Nieu-Bethesda’s historic NG Kerk

Whenever I visit Nieu-Bethesda I just seem to be attracted to the historic Dutch Reformed Church (Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk or NG Kerk). There is just something to this beautiful building in this tiny village that has me going back to it time and time again. Also, the fact that there are so many different angles to look at it and then add to it the time of day and different weather conditions. I did a post on the church last…

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Nieu-Bethesda accommodation at Outsiders B&B

The last couple of times I've been in Nieu-Bethesda I stayed with Ian and Katrien Allemann at Outsiders B&B every time. Outsiders is conveniently situated on the main road as you come into town and just about next door to the entrance of the Owl House. Everything is literally walking distance away and you can leave your car here and just explore on foot. I stayed in the front room which is comfortable and spacious. Best is the fact that…

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Nieu-Bethesda’s historic Dutch Reformed Church

The historic Dutch Reformed Church is probably the biggest landmark in Nieu-Bethesda. It's perhaps not as famous as the Owl House or interesting as the Kitching Fossil Centre, but if it comes to landmarks, it stands out in town. I'm always in awe of the fact that such a magnificent building was constructed in such a small place and like to pop around when visiting the village. The village of Nieu Bethesda was established in 1875 on the farm Uitkijk…

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The roads of Nieu-Bethesda

The village of Nieu-Bethesda is located about 30 minutes north of Graaff-Reinet and literally feels like another world. It is so different from most small rural towns as there is very little development around which makes the place feel sleepy and peaceful. The road to about 4km from the outskirts of the village was tarred a couple of years ago which makes getting to it a little easier, but town itself has no tar roads, no street lights, no petrol…

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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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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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A visit to Matatiele in the Eastern Cape highlands

I haven't really had the opportunity to venture into the North Eastern Cape so a first visit to Matatiele in the Eastern Cape highlands near boundary with Kwa-Zulu Natal was on the cards while en route to the Drakensberg in December.  Matatiele services the surrounding villages and farming community and gives a very good first impression.  Even though it was a long weekend and only about a week before Christmas, the town was neat and tidy, unlike some of the…

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Hofmeyr’s pink church

Most Karoo towns have a historic church with a church tower that keeps an eye out over it.  The Karoo Heartland town of Hofmeyr is no different...  or perhaps it is.  Why? Because it has a pink church tower standing out above the town.  The Dutch Reformed Church in Hofmeyr was built in 1875 and at some stage went pink.  It definitely didn't go pink for breast cancer awareness because it happened way before that but whatever the reason it…

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The town of Somerset East

The town of Somerset East lies in the southern Karoo Heartland at the foot of the Boschberg mountain.  Somerset East was established by Lord Charles Somerset in 1815 as an experimental farm to provide meat and fresh produce to the soldiers on the Eastern Frontier.  The site was chosen over sites in the Gamtoos Valley and Swartkops Valley.  The farm was named Somerset Farm.  Ten years after being established the project was cancelled and a new Drostdy was declared.  The…

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The church in Salem

A quick detour from the N2 between Nanaga and Grahamstown to Kenton-on-Sea took me through the village of Salem for the first time in ages last week.  I didn't have time to explore much but I did stop for a quick photo of the front of the church while parked next to the cricket field. Salem was founded by the Sephton party who formed part of the 1820 British Settlers who settled in this district.  The name comes from the bible and means "peace" with…

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