Graaff-Reinet & the Karoo

If you like getting off the beaten track, head to Graaff-Reinet or the surrounding Great Karoo, with its dramatic landscape, frontier history and huge skies.


Year-round but Dec to February will be hot!


The Great Karoo appeals to those who enjoy getting off the beaten track. It takes up a vast part of the interior of South Africa. And it offers dramatic landscapes, huge skies and superb star gazing. Some of the most beautiful Eastern Cape safari lodges are in the Karoo, such as Samara and Mount Camdeboo.

In the heart of the Karoo lies the fascinating historic town of Graaff-Reinet. With its superb architecture and quirky museums, it’s been described as a ‘living monument’. The town boasts over 200 immaculately restored National Monuments from simple flat-topped Karoo houses to ornate Victorian villas. Some of these form the multi-faceted Graaff-Reinert museum over 5 different historical buildings.

Close by Graaff Reinet is the Valley of Desolation. With its view over the plains of Camdeboo, it must be one of the most awe-inspiring vistas in South Africa, and perfect for walking. The Mountain Zebra National Park is also an easy drive away.

North to Graaff-Reinet you can visit Nieu Bethesda, a tiny picturesque hamlet in an isolated, but fertile, valley. Here you’ll find the curious, eerie sculptures of the Owl House. Helen Martin was a virtual recluse who transformed her rather lonely home into a strange and intense art world.


Why you may love it

  • Enjoy safaris at Samara, Mount Camdeboo or Kwandwe.
  • Exploring Graaff-Reinet’s museums on foot.
  • Visit the Valley of Desolation overlooking the plains of Camdeboo.
  • Venture north to the Owlhouse in the scenic valley of Nieu Bethesda.
  • Take a day to visit the Mountain Zebra National Park between Graaff Reinet and Cradock.

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Did you know
  • Graaff-Reinet4th oldest town in South Africa
  • KarooKhoisan word meaning "Land of Thirst"

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