Graaff Reinet Artists Route
Graaff Reinet Artists Route

Artists Route

Artists Route Information

Put colour in your life…..

The mysteries of the Karoo have served as inspiration for great and varied artististic expression  over decades. The original great artists of the Karoo are the /Xam people, who for thousands of years painted their history, mythology, and literature on the cave and rock walls of their homes. It is estimated that there are more than 60 000 sites of cave paintings in the Karoo. They are the work of a forgotten people whose  paintings are their story.  Even today some of their descendants, the First People Artists, along with other potters, sculptors and painters, are living and creating art in the Camdeboo.

Graaff–Reinet has something for everyone when it comes to art, whether you want to marvel at magnificent paintings and sculptures, time-travel with rock-art, purchase a piece of art or take a craft souvenir home. Graaff-Reinet is home to the Hester Rupert Museum of Contemporary Art featuring famous South African artists and the Jan Rupert Art Centre.  The architecture, people and landscapes of this area make Graaff Reinet and its environs an ideal space to capture that one “special shot through your camera lens and you can even have your “masterpiece” developed and framed before you go home.

 Of course, a visit to the quaint village of Nieu Bethesda is not complete without spending time at the world-famous Owl House where the work of Helen Martins and the Bushman sculptor, Koos Malgas is displayed. A number of renowned artists such as sculptor, Frans Boekkooi, acclaimed SA ceramic artist, Charmaine Haines and renowned painter, Albert Redelinghuys, call this area home, while Athol Fugard has set many of his plays in Nieu Bethesda and often visits the area for inspiration. Galleries in the village have local artists’ works on display for all to enjoy or purchase.

In nearby Aberdeen  you will find the unique Biblical Panels housed in the Dutch Reformed Church Hall. These  panels were created by a group of five local ladies from various materials donated by the residents of Aberdeen. The detailed collages measure roughly four square metres in size. Having viewed these it is time to wander through the streets where you will discover  ceramics, glass works and other artistic surprises to serve as souvenirs of your trip to Aberdeen.

Allow the local creative folk of the Karoo to share their creative minds and show you their work in the form of painting, pottery, photography and other artistic creations. 

The Graaff Reinet Artists Route include visits to -

  • The Hester Rupert Art Museum for Twentieth-century South Arican Art
  • The Jan Rupert Centre - "Art of the Space Age"
  • Imibala Gallery
  • The Windmill Junction for Jewellery, home decor, furniture and loads more 
    • Industria Street, Industrial Area, Graaff-Reinet.
      Tel: 049 8923 244
      Mondays to Fridays 08h00 to 12h30
      Closed saturdays and Sundays
  • African Adventure - African crafts and curios, jewellery and leather goods
    • Tel: 082 9219 472
      Contact Claudine for directions
      Mondays to Thursdays 07h00 - 17h00
      Fridays 07h00 - 14h30
      Saturdays 07h00 - 13h00
      Sundays closed 

The Artists Route in Nieu Bethesda include - 

  • Bethesda Art Centre - for local art, award-winning & locally made beautiful quilts on display
    More info go to 
  • Ware on Earth Gallery & Ceramics 
    Acclaimed SA artist Charmaine Haines works within the realm of figurative clay, using abstract and stylised symbols and motives to embellish her sculptural and utility forms.  Martin Haines produces plates and platters in a rich peasant pottery style.
    Tel:049 8411 767  /  078 777 1966
  • Art & Photographic Courses at Ganora Guest Farm
    Contact Hester Steynberg for more info at Tel:049 8411 302 
  • Frans Boekkooi Sculpture Studio & Gallery - Well-known sculptor Frans Boekkooi works from an old Blacksmith studio in Pienaar Street (next to the Brewery) Visitors are welcome to pop in and experience a working studio as well as looking at some of his work.
    Contact: Heidi Boekkooi
    Tel:        082 865 2699
    Open Mondays to Saturdays 09h00 - 17h00
  • Heidi's Gallery & Gifts
  • Owl House & Helen Martins
  • Cement  Owl Sculptures & Wire Work

The Artists Route in Aberdeen

Marguerite Beneke - Fused Glass Ware and Biblical Panels

Tel:049 8460 691

Born in 1973, Glass artist, Marguerite Beneke, grew up in Pretoria. As a child she had a natural flair for art and spent many hours drawing whilst working in the corporate world as a trainer, she continued painting in acrylics and oils but also developed a keen interest in stained glass and glass etching. Soon she started doing commissions for work colleagues. 

In 2003, she and her husband decided to move away from the busy city life and settle in the quaint little Karoo town of Aberdeen. It is here that she started her full time career as a glass artist. Inspired by the Karoo she began trying to capture the atmosphere in her glass work. 

She had no formal art training. It took a few years of experimenting with different firing schedules, glass enamels and mediums to create her unique style of beautiful fused glass pieces. Marguerite considers herself a “constant student” and enjoys making trips to neighbouring Karoo towns to collect reference material and inspirations for new works. 

Her work is exhibited in galleries throughout South Africa and has been sold to international clients. She has done commissions for the South African Air Force and other corporate companies. 

I truly feel blessed to be able to use my God given talent to create work that brings joy to other people”

For more information go to

Artists Route Map

Artists Route Points of Interest

  • The Neo-Gothic building in Middle Street was originally a place of worship for the Mantatees, a refugee Sotho tribe that had fled south across the Orange River in the 1820’s. The Jan Rupert centre has at present on exhibition "Jean...
    Phone: 049 892 6107
  • Located in Church Street, Graaff-Reinet, is housed in the fifth oldest church building in South Africa. It was built and consecrated as a Dutch Reformed Mission Church in 1821, 35 years after the founding of the village of Graaff-Reinet in 1786.
    Phone: 049 807 5700
    Visit Website
  • The twenty biblical scenes in the Dutch Reformed Church hall of Aberdeen were planned and lovingly created by mainly the senior citizens of the town. The scenes portray the history of God's Covenant with mankind. A group of five ladies - and for...
    Phone: 049 846 0161
  • Helen Martins lay ill in bed one night with the moon shining in through the window and considered how dull and grey her life had become. She resolved there and then, that she would strive to bring light and colour into her life. That simple decision...
    Phone: 049 841 1733
    Visit Website
  • Imibala Gallery More Info
    Imibala is best described as a social movement of commitment towards enriching the lives of school going children in significant ways.
    Phone: 021 - 851 8467
  • In many a heart there is the longing to discover a place known only to a lucky few. Windmill Junction is that place. It's what you'd wish a country store to be, outwardly unassuming, but on the inside a place to discover treasures that recall...
    Phone: 049 8922 099
    Visit Website
  • African Adventure is one of the few stores in Graaff-Reinet that has traditional African curios and crafts, including wooden masks, painted ostrich eggs, and a good collection of Zulu, Ndebele and Masai jewelry.
    Phone: 049 892 5116

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