A stray bullet fired from a hunter’s rifle first bought the small village of Sabie in Mpumalanga to the world’s attention way back in 1887 when it chipped a rock revealing a rich gold vein. Prospectors converged on the area in large numbers decimating the indigenous forests that had until then, had dominated the landscape. Luckily good sense prevailed and it soon became apparent that if the area was to survive, more forests needed to be planted. Thanks to Joseph Brook Shires, who established the first commercial forests in the region, the area now boasts one of the largest man-made forest plantations in the world. The forestry industry may be the biggest industry in the town, but it is certainly not the only one. Tourism plays a major role in the daily lives of Sabie’s residents. Famed for its beauty and less than a three-hour drive from Gauteng, the area has proved to be a popular spot for local tourists for years. The fact that the Kruger National Park is virtually on the town’s doorstep has added to the allure, drawing tourists from all over the world. This beautiful little holiday town continues to draw residential property buyers from all walks of life and the recent statistics released by Lightstone indicate that 40 properties have been sold in the area over the past 12 months. The average price paid for a freehold property was R662 000, while the sectional title sector averaged out at R385 000. The large majority of buyers investing in this area are aged between 36 to 49 years, while mature buyers in the 50 to 64 years make up 30% of recent buyers. Although the statistics do not indicate the number of second homes purchased, it stands to reason that a large number of these properties have been bought as second homes. Situated approximately 360km from Johannesburg, the area offers a multitude of attractions for weekend visitors including hiking, backpacking, horse riding as well as the trout fishing facilities that the entire region enjoys.Well-known landmarks such as God’s Window, the Potholes at Burkes Luck as well as the nearby mining town of Pilgrims Rest are within an easy drive and all remain popular tourist destinations for those staying in the town. While the town will never be regarded as a commercial hot spot, it has become renowned for the plethora of arts and crafts shops that line the streets. In an effort to cater for every taste and pocket there is also a wealth of accommodation on offer, including lodges, bed-and-breakfast establishments as well as self-catering options for backpackers.
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