Prince Albert is a small village positioned along the Klein Karoo wine route, one of many gems of this region.Set in a dry and arid area that is enriched by a unique underground water source system, Prince Albert owns its well deserved claim to fame to the Cape Floral Kingdom, that lead to the Swartberg Mountain Range becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is to Prince Albert’s wide open spaces and clear night skies that many city dwellers escape to, lured by a sunny climate and the purest, unpolluted air. Residents in this village, many who are star gazing hobbyists, say it is the lifestyle in Prince Albert that makes the cold winter months bearable. For them, another outstanding characteristic of the village is the soothing sound of water flowing through wide street furrows, the perfect setting for laid-back living. Prince Albert has recently increased in popularity as a tourist destination, offering many natural attractions such as the Gamkapoort Nature Reserve, and is only 187 km away from Sutherland , home to the Sutherland Observatory and SALT, the largest telescope in the southern hemisphere.The village itself takes visitors back in time to settlers of past eras whose architecture and rich cultural heritage is preserved in many Cape Dutch and Victorian buildings, some traditional Karoo style homes, and 12 National Monuments. Originally known as Albertsburg, the town was renamed in honour of Queen Victoria’s husband, Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. This area experienced a shortlived gold mining rush, but saw greater prosperity from its ostrich industry when the ostrich feather boom hit Europe in the late 1800’s. Prince Albert now offers visitors great adventures such as viewing the 27 km Swartberg Pass leading to the spectacular Gamkaskloof, otherwise known as The Hell, and the Gamkapoort Nature Reserve. Prince Albert is a popular choice for farmers, young families and retirees, and recently underwent a growth spurt, and Lightstone shows a considerable increase in average property values during the first three months of 2011. A total number of 8 transfers for the first three month period this years shows average values of R1,1 million, as compared to that of the 45 total number of sales in 2010 with average values of R835 000, where 15 of these properties were priced in excess of R1 million. Average prices in Prince Albert which started at R165 000 in 2004, have climbed steadily to R615 000 in 2010, and this year’s eight property transfers show average values reaching R1.5 million, despite the decline in the number of sales since 2004 which dropped from 79 to 47 in 2010. Another indicator that those re-locating to Prince Albert have disposable income is that only 10 bonds with average values of R750 000 were registered with the lending institutions in 2010, out of a total 45 properties transferred in the same period. Driven by agriculture, Prince Albert has become world renowned for sun-ripened fresh and dried fruit, and is at the centre of the country’s mohair producing region due to resident champion breeders of Angora goats.
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