Jeffrey's Bay The 4th wonder of our world

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Tourism News
Sparkling opportunities in beautiful Gem of the Karoo
11 September 2010

Award-winning town offers far more than history

IN winning the 2010 Kwela/ Rapport South African Town of the Year competition, the appealing town of Graaff-Reinet in the Karoo sends out a strong message to investors, tourists and home-buyers to take note of its achievements and status, which augurs well for the town's long-term investment potential. So says Wayne Rubidge, Pam Golding Properties area principal in the Karoo. Known as the "Gem of the Karoo" and surrounded by the magnificent Camdeboo National Park, Graaff-Reinet is located in the Camdeboo Municipality which was last year identified as the "best place to live" in a comprehensive study by economic empowerment rating agency Empowerdex. In the study all 231 municipalities, 46 district municipalities and six metropolitan municipalities were assessed in respect of housing, water, electricity, waste removal and sanitation, and Camdeboo was ranked in the top five in all three sub-categories. "This is no mean feat considering its location, climate, infrastructure and services, when compared with major municipalities nationally," says Rubidge. "However, Graaff-Reinet, which is the fourth-oldest town in the country, has a stable and growing economy, underpinned by a buoyant property market. "It is recognised as the home of magnificent examples of Cape Dutch architecture, with more than 220 heritage sites - more than any other town in South Africa. So it is fitting that the town hosts the 2010 Heritage South Africa Symposium on October 8 and 9." The town's mayor, Dantjie Jafta, says: "In my term as mayor of the Camdeboo and Graaff-Reinet, the successes achieved by the town and the municipality are complemented by the initiatives of businesses to promote the area and its historic attractions and investment opportunities. This is coupled with their participation in successful municipality projects such as jointly sponsoring the household waste recycling project with the Nama Karoo Foundation and SANParks. "Other recent projects include the International Wool and Mohair Summit held here in 2009, the enhancement of tourism opportunities through the establishment of an Interpretation Centre for Indigenous Peoples of South Africa that is taking shape, and initiatives like the establishment of an annual Khoisan festival for the Camdeboo. This is the kind of unity we promote and wish to take forward as the best municipality in South Africa." With a number of good schools, which add appeal for families relocating from cities for a more secure and better-quality lifestyle, Graaff-Reinet is renowned for its clear night skies and healthy climate - ideal for exploring the great outdoors. The town also has a great deal of historic interest, having preserved the past in four extraordinary museums. Rubidge says probably the most historical part of the town is located in a horseshoe bend of the Sundays River, where smallholdings and agricultural plots abound. Graaff-Reinet offers a variety of attractions, with good restaurants, art galleries and a theatre, as well as products for which the town is renowned, such as venison and wool. On show during the October Heritage Symposium weekend will be some of the finest restored historical homes currently on the market in the town.


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