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WESTERN CAPE: Our insider’s guide to Caledon

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Established Overberg town with great prices has all the benefits of a laid-back country lifestyle, but has good schools and hospitals - and the coast and Cape Town are an easy drive away

About 110km from Cape Town on the N2, surrounded by the rolling hills of the Overberg, is the town of Caledon, where time has stood still and the old-fashioned values of community remain strong.

“The town is based on the surrounding farming community and, at harvest time, it’s not uncommon to see more tractors pulling trailers of grain than cars on the streets,” says long-time resident Johan “Divvie” de Villiers.

“That’s not to say we are in the Dark Ages, though. We are well served by good government schools – both primary and high – as well as a tertiary institution, a hospital, clinics, doctors and so forth. Our basic shopping needs are all well met by the major chains and we are a short drive to Somerset West. 

It’s country living with all the benefits.” Seeff Caledon agent Ronelle Smal says: “Caledon attracts buyers from all walks of life, young, old and families. “Many of our residents are retirees who have moved from the cities to find a more laid-back lifestyle in the country. But we are also seeing a number of younger families opting for the rural way of life: no daily commute in gridlocked traffic, a community whose members know and care for each other and schools that offer excellent education with all the sporting opportunities of their more-favoured city counterparts.”

As is the case with most of the country, the housing market is soft with buyers setting the pace. This means there are good deals to be had. As a more mature town, there are few vacant stands but large family homes, some with redevelopment opportunities, are available and suitable for young families. 

This new three-bedroomed home in a quiet area is on the market for R1.9 million. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Prices range from R1.3 million to R1.7m. Flats range from R550 000 to R750 000, depending on size and location. “There is a great demand for rental properties – both flats and houses.

Bachelor flats go for about R3 000 a month, while one and two-bedroom apartments fetch around R4 000 and R5 000, respectively; family homes are in the R6 000 to R10 000 range.”

Value-packed prices; well-functioning services and amenities; loads of recreational opportunities – the coast is a half-hour drive away – and easy access to Cape Town and surrounds, make Caledon an ideal choice for those wanting to slip out of the rat race – but not lose out on life. 

Johan de Villiers’s favourite things to do

The town is based on the surrounding farming community and, at harvest time, it’s not uncommon to see more tractors pulling trailers of grain than cars on the streets. – John ‘Divvie’ de Villiers, resident Picture: Supplied

1 Outdoors

The Caledon Hot Springs have been a must-visit for centuries. First recognised by indigenous people, the springs remain a popular destination. Entrance is R165 a person; 028 214 5100.

The Caledon Wildflower Garden, at the entrance to Venster Kloof Nature Garden, offers an extensive network of paths to explore. One of these is a 10km hike through fynbos to the Swartberg summit. There are many places to stop and rest while drinking in the beautiful surroundings.

2 Eat

The Barn offers country-style cooking and portions; 028 214 1845.

De Poskantoor, a 25-minute drive away in Tesselaarsdal is, as the name suggests, located in the old post office. Retaining much of the building’s history, the restaurant offers great breakfasts and lunches. Call to confirm opening times; 084 583 7095.

3 Drink

The Caledon Hotel and Spa is a relaxing place to have a sundowner and, if you’re feeling lucky, there’s a casino. Fat Henry’s Pizzeria has excellent milkshakes.

The Caledon Hotel and Spa, great for a sundowner, has a casino and pizza place. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

4 Shop

Established in 1921, Van Brakel Stoor, on the Caledon-Napier road, takes the padstal to new heights. In addition to a comprehensive menu there’s a wide range of homemade jams and preserves; 028 212 2214.

If you’ve never been into a farm supply store, do yourself a favour and visit Overberg Agri. You will find things you don’t even have use for but just have to buy; 028 214 3800.

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