Underberg climbing in popularity

Posted On Monday, 07 June 2004 02:00 Published by
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Property sales in Underberg, in the foothills of KwaZulu-Natal's southern Drakensberg, shot up by about 20% in the first quarter of this year
By Property Reporter

Property sales in Underberg, in the foothills of KwaZulu-Natal's southern Drakensberg, shot up by about 20% in the first quarter of this year, apparently as a result of the high level of crime in the province's major centres.

It seems the first choice of many refugees from crime is Underberg.

The village is one of the safest places in the province.

Home prices have risen steadily over the past six months. Entry-level residential accommodation begins at R480 000 and smallholdings range from R450 000 to R4 million.

Acutts Estate Agents' principal in Underberg, Sue Acutt, said there was a short supply of farms for purchase.

One of the factors contributing to this was the strict restriction on land subdivisions. Acutts group spokesman Pat Acutt said growth in the Underberg market now surpassed the provincial average.

It was expected to continue well into the foreseeable future.

The main forms of crime reported in the village and its surrounds are stock theft, in areas close to the border with Lesotho, and theft from holiday homes, when the owners are not in town.

But the infrequent occurrence of crime makes the village look like paradise.

Himeville police station spokesman Supt Jim Wilkins attributed the low level of crime to active community involvement in preventive measures.

The key participants in anti-crime programmes are the Underberg/Himeville Community Watch Association and two local private security companies.

The Himeville policing area is one of the largest in KwaZulu-Natal.

"Irrespective of where one goes in the province, there will be crime, but we have it under control in our area," Wilkins said.

The district security co-ordinator for the Underberg/Himeville Community Watch Association, John Pearce, said the area had no political problems, and extremely few farm attacks.

"We have to remind ourselves to be aware and vigilant. This is a peaceful and beautiful place with an outstanding, caring community. Generations of families have lived in the area and some still own farms.

"Most visitors say that they don't feel fear and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. "I have lived here since I was 10 years old and have never had a nasty incident, not even a house break-in," said Sue Acutt.

While Underberg has few employment opportunities, there is a growing demand for entrepreneurs, particularly those in the tourism field, said Acutt.

"The more facilities we are able to offer and the more choice there is, the more tourists will come to the area to take advantage of the wide range of outdoor activities and experiences we offer."

This article was originally published on page 2 of The Sunday Tribune on June 06, 2004

Publisher: Sunday Tribune
Source: Sunday Tribune

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