Tongues are wagging over the neatly trimmed hedges of Somerset West at the news that a nudist resort and spa will open its doors this summer for tourists who like to bare all.
Responses in the Helderberg varied from absolute shock to giddy giggling, with one resident keeling over with laughter.
Durban businessman Anton Voster has bought Helderberg Forest Lodge in Parel Valley Road beneath the Helderberg with plans to turn it into a Vasnat nudist resort and spa in December. The large property is surrounded by lush bush and high trees, but there are gaps in the vegetation with a clear view of the property – which will have to be closed to stop peeping Toms getting an eyeful.
Nudists have frequented Sandy Bay near Llandudno for years, but Voster, a naturist, says Cape Town is “screaming” for this type of resort.
Similar spas exist in Gauteng, North West and Limpopo.
He has teamed up with British couple Mark and Samantha Taylor, who have a similar resort, Vassaliki Naturist Club, in Greece.
The Vasnat South Africa Naturist Spa website shows a woman perched against a rock tanning au naturel. Also in the picture are an elephant and a lion, set against a backdrop of ocean and mountain.
Voster said he and his wife Evon had been visiting the Taylors’ Greek resort for four years.
“The venue is upmarket and very well run. The guests staying there were almost exclusively from the UK, Netherlands and Germany. We discussed the possibility of opening up a resort in the Cape with Mark and Sam and a range of guests. Their responses were very positive… they definitely had Cape Town as a future destination in mind and would stay at a naturist resort for a week or two as a base to explore the Western Cape.”
He said Sandy Bay had become “a bit seedy”.
“This must be some kind of a joke,” said a neighbour who declined to be named, clutching her stomach with laughter. “A nudist resort here, in Somerset West? I know it’s popular in Europe but South Africans are far more conservative.”
The chairman of the Helderberg Residents’ Action Association, Peter Ford, said he was not averse to the idea of a nudist resort as long as it was behind high walls. Weekend Argus