Perched on the hills with sweeping views of the Indian Ocean, the South Coast town of Pennington takes its name from an English family who began farming in the area in the late 19th century.
Sugar cane magnate Sir Frank Reynolds later acquired part of the property to develop his country home, Umdoni Park, named for the local water myrtle (mdoni) trees, building a seaside residence for South African prime ministers and reflecting his admiration for Louis Botha.
Today, Botha House is an upmarket accommodation venue.
Pennington is an eclectic mix of agricultural land under sugar cane, dairy farms and holiday homes belonging to families who flock in for the year-round beautiful weather. Given its popularity as a holiday destination, the bulk of properties are holiday homes rather than permanently occupied residences.
Accommodating large family units, the stand-alone houses are typically three, four and five-bedroomed mansions with sea views, but the number of “for sale” signs reflects an economy where running two properties has become beyond the reach of many citizens.
On a positive note, the multimillion-rand Umdoni Point Lifestyle Village, a development planning to bring 271 sectional title housing units to the market for the over-50 year age group, was launched in September.
Umdoni Point sales representative Des Robb says only 12% of the 50 hectares will be developed, with the balance remaining as natural forests and wetlands.
The current focus incorporates the 70-unit first phase with the show house and the first five houses now under construction.
“This development will put Pennington on the map, fundamentally changing the village via capital investment, increased population and the opportunity to improve the local economy,” he says, indicating the average selling price for the 271 land sites is R2.5million.
Owner of the Dog House Craft Café, Andy Turner, says there has been a shift within the Pennington community where permanent residents are increasingly young families seeking a more balanced lifestyle and who are willing to commute. Previously retirees dominated the community.
There are various commercial properties on the market. A 23854m² property rezoned as a medium-density residential development site suitable for 25 upmarket residential units is on sale for R3.38m.
Another opportunity is a is a 250m² shop patronised by the local community. The property has space for expansion, with the business owner wanting R4.2m.
In 2018, a holiday resort, conference and adventure centre came to the market for R7.3m. The business, which had been operating for 50 years and can accommodate 130 people, typically attracts school and church groups.
Rentals are not high profile but a 68m² shop boasting a veranda and bay window is for rent for R130/m².
“Pennington is South Africa’s hidden gem, especially as the N2 national freeway bypasses the town. There is nothing not to love – the sea views, outstanding golf courses, abundance of wildlife and birding and the quality of life it offers. I shall never leave.” Robb says.