The coast of South Africa is more than 2,500 kilometres long, it’s wild and tamed, rocky and sandy, restless and restful, and probably more varied than any coastline anywhere else in the world. And here you are with only one lifetime to live and one retirement to enjoy, and now you have to choose where to settle when – as the Bard might have said – the hurly-burly’s done, and it’s time to turn to a life of leisure.
KZN NORTH COAST
KwaZulu-Natal’s North Coast offers warm and balmy, tropical holiday weather, and the rapidly developing towns of Zinkwazi, Umhlali, Ballito, and Salt Rock feel as if they’re way out in the country, but with all the urban necessities – and also really close to the city. And even closer to King Shaka International Airport. It’s a great destination for surfers, and the fishing’s beyond excellent due to the many sheltered lagoons and estuaries that serve as nurseries for a huge variety of saltwater fishes. It’s wonderful for cyclists, too, with numerous trails through forests and cane fields, and the golf can’t be beat.
KZN SOUTH COAST
South of Durban, the South Coast is similar to its northerly neighbour, but more laid-back. Towns and villages like Amanzimtoti, Umkomaas, Scottburgh, Port Shepstone, Margate, and Port Edward offer everything from boat-based whale watching to snorkelling, surfing and fishing, and the scuba diving is world class. With numerous nature reserves, and more than 400 species of birds on record, there are plenty of opportunities to connect with nature, and the golf is great.
Widenham Village, near Scottburgh, is part of the Hibiscus Retirement Villages group – a registered non-profit organisation whose mission is ‘to provide the best value-for-money retirement homes and villages in the country’, and which has the distinction of being the first retirement society in South Africa to implement life-right ownership.
The Eastern Cape is an area of transition from the warmer waters of the north to the cooler beaches of the south, so the ocean here is particularly rich in biodiversity. The beaches are fantastic, and the surfing is legendary, with Jeffreys Bay on every international travelling surfer’s bucket list. It’s also home to the underrated but awesome Greater Addo Elephant National Park, which boasts the Big Seven (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, Cape buffalo, southern right whale, and great white shark).
Settlers Park Retirement Village in Port Alfred is a non-profit that’s been going for around 32 years. With 270 life-right cottages on 16 hectares, it also offers a care centre with assisted living suites and flats, a restaurant, convenience store, laundry, library and beautiful open spaces. settlerspark.co.za
The Garden Route, stretching roughly from Tsitsikamma to Stilbaai, is the world of the evergreen Knysna Forests, the Cape fynbos, the Outeniqua Mountains, and the ever-growing, 165,000-hectare Garden Route National Park. And it’s a world of people who love their art, their farmers’ markets, their walking, and their cycling.
George’s Blue Mountain Estate at the foot of the Outeniqua Mountains has been developed as a multigenerational community. Besides a clubhouse and exquisite gardens (15 hectares of safe open space!), amenities available to the Blue Mountain Retirement Community include 86 full title houses. Healthcare, frail care and assisted living are provided in the estate’s The Haven facility. The Haven also offers occupational therapy, exercise, and communitybuilding activities.
With enviable views over the Knysna Lagoon and the Heads, and close to the Knysna Golf Club and around the corner from Knysna Private Hospital, Amble Ridge Retirement Village offers 90 one-, two- and three-bedroom freehold homes, as well as 50 life-right apartments and assisted living suites. An added bonus is that it is pet-friendly – even in the apartments. retiretoknysna.co.za
From the lonely, windswept coastline of Agulhas, where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet at Africa’s southernmost tip, to the seaside towns of Pringle Bay, Hermanus and Kleinmond, the Overberg coast is a dramatic expanse of wildland and whale song.
Kidbrooke Place retirement village offers one-, two- and threebedroom Cape Georgian-style life-right cottages at the foot of the Hemel en Aarde Valley in the tranquil town of Hermanus. Interestingly, Kidbrooke is built on 196 hectares of land donated without reward by the late Norman and Doris Hudd, who also donated the homestead of what used to be their protea farm for the village’s frail care facility. kidbrookeplace.co.za
THE CAPE PENINSULA
The fairest cape of all: hub of South Africa’s wine route, centre of much of the country’s culture, edgy, cosmopolitan, and stunningly good-looking. Doesn’t really need much introduction, does it?
The Avenue Retirement Village in Fish Hoek is a stylish retirement hotel, so purchasing a life right here includes a host of services that are not usually offered in the more standard retirement villages – such as three meals a day and housekeeping. Healthcare is offered, and carers are on duty 24/7. avenueretirement.co.za
Situated across the road from the Sea Point Promenade on Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard, EIGHTONN has been designed as ‘a new boutique approach to independent living’. These modern, accessible and spacious apartments will appeal to retirees who enjoy the metropolitan lifestyle, but who want the added security of person-centred care.
The building’s luxury social amenities – wellness studio, garden, deli, dining areas, etc. – encourage communal living experiences.
RIVIERA OF THE KAROO
It’s not exactly coastal living, but the village of Gariep Dam is situated on the banks of South Africa’s biggest man-made lake – the Gariep Dam – which is why this part of the country is affectionately known as the Riviera of the Karoo. At 370 square kilometres in area, and about 85 kilometres in length (from the dam wall to the village of Bethulie), this is boating, sailing, fishing, and fly-fishing heaven – with the added advantage of that clear, healthy Karoo air.
Situated in Gariep Dam Village – which boasts shopping, restaurants, and even an active theatre – the secure Gariep Lifestyle Village offers stylish retirement options in detached townhouses which are available on life rights, on sectional title, or to rent from the developers or from private owners. Facilities include a 24-hour medical centre with accommodation for short-term and long-term patients, as well as frail care.