Make sure you check out Graaff Reinet. Graaff Reinet lies enclosed by a bend in the Sundays River, with the Sneeuberg Mountain in the Camdeboo National Park serving as a looming giant in the background.
Holding the auspicious title of being the oldest town in the Eastern Cape and the fourth oldest in the entire country, this is a dorpie for the history lovers. Over 200 of the buildings have been claimed as National Monuments and much of the town has been restored to preserve the historical value of the town, the result of which is a town that successfully retained its character as a 19th century South African settler town.
Often referred to as the ‘Gem of the Karoo’ this small dorpie has a rich history that can even be gleaned from its name. In 1786 governor Cornelius Jacob van de Graaff, and his wife Cornelia Reinet founded the town. The name Graaff Reinet is one of the many remnants of the past as the name is a mixture of the last names of the founder and his wife.
The governor’s wife had a parsonage built in her name but today serves as a museum with one of the largest living grape vines in the world in its garden that still bears fruit to this day.
Though located in the heart of the Karoo, with its flat and sparsely populated sandy plains it is ringed by the Camdeboo Park, which lends the area a break from the plain landscape with rich greens and mountains.
Thanks to this unique, biodiverse geography and historical character of the dorpie, Graaff Reinet and the surrounds offer travellers a wide variety of outdoor and town-based adventure, activities and experiences to enjoy.
Trout-fishing, horse riding, bird-watching to game-viewing to the cultural experiences on offer including rock art tours and township walkabouts, museum trips to Boer War monuments and everything in between - there are numerous reasons to head on down to Graaff Reinet.
SEE: Graaff-Reinet: Exploring the Drostdy legacy
Having been formed over hundreds of millions of years ago, the Karoo is certainly one of the greatest natural wonders of the world, let alone, South Africa. There is almost no place better near Graaff Reinet for travellers to see this wonder for themselves than at the Camdeboo National Park. Offering visitors a glimpse of the unique landscape and ecosystem of the area, visitors to Graaf Reinet should not miss out.
Beyond offering breathtaking scenic spaces and unspoiled stargazing, Camdeboo National Park is home to six animal species that can’t be found in the legendary Kruger National Park. They include black wildebeest, berg kwagga, blesbuck, gemsbok and springbok.
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