There is often a perception that game farms are predominantly confined to the northern regions of the country, but Ian Badenhorst, managing director for Seeff Karoo and Country, says that demand for these across the Karoo and Cape Countryside has risen in recent years.
Current conditions are favourable to invest in game farms and there are a number of new listings on the market with top class infrastructure, excellent water sources and Eskom electricity in the R5.5 million to about R19.5 million range for a top end commercial operation.
The value is outstanding when you compare it to the cost of residential housing, he says. The price generally includes a variety of game and some are being sold as a going concern. Most, he says, either already have a commercial game operation or offer the opportunity to develop this further.
Renewed interest in semigration from the inland provinces makes it an ideal time for buyers looking to relocate to the countryside and take up game farming. Mr Badenhorst says these farms are also popular investment opportunities and it is not uncommon to find syndicates investing in these.
The opening of domestic travel is already seeing keen South Africans who have been house-bound for the past few months take up the opportunity to flock to the countryside. While the Covid Pandemic has halted vital international tourism, he says it is only a matter of time before we will get back to business as usual in that regard which just underscores the excellent timing to get into this sector of the property market.
Graaff-Reinet and Jansenville
The Karoo with its spectacular landscapes is one of the popular areas for game farms, says David McNaughton, an agent with Seeff Graaff Reinet. The area is steeped in history and popular with local and international tourists.
Prices in this area range from around R5.5m (plus VAT if applicable) for a 494ha Noorsveld lifestyle farm which is easily accessible as a weekend getaway but offers great potential for eco- or game tourism income generation.
A key feature of the property is its stunning landscape of hills and a valley with streams, one which forms a 25m-high waterfall after the rain. There is a variety of game and excellent infrastructure including the main house on high ground with panoramic views and the original homestead which is in the process of restoration. There is Eskom electricity and a good water supply. A benefit, says the agent, is that it is on offer lock, stock and barrel.
At the top end, you can find a 1716ha game farm about 80km south of Graaff Reinet for R9.45m. It is a top class commercial operation with no capital outlay required for income generation with a wide variety of game and excellent infrastructure. This includes a main house and accommodation for a manager and staff, outbuilding and breeding camps with feed stores. There is an extensive road network, pipelines, reservoirs and troughs along with Eskom electricity and excellent water sources. The house contents and two Sable bulls are also available for negotiation.
The Klein Karoo and Route 62 Wine Route area is another excellent choice for game farms according to Sonja Claassen, an agent with Seeff Ladismith. The area is under four hours from Cape Town and popular with local and international tourists.
The spectacular landscapes of the Klein Karoo and views as far as the eye can see is a real draw card as it offers people a wonderful respite from the cities, says the agent. Expect to pay around R16.5m for a 3026ha farm just off the Route 62 with a variety of game and stunning infrastructure comprising of a main house with stunning views, three accommodation units and permission to build a further five lodges of 250sqm each, staff accommodation, outbuildings and stables.
It offers excellent potential as a game farm if more game is introduced or could be a private reserve to enjoy game viewing and the landscape which includes many interesting topographical features, ridges and hills offer stunning viewpoints.
Riversdale, Van Wyksdorp and Heidelberg
The Van Wyksdorp area is another attractive prospect, says Willie van Rensburg, an agent with Seeff Riversdale. It lies just off Route 62, in the foothills of the Rooiberg Mountains. About 8km outside the town, is a 916ha farm on offer for R6.15 million (excluding VAT), also being sold as a going concern and ideal for development.
It includes a variety of game, kudu, ostrich and dorper sheep with infrastructure such as a main house, staff accommodation and various outbuildings such as storerooms, a cold room, garage and a sheep kraal. It also offers a 4km riverfront (Grootrivier), various water sources and Eskom power.
Riversdale on the Garden Route is another increasingly popular area for game farms according to Mr van Rensburg. Two farms on the market should be of great interest to prospective game farm buyers and investors, both in the R18 million range (excluding VAT).
The first is 397ha, on sale as a going concern. It is spectacular with a variety of game and excellent infrastructure including an 800sqm main house, two additional houses, staff accommodation, garaging and barns, a Shiraz vineyard, vegetable garden, 4x4 and mountain bike trails, excellent water sources and three-phase electricity.
The second farm is a 275ha productive buffalo and cattle farm on the Duiwenhoks River in a scenic valley bordering the Bosmansbos Wilderness and Langeberg Mountains. The farm has been regenerated with no cost spared on restoring the soils and establishing permanent multi-species pastures and permanent grazing camps, he says.
The infrastructure includes a main residence, manager and labourer’s accommodation and outbuildings. There is excellent water from rivers and irrigation dams with registered water rights. The land includes 90ha of permanent grazing, 5ha irrigated and 15ha mixed grassland along with fynbos and beautiful afro-montane riparian forest which attracts a diverse array of birds and endemic mammals.