On the banks of the Sundays River, in the heart of the Karoo, you’ll find the fourth-oldest town in South Africa: Graaff-Reinet. An ideal place to visit for couples and families, this charming town is filled with crisp air, pretty streets, beautiful natural scenery and the chance to escape busy city life.
Feast on honest Karoo food or take to nature on a walk or wildlife viewing: Graaff-Reinet offers both, thanks to the surrounding Camdeboo National Park and the town’s rich history. It’s a great place to retire, an ideal place to raise young families – with good schools and a safe, village-like atmosphere, and althougth there are a number of quaint guesthouses and new businesses, it still feels like a hidden gem.
Our favourite things to do in the area:
- Valley of Desolation
- Camdeboo National Park
- Stretch’s Court
- Reinet House Museum
- The Karoo architecture
- Dutch Reformed Church
- Drostdy Hotel
Our favourite food in the area:
- Delicious Karoo food from Pioneers Restaurant
- Amazing fresh juices from Our Yard Roastery and Cultural Stop
- Great steaks from Botanical Gardens Club Restaurant
- Freshly baked goods from Polka Restaurant
- Superb breakfasts from De Camdeboo Restaurant at the Drostdy Hotel
- Lovely eats from Blue Magnolia Nursery and Coffee Shop
- Local cuisine from The Coldstream Restaurant
Fun facts about Graaff-Reinet:
- There are 220 national monuments in Graaff-Reinet.
- You’ll find the world’s biggest private cactus collection here.
- Graaff-Reinet’s Groot Kerk is the only historical church in South Africa with a chimney.
- “Graaff-Reinet is easily one of the most beautiful towns in SA, but for me, my favourite aspect is its people. We’re a tight-knit community and we’re always willing to go out of our way to help one another.” – Bernie Parkes, residentWords: Bridget McNulty | Images: Mike Holmes & iStock