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WESTERN CAPE: Our insider’s guide to Onrus

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Named after the sound of the ocean’s waters constantly pounding on rocks, Onrus is anything but restless and is the peaceful setting many creative writers and multi-millionaires choose to call their home

The name Onrus means “restless” in Afrikaans. It refers to the constant pounding of the Atlantic Ocean on the rocky shoreline, an action that releases ozone into the atmosphere.

This rich air is often credited for boosting inspiration and creativity – and perhaps there’s some truth in that belief because a number of South Africa’s most prolific writers, including Wilbur Smith, Andre Brink and Breyten Breytenbach, at some point during their careers, have called Onrus home.

Once considered a retirement or holiday village, and fewer than 120km from Cape Town on good roads, commuting to the eastern periphery of the Mother City, Stellenbosch and Somerset West is completely doable from Onrus. The expansion of Hermanus, just down the road, also offers business and employment opportunities.

Lightstone statistics indicate 42% of buyers in the last year were under 49 years old. For Ben-Johann du Toit, Onrus offers an unparalleled lifestyle.

“The region has seen tremendous growth. Onrus, once a quiet little holiday village, has become a bedroom community for many working nearby. At the same time it has not lost its village feel. Every weekend feels like a holiday.

The Onrus property market offers an array of homes from holiday to full residential
and luxury properties. Picture: Supplied

“There is so much to do. It’s perfect for anyone who enjoys outdoors, from a day on the beach with the family to a paddle on the lagoon, surfing the beach break or taking on the bigger waves at Harderbaai, a swim in Davies pool, fishing along the coast, crayfish diving or enjoying a walk along the cliff path to Vermont.”

Nearby Hermanus adds to the list with the option to enjoy a round of golf at the beautiful 27-hole course, a picnic in the Fernkloof nature reserve, kite surfing on the Hermanus Lagoon, fly fishing in the valley, mountain biking along the many single tracks, hiking the mountain trails, or a sunset cruise from the new harbour where you may encounter dolphins or a whale.

Once considered a retirement or holiday village, Onrus has expanded but retains its village feel. Picture: Charmaune de Jongh-Gelderblom

“The setting is wonderful. The community is great. We just love living here.” The Onrus market boasts an array of homes, from holiday to full residential properties. Prices range from R2 million to R17m. Interestingly, Lightstone indicates property movements as relatively static – around 115 annual sales over the past five years, except for 2019 when it slumped to 79. Last year, sectional title prices rose higher than freehold.

“While there are some upmarket homes, those in the R2m to R3m range sell quite quickly, typically within three months,” says Jaco van der Merwe, principal of Greeff Christie’s International Real Estate for the Winelands and Whale Coast.

“The rental market is healthy, especially for holiday homes. These vary from R12 000 to R20 000 a month depending on proximity to sea and other amenities.”

A local estate agent says houses for sale in the area range from R2 million to R17m. Picture: Supplied

The area is clearly a drawcard for the well-heeled. According to The South African, there are around 800 dollar-millionaires living in Hermanus and surrounds. “It’s a quiet and peaceful community – the children play in the streets – and there’s a plethora of outdoor activities on the doorstep.

“The nearby school and health facilities are excellent, so the move of younger families to the area is quite understandable,” says Van der Merwe. If you want to improve your lifestyle without sacrificing educational, health and shopping opportunities, Onrus is a potential winner.

Ben-Johann’s favourite things to do

There is so much to do. It’s a perfect town for anyone who enjoys the outdoors, from a day on the beach with the family to a paddle on the lagoon, surfing the beach break or taking on the bigger waves at Harderbaai, a swim in Davies Pool, fishing along the coast, crayfish diving or enjoying a walk along the cliff path to Vermont. – Ben, Annelle, Lea and Ben-Johan du Toit, residents Picture: Supplied

Outdoors

Sandwiched between Vermont and Sandbaai, with Hermanus a few kilometres away, there are a host of outdoor activities: a walk along the coastal path, dip in the warm lagoon lounge on the beach. The more energetic can take their bikes and discover the many trails.

2 Drink

Nothing beats grabbing a cooler box and taking a stroll to Harderbaai for a sundowner on the rocks and the best view of the sun setting over the ocean. For something more formal, head to Sumaridge Estate, 10km from Onrus, up the Hemelen-Aarde valley, to enjoy a glass of wine and a platter on the lawn next to the dam; 0283121097. 

3 Eat

For solid Italian, takeaway or eat in, Karmenaadjie will make you think you’re closer to the motherland than Onrus; 0283162967.

4 Shop

The local market is the place to head for a caffeine fix at the local roastery, and beans for the week ahead, and stock up on cheese, meat and wine. Picture: HermanusPietersfontein Wines/Gillian Coetzee

Saturdays were made for a visit to die markie at Hermanuspietersfontein. You can get your caffeine fix – and beans for the week – from Micro Coffee, a local roastery, and stock up on cheese, meat and wine; 0283161875.

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