Family in Hermanus
Is Hermanus the new “it” place to raise a family?
Hermanus has long been regarded as one of South Africa’s favourite coastal holiday destinations, offering the perfect combination of beaches, mountains, wildlife, accommodation, eateries, activities and festivals. Recently, however, a different side of Hermanus has been capturing visitors’ attention – namely the exceptional opportunities to raise a family in Hermanus.
“It’s been very interesting to see the changes taking place in Hermanus over the last few years,” says Cindy Rowe, Sales Partner at Rawson Properties Hermanus. “We’ve been seeing a noticeable increase in the percentage of permanent residents – particularly when it comes to families. It’s as if parents are realising that the kind of lifestyle our little town offers doesn’t have to end when their kids go back to school.”
Hermanus certainly boasts a wealth of world-class educational facilities, including Bosko, Curro, Generations, Northcliff House, Waldorf, Camphill, and Hermanus Primary and High. Equally important, however, is its range of other vital amenities, including a Mediclinic hospital, a sizeable new mall, and a variety of grocery, hardware and lifestyle stores.
“We are spoilt for choice when it comes to the daily essentials,” says Rowe, “particularly when you realise just how close everything is. We have people moving here from Joburg or Cape Town who used to spend hours in traffic every day just driving the kids to school. Living in Hermanus, they’re never more than 7km away from a school, and their daily commute shrinks to a matter of minutes.”
It’s not hard to imagine why this might be a tempting prospect for busy city families looking to maximise their quality of life, but what about Hermanus’ property prospects?
“There’s really something for everyone,” says Rowe, “from affordable, centrally-located apartments, to cliff- and beach-side mansions that wouldn’t be out of place in Hollywood. Because the town is so compact, all the suburbs are viable options for families.”
Home to some of Hermanus’ most popular government schools, Rowe says Northcliff is particularly popular with families because students can walk to and from class every day. Typical Northcliff properties are spacious, on plots of 450m2 to 500m2, with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a double garage. Prices start at R2.2million – a bargain compared to most city equivalents.
Another neighbourhood that Rowe says is fast becoming a family favourite is Voelklip. Previously favoured primarily by holiday-home owners, Rowe estimates that permanent residents make up as much as 40% of the suburb’s population now that parents have begun to cotton-on to its year-round benefits.
“Voelklip straddles the main road,” she says, “with half its properties on the mountainside and half on the slope down to the ocean. All of them are within easy walking distance of the beach and the mountain trails, but prices rise the closer you get to the water. Older 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom homes start at around R2.5million, but some of the prime beachfront properties break the R20million mark. Of course, for those buyers, the incredible views and instant beach access are absolutely priceless.”
You don’t need to pony up for a beachfront mansion to be close to the water in Hermanus, though. Suburbs like Sandbaai, Onrus and Vermont are well-known for their family-friendly properties, many of which are within walking distance of the local beaches.
“Sandbaai has become very popular with young families and single moms,” says Rowe, “because it has some really lovely – but affordable – security complexes. You can find 2-bedroom homes here for as little as R1.6million.”
“While Hermanus boasts several security complexes and estates, there is still a very high demand for freehold properties where homeowners opt for private security services offered by a variety of local armed response companies at a nominal monthly fee.”
“We’re certainly not immune to crime, what little we get tends to be of a far less extreme nature than most other places,” she says. “We did have some recent protests that got a lot of press coverage, but that’s far from the norm. If anything, I think people were more shocked because we never see that kind of action here, as opposed to other parts of the country where protests are a daily occurrence.”
The drought, too, has had less effect on Hermanus than other parts of the province, with local water restrictions currently at Level 2 compared to the City of Cape Town’s Level 6.
“We’re a very well-managed district,” says Rowe, “which is another reason I think we’re an attractive option for families relocating from upcountry. We have plenty of buzz and adventure, but far less daily stress and big city bureaucracy. It’s difficult to imagine a better place to raise a child.”