The Garden Route’s undiscovered gem1st Dec 2018
In 2001, the dramatic coastal scenery of Oubaai inspired Ernie Els to design an 18-hole signature championship golf course of matching beauty – his first in South Africa.
It also inspired the developers, Kharafi Holdings, to create an extraordinary estate that sits atop a set of jagged Indian Ocean cliffs to the south with the imposing Outeniqua Mountains to the north. The 242-hectare estate borders the valley of the Gwaing River on one side and is home to the 100-room Oubaai Hotel and Spa, the Oubaai Lifestyle Centre and the Oubaai Marketplace.
The first transfers took place in 2004. However, Oubaai was not immune from the 2008 property downturn, when most building activities stagnated and property sales came to a halt. The homeowners association and the board of trustees revised the marketing strategy and, by creating value for its members and investors alike, increased plot sales, with a record number of transactions recorded in the last financial year.
The Garden Route is generally a property seller’s market, and Oubaai is no different. Although residential plots in the estate are only 60% developed, there are only 24 stands and 13 Village units still available to purchase directly from the developer. Homes are in very short supply, with most owners being reluctant to sell.
Rental property is in even shorter supply, and prices have doubled over the last three years. Tenants are now willing to pay as much as R20,000 to R30,000 per month for a rental house in Oubaai, ensuring good returns for property owners. There is a healthy mix of young and old, and more than 80% of the estate is occupied by permanent residents.
Homes range from a modest three-bedroom house to palatial seven-bedroom mansions, either selling or on the market for between R4 million and R25 million. Depending on the size, two- or three-bedroom Village units may sell for between R2 million and R5 million. Vacant plots sell for between R800,000 and R5 million.
This collection of contemporary coastal-style homes and Village units offers varied and truly epic views. Large areas of unspoilt natural habitat are available for exploring and enjoying the free movement of wildlife on the estate. It is not uncommon to see bushbuck or springbok wandering outside houses, or the odd caracal hunting guineafowl.
Today, Oubaai is one of the country’s foremost lifestyle estates and home to some of the most outstanding real estate. A quick eight minutes’ drive will see you at the doors of George Airport. Many households choose the perfect lifestyle and tolerate regular business trips to the cities, as part of the sacrifice they must make to raise their families in a safe and secure environment.
Worries about essentials like education, medical care, shopping and entertainment are taken care of as George really does have it all. The town itself is only a few minutes away, and the schools are renowned for their academic and sports achievements. As the Garden Route’s main commercial centre, George continues to experience an economic boom, and a well-managed local government, great infrastructure, Blue Flag beaches, growing eco-awareness and a flourishing tourism industry have helped transform Oubaai into a spectacular real estate haven.
Oubaai has invested heavily in state-of-the-art security systems to ensure unconfined living. Kids can ride their bikes unaccompanied – like you used to do as a child – or you can let them go and play golf by themselves. Residents can walk the streets at any hour of the day, take a solitary stroll through the eight-kilometre forest trail, or go and spot whales or dolphins from one of the two viewpoint decks built on the rocks overlooking the ocean below.
There are many outdoor facilities that members can use free of charge. Amenities include a braai lapa, bass fishing, and entertaining guests on a well-equipped treetop deck in the forest. Fitness-conscious individuals can join the lifestyle gym, play squash or tennis, swim in the pool or work out at the outdoor gym park. If you love golf, you are guaranteed to fall in love with the game all over again.
This Ernie Els 18-hole signature championship course certainly has the ‘wow’ factor. Indeed, it can claim to have one of the most awe-inspiring settings of any course in the world. Kept in pristine condition all year round, it follows a traditional links-type layout with veld grasses lining its manicured fairways. Although the course can be a ‘monster’, the average set-up caters for golfers of all abilities. The Oubaai Clubhouse has breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean. The golf course comprises a driving range and chipping green as well as three putting greens, and is irrigated using recycled water from within the estate. There is also a golf academy and a pro shop.
The Lifestyle Centre houses a restaurant and an award-winning wellness centre, with squash courts and gym facilities as well as tennis courts and outdoor swimming pools. All Lifestyle Members have access to these amenities at no extra cost.
Most operations of the homeowners association (HOA) are outsourced to external and specialised service providers. Established under LUPA (Western Cape Land Use Planning Act, 3 of 2014), the Oubaai HOA functions as a minimunicipality that manages all the internal reticulation, including bulk water and electricity, and a sewage treatment plant. All waste water generated on the estate is recycled and purifi ed for re-use, irrigating the golf course and the colourful, well-manicured landscaped gardens.
The well-managed HOA has a healthy cash flow and a noteworthy capital replacement fund. Also, the HOA constantly invests in the estate, with value-creating add-ons like fi bre to the home with no up- or download restrictions, and impressive bandwidth speeds. Members own the infrastructure and manage it themselves, and costs are included in the relatively low levies: R2,000 per month.
Oubaai Golf Resort is promoted as the ‘Undiscovered Gem of the Garden Route’. And it’s a great place for a holiday, so spend a week or two at the lovely Oubaai Hotel – but be warned, you may fi nd it hard to leave. It is a place of priceless beauty that makes a stylish coastal lifestyle a reality.