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WESTERN CAPE: Our insider’s guide to Worcester

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Leave the concrete jungle behind and head north to one of the richest agricultural areas in the Western Cape. With good schools, medical services, museums and a range of shops, you might just decide to put down roots

While Worcester has grown in recent years, it still exudes small-town charm – everyone knows one another. It’s also surrounded by mountains and the
view changes with each dawn and
sunset. If you tire of the vista from
your home, it’s a quick drive in the
car to give you a completely different
perspective of the area’s beauty.

But the fame is not all land-based; one of South Africa’s most iconic celebrities – singer, songwriter, playwright and director David Kramer (of the red veldskoen fame) – was born in Worcester and is now one of nine people who enjoy Freedom of the Town status.

For resident Ken McIntyre, who has lived in Worcester for almost 40 years, the town provides an unparalleled lifestyle.

“I regularly listen to the Cape Town road reports and thank my lucky stars that I’m not one of those poor souls stuck in traffic. Mall parking is mostly free – there are no central town meters – and rush hour, what there is to speak of, happens between 5 and 5.40pm,” he says.

The town of Worcester, about 120km from Cape Town, is steeped in history. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)

“While Worcester has grown, it still exudes small-town charm – everyone knows one another. It’s also surrounded by mountains and view changes with each dawn and sunset.

“If you tire of the vista from home, it’s a quick drive for a different perspective of the area’s beauty.”

Worcester is the regional headquarters for most provincial government departments and also the administrative centre for the Breede River Local Municipality.

“There’s an interesting mix of property transactions in the area,” says Stefanie Nagel, principal of Jawitz Properties.

“Some owners are down-scaling, others making room for an expanding family or seeking a better quality of life.

“With more buyers coming to the market, demand has increased, driving prices up.”

Lightstone market statistics indicate freehold properties have seen a steady price rise since 2012 – barring a dip in 2017 – to where median price is now
R1.15million.

At the same time, sectional title units – admittedly in relatively limited numbers – have almost stagnated at around R600000. Vacant land trades around R330000.

“While the market is dominated by freehold sales there is still vacant land for those looking to custom build. There is also a development of two-bedroom units coming to the market in the CBD and an array of security complexes and retirement villages,” adds Nagel.

Residents and visitors to the town can enjoy a well-developed central business district and a shopping mall. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)

The Breede River Valley is one of the most important agricultural areas in the country, with a farming heritage going back close on 200 years; many businesses serve that sector.

Thanks to the area’s natural beauty, tourism has grown in leaps and bounds as city dwellers search for respite from the daily grind. Farms offering any tourism experience have flourished, with various festivals staged year-round. The Wacky Wine Weekend is one example of when the community comes together to stage a major event.

“It’s just over an hour’s drive from Cape Town to Worcester, and then you’re in a Garden of Eden. The entire region is worth a visit and the town’s facilities are excellent – there are good schools, medical services, plus a rich heritage offering including museums and historic buildings,” says Nagel.

“If you’re looking to leave the concrete jungle behind – but not too far behind – then Worcester should be on your shopping list.”

Ken McIntyre’s favourite things to do

While Worcester has grown in recent years, it still exudes small-town charm – everyone knows one another. It’s also surrounded by mountains and the view changes with each dawn and
sunset. If you tire of the vista from your home, it’s a quick drive in the car to give you a completely different perspective of the area’s beauty. – Ken McIntyre, resident
Picture: Supplied

1
Outdoors

The Karoo Desert
National Botanical Garden
at the foot of the Hex
River Mountains is a 154ha
spectacle of arid and semi-arid
plants. It has also logged 95
species of birds and the 1km
Desert Bird Trail is a must for
twitchers; 023 342 1298.

2 Eat

Fowler’s Grill offers
a wide range of cuisine,
but their steaks are
legendary; 023 347 8761.
For something different,
the Star Park Restaurant in
Church Street has Chinese
cuisine and sushi – open
daily; 023 342 5967.

3 Drink

Options are
almost endless. Tusker’s
Pub claims the longest
bar counter in Africa and the
views are awesome;
071 217 1201. Opstal Estate
dates back seven generations
and offers three ranges of
wines, from quaffing to premium; views stupendous;
023 344 3001.

4 Shop

Mountain Mill Mall offers 105 shops and free parking. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)

Living in the
country does not mean
sacrifice on the shopping front. Mountain Mill
Mall (105 shops) is open
daily from 9am, parking is
free; 023 347 0415.

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