The small South African town of Somerset West in the province of the Western Cape is in for a bit of an eye-opener.
Tongues are already wagging in anticipation 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 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.
South Africa’s queer folk will have to keep an open mind when visiting the resort however because although everyone will be welcome, it is being marketed primarily towards our heterosexual brethren and ladies.