjoy it.

So, instead if focusing on all the negative issues, why not spread some positivity about the Western Cape?  Let’s do our bit to make things better.  And reflect on the benefits of property ownership in an area that overseas visitors rate as truly world class.  Thanks for not leaving.

Steve Caradoc-Davies

Principal of Harcourts Platinum, and Director of Harcourts South Africa

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