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CAPE TOWN: Our insider’s guide to Gordon’s Bay

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Between the mountains, sea and a charming harbour is a stable residential market, offering security complexes ideal for first-time buyers, ranging all the way to luxury family homes with large gardens

The smallest of three towns making up the Helderberg region, Gordon’s Bay is probably best known for the large GB initials – inside an anchor – on the slopes of the Hottentots-Holland mountains.

However, they are not the initials of the town but an abbreviation for the SA Nautical College General Botha and the stones that make them up were first white-washed by cadets in 1949.

Today, this pretty seaside town, just 45 minutes’ drive from Cape Town, boasts Bikini Beach, one of 10 Blue Flag beaches in the Cape Town area, and is a popular hangout for the young and trendy.

For long-time resident Coen van Deventer Gordon’s Bay is a special place: “There is a strong sense of community in this tight-knit town. I have been a fisherman for years and this connects you closely with the locals. There’s always a helping hand when needed – be it soup kitchens or beach clean-ups, we all get stuck in together.

“Oh yes, and it’s worth a visit just for the sunsets, which are spectacular,” he says. Its glorious setting between the mountains and the sea and its charming old harbour ensures Gordon’s Bay has a stable residential property market in spite of the drop experienced in most other coastal markets around South Africa.

“The properties available are as varied as the town itself,” says Marius Adendorff, branch manager at Jawitz Properties Helderberg.

Many properties on Faure Marine Drive have great views and comprise luxury free-standing homes, some with large gardens. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

“There is an extensive choice of security complexes that are ideal for first-time buyers or those wanting to downscale. “Gordon’s Bay has smaller free-standing properties as well as luxury family homes with large gardens. For those wanting to see those amazing sunsets across False Bay every day, the sea-facing mountainside slopes are dotted with upmarket mansions.”

The area also offers a selection of retirement villages; beachfront apartments and houses; a golf village and Harbour Island – a marina development with mooring for yachts, the second of the two working harbours in the town.

Gordon’s Bay proper is a relatively small community of 1 405 residents on 625 freehold and 257 sectional title properties. In the past 12 months there has been a swing in the average age of buyers with those in the 36 to 49 age group now making up a larger percentage of purchasers.

The view of Gordon’s Bay from Faure Marine Drive. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

While last year’s median freehold home prices slumped to 75% of the 2016 high, this year homes are almost back to the level of three years ago. The natural attributes of the general area, the amount of things to see and do and the warmer waters of False Bay, contribute to an active rental market. 

“Bachelor flats are letting for below R4 000 a month, while six-bedroom homes go for up to R32 000 a month. There are many options available in various price brackets,” says Adendorff.

The buy-to-let option is trending in Gordon’s Bay with investors generally preferring to buy more than one unit in the same secure complex.

There has also been an increase in smaller developers entering the market. Gordon’s Bay falls within the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, one of Unesco’s designated reserves and, size for size, is recognised as one of the greatest bio-diversity hot spots on the planet with more than 1 880 different plants species in its 100 000 ha expanse

Coen van Deventer’s favourite things to do

There is a strong sense of community in this tightly-knit suburb. I have been a fisherman for years and this connects you to the locals. There’s always a helping hand when needed – be it soup kitchens or beach clean-ups, we all get stuck in together. – Resident Coen van Deventer Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

1 Outdoors

For the adventurous there are some exciting options. Hike up the mountainside to the GB anchor; visit Steenbras Dam and enjoy fantastic views over the Helderberg or drive along Clarence Drive, the coastal road that hugs the mountainside, to watch the Southern Right whales between July and December.

2 Eat

Antonio’s, serving authentic pizzas and other fare, is situated in the new harbour where you sit on the deck alongside the water. The menu goes beyond Italian and they even have their own house ale 021 856 3361.

Tallas offers a great view and their mutton neck and eisbein are the stuff of legends 021 856 3513.

3 Drink

The name says it all: The Thirsty Oyster, at the old harbour is popular among locals and visitors alike. It has grown from a fisherman’s pub into a well-patronised seafood restaurant, with fresh fish supplied daily by local fishermen 021 856 4457.

Red Sky Brew is an up-and-coming craft brewery that has already won a national award for their Rauch Bier. A range of brews on tap along with some gins. Well worth a visit 063 942 4431.

4 Shop

Shops and restaurants on the corner of Sir Lowry and Beach roads, Gordon’s Bay. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

The entire store at Bikini Beach Books is packed floor-to-ceiling with towering shelves of secondhand books. A real trove for the dedicated bookworm 021 783 7656.

If you’re looking for something shell-related then Aladdin’s Cave is worth a visit. Shells in a hundred different iterations – necklaces, earrings, hanging shell strings to name but a few 021 856 3297.


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