Deep within space and time lie spaces filled with mysticism, magic and rhymes, as eagles soar and Bushman whisper, together with the wind we walk’ The area where Graaff-Reinet was established in 1786 was ideally suited for the settlement by the Trekboers. Nestled in the horseshoe bend of the Sundays River and protected by the Sneeuberg Mountains, it is the 4th oldest town in the country and steeped with history both indigenous and settler. It is possibly South Africa’s equivalent to the historic town of Williamsburg.
Graaff-Reinet is a fascinating town : it boasts 250 buildings that are National Monuments. Here you will find buildings which are considered the pinnacle of the Cape Dutch style of architecture and numerous museums with collections of photographic memorabilia, fireworks and fossils that trace the story of the Karoo and of the town from prehistory up to the present day.
The Hester Rupert Art Gallery is considered to house one of the most representative art collections. At the Old Library you will find photographs chronicling the life of Robert Sobukwe the Freedom Fighter who founded the Pan African Congress. He was a key figure in the struggle for democracy and is buried here.
Graaff-Reinet is unique in that it is surrounded by the Karoo Nature Reserve where game and birds abound. There are choices of hiking trails (from an hour to two days) or horse trails which take you to places that no vehicle will ever go. This 14 500 hectare reserve incorporates a 1 000 hectare dam. The reserve also offers superb birding and game viewing. Here kudu, springbuck, monkey and buffalo alike thrive on the everlasting plains.
Perhaps the biggest attraction is the extraordinary geology of the mountains that creates the famous joint dolerite pillars of the Valley of Desolation. Don’t miss the scenic drive to the summit of the mountain, from where you can truly experience the vastness of the Karoo. It is a spectacular setting from which to watch the sun rise and set.
Take a guided tour through Umazizakhe Township, have a meal in a really special traditional restaurant and on a Sunday you might like to join a church service. Be introduced to Bushman rock art while learning about the Khoi-San culture.
Remember to bring your golf clubs and play a game on our unique 9 hole golf course or join the local bowls club for a game or two. After a day of wandering and exploring, enjoy a meal at one of the quaint restaurants. For lovers of the outdoors and families there are a number of farms for fun-filled holidays.
Wherever you stay in Graaff-Reinet, you will always remember with pleasure the good times spent here with us.
Graaff-Reinet now has an airport with a tarred runway for visitors wanting to reach us by air.
Camdeboo Conservancy - Off the N9 between Graaff-Reinet and Aberdeen lies the “green valley”. We bathe in the shadow of towering mountains, hear the sound of water flowing everywhere, and are blessed with forests of trees and uncountable smaller plants. Come and join in all the various eco-friendly activities we offer or experience the peace and tranquillity which comes naturally as you enter the Conservancy. Whether you partake in the day to day farming activities or delight in a horse ride, you are guaranteed to experience the restoration of your soul.