C Ec Graaff-Reinet


Graaff-Reinet was established in 1786 and named after the Governor of that time, van de Graaff and his wife, Reinet. It was the fourth district in the Cape to receive a seat of local government or a ‘Drostdy’.
Known to be a barren and untamed area, it became the outpost of white civilization for trading by the middle of the 1800s.
The typical 19th century rural town lies in the horse-shoe bend of the Sondagsriver (Sundays River) and is overlooked by the picturesque Sneeuberg mountain range.
Surrounded almost completely by the Camdeboo National Park, where another wonder of nature, the Valley of Desolation, keep silent memories of times gone by.
The first inhabitants of this area gave it the name Camdeboo, meaning ‘green valley’. Although in the heart of the Karoo, there are mountains towering over you and you hear the sound of water flowing everywhere.
More than 200 buildings in Graaff-Reinet are National Monuments. A horse and carriage ride offers an introduction to the well maintained Cape-Dutch architecture of this historic town.
Lekker Links
Graaff-Reinet: Encounter the legends, discover our gems
Graaff-Reinet local website Eastern Cape province
Buffalo City (a new municipality incorporating Bhisho, East London and King William’s Town), Cradock, Grahamstown, Port Elizabeth, Queenstown, Mthatha (Umtata)
Addo Elephant National Park
Camdeboo National Park
Mountain Zebra National Park
Tsitsikamma National Park
We also recommend a visit the Reinet House in Murray Street, the Old Residency in Parsonage Street, the Old Library and the Drostdy in Church Street. Graaff-Reinet boasts many other tourist attractions, including paragliding, microlite flying, trout fishing, golfing, horse riding, mountain biking and guided township walks.
There are many good hotels and guest houses in Graaff-Reinet as well as a beautiful campsite next to the Sundays River.
The little Karoo hamlet of Nieu Bethesda is worth a detour. Time seems to stand still and many artists have settled here. The access road turns off the N9 (direction Middelburg) and leads on a gravel road through the picturesque Compass mountains (2,502 m). Streets in the village are also untarred. There are two shops, a coffee shop and a couple of guesthouses.
Famous names
Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe – ANC activist, founding leader of the Pan Africanist Congress and Robben Island prisoner, was born here.
Andries Pretorius, Great Trek leader and after whom Pretoria was named, farmed in the district before the Great Trek.
Gerrit Maritz, Great Trek leader after whom Pietermaritzburg was partly named, was a wagon-maker in the town.


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