Graaff-Reinet History

This unique and historic town, known as the Gem of the Karoo , has a spectacular setting at the foot of the Sneeuberg range of mountains. The Sundays River winds in a horseshoe curve around the town, which lies at the centre of a 15 000 hectare nature reserve. There’s plenty to see and enjoy, both in the town itself and the surrounding district.

Graaff-Reinet is the fourth oldest town in South Africa , founded in 1786 as the furthest outpost of the Dutch East India Company. The nineteenth century saw it grow from a wild frontier station into a prosperous staging post and farming centre, thanks to its strategic position on the main route between Algoa Bay and the developing interior.

Graaff-Reinet’s isolation has given it a distinctive character and strength. It’s always been a place of pioneers and fiercely independent spirits. Missionary Andrew Murray, Robert Sobukwe, founder of the PAC and rebel Dutch Reformed minister Beyers Naude are just a few of the many remarkable men and women of the town who have made their mark on the history of
South Africa.

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The Great Karoo

This vast semi desert with its seemingly endless plains and castellated mountains provides a perfect escape from city crowds and concerns. It’s a stark landscape but also one of dramatic beauty and endless fascination, where you can enjoy crystal clear air, spectacular dawns and sunsets – and brilliant stars.

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Graaff-Reinet

Graaff-Reinet is the fourth oldest town in South Africa , founded in 1786 as the furthest outpost of the Dutch East India Company. The nineteenth century saw it grow from a wild frontier station into a prosperous staging post and farming centre, thanks to its strategic position on the main route between Algoa Bay and the developing interior.

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Valley of Desolation

There’s no better place to see the drama of the landscape, to learn about its geological evolution or to view the amazing setting of the town, or to watch the sun rise or set over the Plains of Camdeboo than from these extraordinary cliffs and crags. You may also be lucky enough to see the resident pair of black eagles circling at sunset.

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