A historic walk around Graaff-Reinet

History buffs totally love Graaff-Reinet, what with it being the oldest town in the Eastern Cape (fourth oldest in South Africa) with about 220 listed historical buildings.  Best of all, you can see just about all the best ones on a relatively short walk around town.  And obviously, that is what we did otherwise I wouldn't be writing about it.  We parked our car in front of the Graaff-Reinet Tourism office, grabbed a map from the friendly staff in the…

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Graaff-Reinet – a gem discovered

Graaff-Reinet in the Karoo Heartland is often referred to as the Gem of the Karoo.  Spending a long weekend in the town just again proved to me that this gem isn't one buried deep under ground somewhere but rather has been unearthed and is mesmerizing those that get to visit it.  Located in a horseshoe created by the Sundays River and totally surrounded by the Camdeboo National Park, Graaff-Reinet is situated about three hours north of Port Elizabeth and the…

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Looking out the museum doorway

I'm finally busy going through and editing the pictures I took in Graaff-Reinet a few weekends ago and will start posting about our visit shortly.  One of the photos I found was this one of Miggie standing in the door at the Reinet House museum looking up towards the Drostdy Hotel.  She clearly likes being outdoors a lot more than going through museums.

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Going digital at the Owl House

The last time I was at the Owl House in Nieu-Bethesda I got a nice picture of a gent standing in contemplation between the cement figures.  On this visit to the village I was at the Owl House with two friends and colleagues and I really thought there would be a good chance to catch one of them in deep contemplation at some stage.  Curse the digital age... Bwhahahahahaha.... The best I got was while one was taking a picture to…

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Why have you never visited Nieu-Bethesda?

It feels like most people I speak to about travelling in the Karoo Heartland of the Eastern Cape have been to Graaff-Reinet, yet many didn't venture much further to also visit Nieu-Bethesda.  Nieu-Bethesda truly is a very special village located barely 30 minutes from Graaff-Reinet and have a truly off the beaten track feeling to it.  I say off the beaten track because that is literally what it is.  No tar roads in the village, no street lights, no ATM,…

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Trains, trains and some other stuff at the Outeniqua Transport Museum

When in George the one attraction you have to visit is the Outenique Transport Museum (also known as the Outenique Railway Museum).  It used to be one of my regular stops on the Garden Route back when I was working as a tourist guide and the Outenique Choo Tjie steam train was still running.  Spending a long weekend in George I just had to take the family to show them this amazing place.  I was just a little worried, because…

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Three easy on the pocket George attractions

I don't think George is very high on anybody's list of possible holiday destinations.  Yes, as part of the Garden Route but not standing on it's own.  If that is how you think then I'm going to have to tell you how wrong your thinking is.  Spending Easter Weekend in George showed me in four days that George is actually the ideal family destination.  Beautiful mountains and passes, a stunning coastline, a laid back town atmosphere and not outrageously expensive…

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Exploring (and not ghost hunting) the Somerset East Museum

I struggle to pass by a small town museum if I have time on hand and time on hand I had the last time I visited the Karoo Heartland town of Somerset East.  I immediately headed up to the Somerset East Museum standing in the shadow of the Boschberg Mountain at the top end of Beaufort Street.  I've been here before but it's been a few years so I decided another visit was in order.The Somerset East Museum is also…

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Walter Battiss Art Gallery – the home of Fook Island

The Karoo Heartland town of Somerset East is a place full of interesting and quirky attractions.  One of them is the Walter Battiss Art Gallery which also houses the local tourism information office.  Battiss (6 January 1906 – 20 August 1982) was generally considered to be the foremost South African abstract painter but is probably equally as famous as the creator of the quirky Fook Island.  Fook Island was Battiss' "island of the imagination" for which he created a map,…

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Remembering the Slagtersnek hangings

If you are flying along in a northerly direction through the Karoo Heartland on the N10, the main drag between Port Elizabeth and Cradock, do slow down a bit after you pass the first turnoff to Somerset East and keep a look out on the right hand side of the road for a cenotaph like monument.  Once spotted, do pull over and have a look as this is a very significant spot in the early history of the area.I'm not…

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