where space, nature and heritage combine to offer
a Karoo tourism experience like no other place
TOWNS & ROUTES OF THE CAMDEBOO
The word Camdeboo, derived from the Khoi word meaning ‘green pool’ or ‘green hippo pool’ from the Khoi Cam-/Kam- ‘green’ and -debo(o) ‘pool, hippo pool’, has become synonymous with a sense of magical mystery. It was first popularised in Eve Palmer’s book “The Plains of Camdeboo”, published in 1966 and stretches from the south of the Sneeuberg to as far as Pearston and Murraysburg.
Surrounded by the Camdeboo National Park, Graaff-Reinet, the heart of the “Great Karoo” – Place of Thirst – is a boundless and mysterious area covered by vast livestock and game farms, where broad plains roll away to distant koppies and multilayered mountains that seem to touch the indigo sky. Listen to the silence, breathe in the aged earth and the Karoo bossies (which conjure up the taste of Karoo lamb!), and gaze at a startlingly clear horizon that seems drawn at the other end of the earth. Our clear night skies are studded with countless stars and huge bright planets; even other galaxies are visible with the naked eye, offering some of the best star gazing in the world. Fossils of some of the earliest forms of one-celled life have been discovered here, indicating that life has existed in this region for three billion years. The richness of pre-dinosaur fossils in this region is world-renowned.
We invite you to experience the magic of this area, discover eccentric little hamlets, sprawling farmsteads, the historical town of Graaff-Reinet and the nearby villages of Aberdeen and Nieu Bethesda, populated by warm and welcoming people that love to share their stories and legends.
GRAAFF - REINET
Established in 1786, Graaff-Reinet is the country’s fourth oldest magisterial district and has been named the “Gem of the Karoo”. The town is recognized as the home of magnificent examples of Cape Dutch, Victorian and Karoo architecture, and has over 220 heritage sites (more than any other town in South Africa!). The past is preserved in five extraordinary museums which hold collections of photographic memorabilia, firearms, artworks and fossils, tracing the story of the Karoo - and the town - from pre-history right up to the present day. This lovely town is the only one in South Africa that is virtually surrounded by a nature reserve, Camdeboo National Park, and is situated on the banks of the Sundays River. The lush gardens, parks and tree-lined avenues are in sharp contrast to the semi-arid vastness of the surrounding Great Karoo. Visit Graaff-Reinet for a true Karoo experience.
Situated in the scenic plains of Camdeboo, Aberdeen was founded in 1856 and has been declared an architectural conservation town. The town is a veritable repository of architectural styles including Victorian, Georgian, Karoo, German, Gothic Revival, Russian, Art Nouveau and Flemish Revival. This town offers the authentic Karoo lifestyle experience.
It will feel as though you have time travelled to the past when visiting the beautiful village of Nieu Bethesda nestled at the foot of the magnificent Compassberg, only a 30 minute drive from Graaff-Reinet. The town was first established as a mission station in 1875. It is renowned for its sacred Bushman rock art sites, fossils and the Owl House, which is a museum dedicated to the eccentric artist Helen Martins. This quaint village has no fuel stations, banks, ATM’s or credit card facilities, so fill up your tank and wallet beforehand.
7 TOURISM ROUTES TO EXPLORE….
Explore the gems of the Camdeboo area through our 7 Tourism Routes:
Heritage, Oral History, Palaeontology, Eco-Tourism, Kids Activities, Artists and Culinary….
Featured Listings (Click for More Info)
Abbotsbury Guest House
Abbotsbury lies in small, perfectly-formed valley and a lush, well-tended garden. Half way between Johannesburg and the Garden Route Abbotsbury offers a restful stay, with great food, game viewing and birding.
What are the secrets of Pioneers’ success? Simple – excellent food, plenty of it, traditional Karoo food, venison as well as some interesting surprises on the menu, last but not least, friendly and efficient service. Pioneers’ offers great value for money. We have Wi-Fi facilities available.
@ No 3 Pub at Pioneers Restaurant
Under the present ownership since 2008, Pioneers is not just a brilliant place to eat but has also become noted for being a stimulating venue with its Ladies or ...
Under the present ownership since 2008, Pioneers is not just a brilliant place to eat but has also become noted for being a stimulating venue with its Ladies Nights, Spit Braai`s and other special evenings.
Middle Street Manor B&B
Situated in lovely quiet area, each room has its own patio with table and chairs overlooking well-maintained garden.
Fully-equipped air-conditioned one bedroomed unit, located in a quiet and secure area of the town.
Within walking distance to restaurants, shops, museums and other attractions. Ideal family accommodation.
Villa Reinet Guest House
This charming National Monument serves as a comfortable, inviting guest house. 8 double en suite, air-conditioned guest suites with access to lovely gardens. All rooms serviced, toiletries provided & hairdryers available. Off street parking, DVD/DSTV lounge & fun splash pool. Situated in quiet part of town, within easy walking distance to all the attractions of Graaff-Reinet. Short drive to the Camdeboo National Park & Valley of Desolation.
Glen Harry Game Reserve
Stay at the birth place of Andries Pretorius in a beautiful setting nestled between the Sneeuberg Mountains. Roam freely amongst the game, through 25,000 acres of vast plains, explore the fossil-lined river bed, or ascend to the peak of Spitskop to admire the splendid view with a sundowner.
Located on the outskirts of the Karoo town of Graaff-Reinet, our luxury guesthouse offers the weary traveler or holiday maker family friendly accommodation of the utmost standards.
All cottages are air-conditioned, spacious and equipped with everything you need for either a self catering or bed and breakfast stay.
Relax in our 5000m2 landscaped garden with beautiful swimming pool area and let the kiddies play with the bunnies and ducks.
Buitenverwagten Guest House
This Karoo Victorian-style home, in the shade of Jacaranda trees, was built in 1840 by a transport carrier and is now a national monument. Buiten Verwagten has a reputation of providing luxurious modern comfort.
Karoo Rus offers luxurious self catering accommodation in central Graaff-Reinet, within 5 minutes' walk of most shops, museums, attractions and restaurants.
Sonja Bouwer invites you to share a colour filled experience. She offers a wide range of accommodation suitable for tour groups, individual tourists, couples and families.
These 3 beautifully restored Karoo cottages in historic Parsonage Street, with another in Cradock Street, are fully air-conditioned, have DSTV channels, safe off-street parking and are pet-friendly. They are within easy walking distance from good restuarants as well as the attractions of Graaff-Reinet.
The well known Karoo author and photographer couple Chris Marais and Julienne du Toit launched...
A fracking meeting with Shell at Kudu Motors resulted in a walkout by the Khoi representatives and...
Diva, a female black footed cat, arrived at her new home at Clifton farm near Cradock on 11 October...
Graaff-Reinet-based chef and guesthouse owner Gordon Wright combines tradition, culinary flair and...
New Graaff-Reinet Marketing Video is now on YouTube.
Thanks to Mandy Roets, Marketing Manager...
Formed hundreds of millions of years ago, the Karoo of South Africa is one of the great natural...
To JP Steynberg of Ganora Guest Farm's surprise he noticed Flamingos this morning as he approached...
On Friday the 14th of June a tiny little cheetah cub was born to Bellini, one of the...
In this coffee table book compiled by Meinrad Heck and Peter Maurer Nie Bethesda and Ganora Guest...
In December 2012 a Booted Eagle was photographed in the High Karoo Park, making seven Eagle species...
The various guest farms all over the Karoo are an exciting new form of country tourism and their...
The landmark Drostdy Hotel, nestled in the heart of the historic town of Graaff-Reinet in the Great...