A taste for fish
Robberg Peninsula is known to be one of the largest natural harbour walls in the world. It is also home to a growing seal colony that may or may not be threatening the livelihood of local fishermen. Of course Robberg means 'seal mountain' in Afrikaans, and it was originally home to a large colony of 40,000 seals in the early 1900's. This colony was exterminated by the mid 1900's, and then a few seals reappeared in the 1990's. The colony is now 3500 strong, and the reduction in the sustainable size of the colony is a reflection of depleted ocean resources.
A study is underway to prove that seals do not compete with fishermen. The only way to do this is to collect and sift through seal faecial matter to identify otoliths, or fish ear bones which are unique to every species of fish. Not a task for squeamish.
Council land developments
The Plettenberg Bay council had identified numerous portions of council owned land that they would like to develop for affordable free standing homes and townhouses. This is in keeping with national government's integrated development plan which aims to correct the racial imbalances that currently exist in South Africa's residential areas.
The council has made it clear that it does not wish to build low cost housing, but rather the properties will be aimed at middle income professionals like civil servants, nurses and teachers.
The fact of the matter is that very few locals can afford to purchase property in Plett. This decreases the attractiveness of the town to potential long term residents, and therefore restricts the growth of the town.
Still a good investment?
Coastal properties in South Africa are still priced very competitively compared to coastal properties in other parts of the world, according to a survey recently completed by Sotheby's Realty Plettenberg Bay.
A beachfront sectional title unit will cost you between R2m - R50m in South Africa. The past season saw some big deals in Plett. R25m was paid for a large piece of vacant land, and R17,5m was paid for an old beachfront cottage. Both properties are located on Robberg beach. 2007 was a good year for the top end of the market as well as sectional title units.
We survived the season
The 2007/8 season began with heavy rain and flooding on much of the Garden Route. Not a good start. However it seems that local businesses bounced back nicely. The general sentiment is that this was a good season, with most accommodation establishments reaching or beating thier targets. However, the trend still appears to be towards shorter stays, as opposed to longer three/four week bookings.
It even makes coffee
The new Double Shot Coffee Bar recently opened in Plett. The concept was developed by two Lufthansa flight attendants who visited coffee bars all over the world, and combined the best elements into thier own coffee shop.
Located in the newly revamped centre, The Square (old Checkers centre), it boasts the fanciest coffee machine I have ever seen. The Kees Van Der Western idrocompressor is worth a look.
Phase Two starts
Work has commenced on phase two of the upgrade to Main Street. Once phase two is complete, Main Street and sidewalks will be completely revamped from the Dolphin circle all the way down to Hill Street. Although the usual grumblings from shop owners will accompany this work, I don't think anyone will miss the old concrete road surface. The improvements from Phase one have been very well received.
Until Next Time
The Accommodation Bureau Team