George - The Hub of the Garden Route

Private Property South Africa
Anna-Marie Smith

This is where proud residents do not hesitate in reminding visitors of its latest claim to fame. Of being home to now famous singer and songwriter Elvis Blue, winner of the 2010 SA Idols Award.

Positioned in a central location both to the Western Cape, the Garden Route and the Eastern Cape, George is only 420 km east of Cape Town along the N2 national road, and 330 km west of Port Elizabeth. With George Airport just 7km out of the city centre it offers convenient access both by road and air, catering for passengers and freight between major cities as well as light aircraft.

With a total of 34 suburbs and a population of approximately 203 253 people, this town is set in the spectacular natural surroundings of the Outeniqua Mountains and features the scenic railway line between George and Oudtshoorn. Built between 1908 and 1913 by 2 500 labourers at the cost of £465 000, it had to be blasted out of rock, as was the nearby Montague Pass stretching over 10km of dirt road and built by 250 war convicts. Known for its tricky serpentine curves in a magnificent Fynbos region, this pass is now one of the Southern Cape’s national monuments.

Today there is no scheduled rail passenger service to George, but a number of popular vintage trips to the Garden Route can be accessed from here. This town is an unusual mix of industry and scenic wonders, all within close proximity from one another. Well known for its lush forests and long history in the timber industry, locals exhibit an appreciation for water since low rainfall patterns and limited catchment areas have for years exacerbated the scarcity of a precious resource.

From a residential property perspective, one of the many attractions when searching for property to buy or property to rent here is the limited travelling distances to some of the Southern Cape’s most spectacular beaches. When travelling in a southerly direction toward Mosselbay there are Grootbrak, Kleinbrak, and Hartenbos beaches, some that are set in the tranquil locations of lagoons and river estuaries. In an easterly direction toward Sedgefield and Knysna is the famous surfing beach of Victoria Bay, and for worldclass paragliding is Lientjiesklip at Wilderness. A number of upmarket security estates are found here where worldclass golf courses such as Fancourt Golf Estate not only offers superior quality residential property for sale and to rent, but also attracts foreign investors resulting from high-profile tournaments.

In addition to being the commercial and industrial hub of the Southern Cape, the town also offers tertiary education at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, and a number of other private colleges. Well established junior and senior schools in English and Afrikaans medium are a major attraction to young families from upcountry, such as the Afrikaans-medium George High School established in 1947 and Outeniqua High School established in 1923.

In municipal terms the town is divided into George Central and George South, both with a fairly even split market segment of sectional share and freehold properties. Average freehold values in George Central peaked at R2-million in 2009, and showed minimal change when it dropped to R1.975-million in 2010. Nearest suburbs falling within the George municipal domain holding higher average freehold values are Camphers Drift at R1.8-million and Dormehls Drift at R1.1-million.

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