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CAPE TOWN: Our insider’s guide to Scarborough

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Safety, conservation and eco issues are taken seriously in this rural village, flanked by the Atlantic Ocean and Cape Point, which offers a rich and rugged lifestyle on the western shores

It’s ironic the sleepy hamlet of Scarborough, declared a conservation village in 1996, was thrust into the national and international spotlight when the fertiliser-laden Ikan Tando ran aground in September 2001.

Fortunately, little environmental damage occurred and the beleaguered vessel was towed out to sea, then scuttled. The village has clearly defined boundaries – flanked on one side by the cold Atlantic Ocean and another by Cape Point Nature Reserve. This means residents take safety, conservation and eco issues seriously: there are active neighbourhood watch and volunteer firefighting groups.

Coastal foraging from both land and sea offers an edible bounty in this region. Picture: Sacha Specker

Scarborough offers a rare lifestyle of nature, rural living and community – all about an hour’s drive from the Cape Town CBD. For resident Jules de Combes it’s all about being close to the sea.

“You don’t get closer to nature than living in Scarborough. It’s wild and unpredictable, rugged and beautiful: there’s a rawness and richness you don’t find easily and still have a short commute to the city. “We’re the last village on the west coast of Africa; now that’s a unique selling point.”

The limited footprint means the village cannot grow. In a buoyant market increased demand for limited supply of residential properties leads to higher prices. Greeff Christie’s International Real Estate hold the highest recorded Scarborough sale at R11 million. “Improving internet connectivity enables more people to work from home,” says area specialist Elly Abels.

Technology, along with increased schooling opportunities in nearby Kommetjie, makes Scarborough even more attractive to families. There is a vibrant mix of permanent residents, weekenders and holiday makers and the closeknit community combines to protect environment and one another.

Lightstone statistics tell an interesting story. Almost 60% of owners have lived in the same home for eight years or longer; fewer than 1% of owners are younger than 35; 87% of buyers are in the 36-64 age group. This is a stable community of owners.

This architect-designed two-bedroom, two-bathroom home has a grid-tied solar system and 35 000l rainwater storage. Picture: Supplied

Of the 17 homes that sold in the past 12 months, the average selling price was R3.831 million. A further indicator of the increasing exclusivity of Scarborough is the measure that only two plots sold in the past year, averaging R1.69m apiece.

Once the vacant erven are depleted, new building opportunities will be dependent on existing owners selling. “Living and working in Scarborough is both a pleasure and an immense privilege. In such a small community we are able to really connect with people and every sale that we do is personal – not least because the new owners become our neighbours and hopefully our friends too,” says Abels.

Jules de Combes’ favourite things to do

You don’t get closer to nature than living in Scarborough. It’s wild and unpredictable, rugged
and beautiful: there’s a rawness and richness that you don’t find easily within a relatively short commute to the city. – Resident Jules de Combes, pictured with her husband Steve
Picture: Supplied

1 Outdoors

The coastline is a cornucopia of foraging options – not only land, but the sea also offers a bounty that’s perfectly edible if you know what you’re looking for. Veld and Sea offer courses on how to make the most of these free ingredients. 072 234 4804.

For the exercise-hungry there is an array of free things to do. There are various hikes, walks on the beach, kite flying, cycling both on and off-road – or you can simply sit in the fynbos and marvel at the waves.

2 Eat

A local favourite since 1963, Camel Rock has a great market on Tuesdays. The fare includes fish and seafood platters, as well as wood-fired pizzas or a braai with organic veggies. Rocking the Camel, that’s live music on Saturdays, brings classy acts to this outpost. 021 780 1122.

If reviews mean anything, Whole Earth Café should be included on your culinary tour. 021 780 1138

3 Drink

The Village Hub has a number of outlets. Foragers, on the ground floor, is a deli offering a range of in-house juices and smoothies. Ingredients are organic where possible and they’re kid, dog and cyclist-friendly 021 780 1047.

If you seek something even more natural, sipping fresh mountain water out of a rock pool during a mountain hike after the rain should be a bucket-list item.

4 Shop

Genuine African artefacts from across the continent are available at Red Rock Tribal. Picture: Supplied

Perched at the tip of the continent Red Rock Tribal combines a range of African utilitarian, cultural and ceremonial craftsmanship artefacts under one roof. Most items have been sourced by owners on their travels, each article having a story of its own. Viewing by appointment 082 269 1020.

Redhill Pottery has work by creators of a unique enamelling process which emulates old-fashioned enamel ware, but in vibrant, modern colours. 083 292 7950


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