Still crazy after 162 000 years

Private Property South Africa
Martin Hatchuel

When the City of Cape Town boasted earlier this year that both the New York Times and The Guardian had named the Mother City their favourite destination for 2014, the good people of Mossel Bay Tourism thought that was rather sweet.

So they sent the youngster a message: “Cape Town: congratulations on being the place everyone wants to go to in 2014. From Mossel Bay: the place everyone came from 162 000 years ago.”

Cape Town, you see, was established by the Dutch East India Company in 1652 (“Only about 360 years ago,” according to Mossel Bay Tourism’s Marcia Holm) whereas research into a series of caves cut into a cliff 12 kilometres west of Mossel Bay’s CBD has revealed that this is where modern human behaviour first emerged: as they say – 162 000 years ago.

This is where humankind first harvested seafood systematically; first used ochre (the earliest form of paint – which puts Mossel Bay as the birthplace of culture); first made complex tools out of mixed materials; and first used fire to change the nature of the raw stone needed for making those tools (which puts Mossel Bay as the birthplace of modern technology).

And we know this because of – golf.

On par

Yes, golf. Because the ancient material in the caves – which continues to reveal secrets about the very beginnings of modern human behaviour - was discovered during a routine survey that took place as part of the environmental impact assessment that led to the development of the Pinnacle Point Beach & Golf Resort.

Which is now one of Mossel Bay’s premier addresses.

In fact the town itself is on the rise. Named Finweek’s ‘Best place to do business in South Africa’ in 2012, it’s managed by a municipality that’s established itself as a serial recipient of clean audits – and, besides its legendary mild weather, it boasts excellent private and public schools, as well as top class medical facilities (the Life Bayview Private Hospital’s website lists 70 “supporting doctors” – private practitioners – who between them consult in 19 different disciplines).

Top courses

As Pam Golding Properties Mossel Bay principal and PrivateProperty.co.za advertiser, Keith Murray, said: “Mossel Bay is no longer the orphan of the Garden Route. It’s become a sought-after, up-market investment destination – and a lot of this has to do with the fact that we now have two prime golfing destinations: Pinnacle Point and the Mossel Bay Golf Estate.”

And yes, Pinnacle Point did find itself in the, er, rough at one time – you may remember the liquidation of the original development company – but that’s all history now. As Pinnacle Point Homeowners Association general manager Carl van der Linde pointed out: “All the residential land is now privately owned, and the Homeowners Association owns and runs the golf course – which is very definitely in the green.”

For today’s investor, said Keith, property prices at both Pinnacle Point and Mossel Bay Golf Estate have stabilised in the last three to four months – they’d been flat for some years, and they haven’t exactly begun soaring yet, “But the market is active at the moment, and the guys aren’t accepting any ridiculously low offers any more.

“I think anyone who buys now will essentially be getting in at a good price.”

... And they’ll be getting in on a good place, too.

Geared for visitors – and residents

Pam Golding Properties Mossel Bay's current listing includes 104 properties for sale on Pinnacle Point, and 41 for sale on the Mossel Bay Golf Estate.

Oh, and by the way – both the Mossel Bay and Pinnacle Point clubs welcome visiting players. And if you want to visit the Pinnacle Point Caves in the company of Dr Peter Nilssen – the man who introduced them to science – you can do so on The Point of Human Origins Experience. (And know that you’ll be contributing to the conservation of a national asset of international importance.)

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