Bordering the West Coast National Park, and with a range of water sports on offer, Langebaan is only 120km from Cape Town and the town has excellent schools, medical facilities and shops
Once a backwater holiday town, Langebaan has been expanding rapidly, thanks to West Coast oil and gas industry development.
The promulgation of the nearby Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) in 2013 has proved a catalyst for growth in the region’s property market, says Pieter Wagner, co-owner of Harcourts West Coast.
“Nestled on the eastern shore of the lagoon, Langebaan is only 120km north of Cape Town, easily accessible via the R27.
“Bordering the West Coast National Park, it provides all principal amenities, such as schools, medical facilities, police station, filling stations and now its first mall. The ever-popular Club Mykonos Resort is nearby and is home to the only casino on the West Coast.”
“There’s confidence in the market. There are various developments, which include a private hospital, boutique hotel, private school and the arrival of national chains Checkers and Woolworths.”
But for long-time resident Mel Richter, it’s all about lifestyle.
“I’ve been here since the mid-1960s and I’ve seen Langebaan transform from a small holiday village to a bustling town exuding confidence and providing opportunities – thanks mainly to the IDZ development.
“The recreational opportunities are varied. We are recognised as one of the top three kite-boarding destinations and it is not uncommon for more than 60 or 70 kite-boarders to be airborne. Many foreign visitors spend hard currency.
“A significant change has been the relocation of young professionals as permanent residents. The technology revolution makes remote contact a reality and many work from home for three or four days a week, commuting to Cape Town for meetings when required.
“We’ve got good schools, medical and shopping facilities. There’s no hardship to living here.”
The property market is experiencing a healthy 13% growth rate in new homes, and Langebaan is one of the fastest growing towns on the West Coast. However, it still offers buyers competitive pricing on building costs, as well as new homes being built on a speculative basis. With plenty of stock available, Langebaan is a buyer’s market.
“While the national residential market has experienced minimal growth since the global economic crises and related effects, Langebaan has escaped the full brunt of the downturn,” says Wagner.
“The IDZ, underpinning the local economy in the medium term, is having a stabilising effect. A number of large companies have a presence in the area and Langebaan is the preferred residential node for their senior employees. There are also many sub-contractors involved and development is expected to continue boosting the local economy and property market for the next 20 to 30 years.
“While Langebaan continues to attract holiday-homeowners, we estimate about 65% of the population are permanent residents. The area is served by good highways and commuting to Vredenburg, Saldanha, or even the northern fringes of Cape Town, is easy.”
The town offers a mix of properties, large and small, with and without sea views. These attributes are reflected in the prices – undeveloped plots go for from R400000 and beachfront properties for up to R5million. Homes without sea views are on offer for around R2m, while large executive-type properties are fetching R10m, with asking prices as high as R16m. The buy-to-let and rental markets are healthy.
“There’s increased interest in West Coast properties, particularly for beachfront properties. Increasing sales since last year have created scarcity in this finite category of property,” Wagner says.
Mel Richter’s favourite places and things to do
If you’re in Langebaan, you have to be on the water and there’s no better way than in a sea kayak. Gravity Adventures offer a range of options from short two-hour paddles around Schaapen Island and its protected bird colony to longer trips of one to three days or more. They also hire out a fully-equipped, semi-rigid inflatable boat with a skipper for those wanting a more high-octane experience (021 683 3698).
Langebaan is the only RYA-accredited exam water for sailing in South Africa, so if you’re looking for internationally-accredited courses, Atlantic Yachting should be your port of call. They offer courses from recreational through to Yacht Master Ocean, and all are heavily practical-oriented. There’s even a live-in option for those undertaking longer programmes (022 772 0718).
A fixture on the Langebaan beach for 25 years, Pearly’s is family-owned and operated, offering a broad menu from breakfast winners through to seafood and classic grills. The sunsets from the veranda are to die for, and the only way you can be closer to the sea is to be in it. In season, you might have to wait a while but it’s worth it (022 772 2734).
Marc’s Beach Bar is right on the Langebaan beachfront, next to Club Mykonos and the casino. Weekends feature live entertainment and the menu caters for everyone from seafood lovers to vegetarians. A great spot from which to watch the sunset (081 410 7989).
After a hot day on the beach there’s nothing like a cold beer and the Black Eagle Brewing Company, in the heart of the old Langebaan village in a historic bokkomhuis, should be the first stop. Black Eagle is a nano-sized operation in pursuit of mastering the art of brewing world-class beer. The tasting room, which is intimate and vibey, serves cold beer, snacks, ploughman’s plates and Russian street food. Hours are limited, so consult their social media pages or call them (022 772 0594).
West Coast Distillers are about to launch their second craft gin, hot on the heels of their successful Caspyn iteration – infused with 12 botanicals, including local fynbos. They have three bitters brands – Aromatic, Rooibos and Orange – all gravity-strained, hand-pressed, hand-mixed and soft-filtered. Co-owners Shane and Shaun are constructing a tasting room. They will visit you if you are a group of tasters (072 617 6477).
If you’re spending any time in Langebaan, Cape Sports Centre is worth a visit. Since opening in 1993, they have become a leading supplier of water sports equipment on the West Coast, carrying many of the world’s best brands. They also offer surfing gear to ensure you look the part. For beginners, there is professional tuition and a Pilates studio to help one limber up for the day’s exertions. The Wunderbar – with panoramic views of the lagoon – is an ideal spot to quench your thirst after spending an exhilarating day at sea (022 772 1114).