Graaff Reinet is the oldest town in the Eastern Cape and it is estimated to be the fourth oldest town in South Africa. The town is situated in the heart of the Karoo Heartland and also lies on the banks of the Sunday River.
It was named after its founder Jacob van de Graaff, the then governor of the Cape Colony and his wife’s maiden name Reinet. The town has a rich heritage and history that is celebrated by two hundred National Monuments and buildings no other city in South Africa can boast. The town also has a multitude of the 19th century houses that have been beautifully restored giving the town its old Cape Dutch charm.
The most prominent building in Graaff Reinet is the stone built Dutch Reformed Church that accommodates a maximum of 1500 people. Other notable buildings worth a visit include the Graaff Reinet Teachers College, Stretch’s Court, Graaff Reinet Museum and The Agave Distillery.
At present, Graaff Reinet is an agricultural town and is noted for its outstanding production of mohair as well as ostrich farming.
Beside the town’s architecture, Graaff Reinet’s location in the Karoo allows for other exciting adventure activities that are usually overlooked. Bird watching is a popular activity in the area as well as 4x4 trailing and nature walks in the hills nearby.
Another great attraction is the Valley of Desolation formed from weathered dolerite pillars. Here, one can enjoy picnics while experiencing a variety of fauna and flora as well as other mammals that frolic around. Graaff Reinet also features a great number of the restaurants, all offering different cuisines at the same time, centering on providing a true Karoo experience.
Graaff Reinet accommodation is commonly found in affordable self-catering units, bed and breakfast and guest houses.