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Why did we hand pick Ganora Guest Farm?

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  • Warm hospitality that exceeds even the Karoo's reputation for friendliness
  • Geologically and historically fascinating landscape
  • Numerous activities on the farm and nearby

Ganora Guest Farm

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Price tier (pps): R200  R1500+

Child policy: All ages

9km from Nieu-Bethesda


-31.8547, 24.5916


The original farmstead and outbuildings, dating back to the mid 1700's, have been converted into guest accommodation. The stone packed "kraal" wall that once surrounded the farmyard, today form part of some of the guest cottage interiors, allowing visitors the rare pleasure of interacting with the past.

Farm owners Jan-Peet and Hester are involved in a game rehabilitation program. The result is that orphaned game often make the farm yard their home, allowing visitors the opportunity to make close contact.

The farm also boasts various sites with well-preserved rock paintings and engravings. This is Hester’s area of expertise. Her enthusiasm for the subject is contagious and visitors can look forward to an entertaining and informative talk on the subject, bringing to life 10,000 years of Bushman folklore. Even the Anglo-Boer War features in Ganora's past.The farm museum has an extensive fossil collection, including rare examples found nowhere else in the country. Jan-Peet’s knowledge of Karroo fossils, together with his enthusiasm for the subject make his talks and fossil veld tours hugely popular with young and old. Jan-Peet also works closely with researchers from Wits, Rhodes and NMMU universities.

Meal times at Ganora are of special importance. This is down time and visitors can look forward to traditional Karoo cooking, good company, much laughter and stories about the day's events. Regular fare on offer includes Karoo lamb, kudu and other game dishes, bobotie with spiced rice, organically grown vegetable dishes, koeksisters and melktert (milk tart).

Apart from the 6-sleeper family Khoisan Cottage with full self-catering option, there are 10 separate B&B en-suite rooms, some of which have Twin beds that can be converted to a King bed, in three renovated farm units: 

THE OLD KRAAL offers  4 separate rooms -  a choice of 2 Twin bedrooms, a Queen bedroom with a unique open-plan shower, and a Twin/King bedroom with the largest shower in this unit.

THE WORKSHOPS offers 3 separate rooms - the Tuc Room with Twin beds and open plan shower, the Blacksmith Room with a Twin/King and large shower, and the Tool Room, a smaller room with a Double bed, also suitable as a single room. 

THE SHEDS offers 3 larger separate rooms with little extras and a choice of Twin/King bedrooms. Two have antique furniture: the Engine Room includes a small lounge and the Coal Room includes a large unique shower; the tastefully decorated Shed Room offers a sleeper couch. All of these rooms overlook the lucerne fields where occasionally sheep may safely graze.

Rates & Summary

Khoisan Family Cottage

1 en-suite double and 1 twin bedroom
Full kitchen, dining room & patio braai
Lounge with sleeper couch

10 Double rooms

Each sleeps 2 people - see More Info


  • For pricing detail, click on CHECK AVAILABILITY & BOOK ONLINE above


Self-catering to full dining option
Hearty, healthy farm fare


The farm is great for kids.

Why Stay Here?

Ganora Guest Farm offers an abundance of things to do in a classical Karoo setting and the hospitality is second to none. The farmstead and guest cottages nestle deep in the slopes of a depression carved into the bedrock by ancient rivers in pre-historic times. The surrounding rock formations and rich fossil beds on the farm bear testimony to the events that contributed to the formation of this vast and beautiful landscape. Apart from the 'normal' range of activities, like hiking and mountain biking, interests include a fossil museum, fossil walks, a medicinal plant walk and San rock art walks. Observing the meerkats in the rehabilitation project provides hours of fun.


  • Warm hospitality that exceeds even the Karoo's reputation for friendliness
  • Geologically and historically fascinating landscape
  • Numerous activities on the farm and nearby


The cottage is perfectly private. 

Things to consider Bringing

Torch, sunblock, hat, walking shoes, swimming towel, first aid kit, mountain bike, binoculars for bird watching.
Nieu-Bethesda has no bank, credit card facilities or petrol pump, so make sure you fill up your tank and your wallet before you arrive.

Road Conditions

Normal country roads with 1km farm track approach.

Activities & Attractions

  • Hiking trails 
  • Birding
  • Canyon Walk
  • Mountain biking (bikes for hire)
  • 35km Black Route biking trail
  • Swimming in pool, river & dam
  • Stargazing 
  • San rock art
  • Fossil veld tours
  • Medicinal plant trail
  • Sheep shearing
  • Meerkat rehabilitation project
  • Photography, art & cooking courses
  • Nieu Bethesda 9km:
  • Jacob's Donkey Cart Tours
  • Kitching Fossil Exploration Centre
  • Helen Martins' Owl House & Camel Yard


Accommodation & Hospitality

  • Lounge
  • Dining table
  • Verandah / patio
  • Fireplace
  • Bed linen supplied
  • Bathroom towels supplied
  • Laundry service available
  • Self-service tea and coffee available
  • No smoking indoors

Catering & Kitchen

  • Full board
  • Licensed
  • Full Kitchen
  • Braai area available
  • Microwave oven
  • Electric stove
  • Fridge or minibar
  • Basic cleaning materials


  • Water supply good for drinking
  • Electric geysers
  • Eskom electricity

Leisure Amenities

  • Swimming pool

Business & Connectivity

  • Limited cell phone reception

Access & Convenience

  • Limited wheelchair friendliness
  • Child friendly
  • Off street parking
  • Nearest shops further than 10km
  • Nearest fuel further than 10km


  • Credit cards not accepted
  • EFT accepted




Karoo Heartland

Eastern Cape


The Karoo Heartland area lies in the Eastern Cape province, inland from the busy coastal city of Port Elizabeth. It embraces the eastern landscapes of the Great Karoo and, like the rest of this vast and semi-arid region, it is sparsely populated and little developed.

Rising in the north-west of the region are the Sneeuberg mountains. As their name suggests, the higher reaches are often draped in a blanket of snow during winter. Further east they link up with the Bankberg range. From here the landscape drops in altitude in a series of gentle slopes and rolling foothills.

For the motorist, the steep gradients are traversed via the winding roads of the Lootsberg, Naudesberg, Ouberg and Wapadsberg passes. In the south the landscape flattens out in a sweeping flat expanse, referred to as the plains of Camdeboo. In the eastern extremes the traditional Karoo scrub gives way to waving grasslands, tall slender aloes and tree-choked gorges.

Amongst the koppies and expansive plains are small rural towns like Graaff Reinet, Cradock and Nieu Bethesda. All of these are popular with visitors and well-known for their fine architecture and enduring charm. Graaff Reinet is best known for its magnificent stone church, the historic Drostdy with its colourful Stretch’s Court. It also has tranquil tree-lined streets sporting grand old houses and quaint cottages.

On its outskirts, the 19 000ha Camdeboo National Park almost encircles the town and protects the habitats and wildlife of the area. Within its boundaries stand the pillars of balancing rock that make the Valley of Desolation so intriguing. Nearby, the Sundays River flows into the Nqweba Dam.

A short drive north, at the base of the towering Kompasberg Peak, is Nieu Bethesda. Its main attractions are the Owl House with its artwork, and the mythical figures in the Camel Yard. The town is loved by seekers of tranquillity who come to escape in its rural charm and laid-back ambience.

In the east the busy, upbeat town of Cradock on the banks of the Fish River boasts a wealth of interesting architecture. The best preserved of examples form part of the well-known Tuishuise.

Each year canoeists converge on the area for the annual Fish River canoe marathon.

Cradock’s natural icon comes in the form of the Mountain Zebra National Park. This expanse was proclaimed in order to protect the endangered mountain zebra, which now number around 300 in the park. The variety of game includes cheetah, Cape buffalo and black rhinoceros. The landscape varies from rugged mountains to plateau grasslands.

Throughout the region there is a cultural richness, and strong traditions still survive in the towns and on the farms. With an extensive network of gravel back roads that lead to hidden farms and stunning views, the Karoo Heartlands is ideally suited to the explorer. It’s also home to large game lodges, 4x4 trails, hiking and mountain bike routes, fishing, and birdwatching.

Look out for

Camdeboo National Park – on the outskirts of Graaff Reinet, this 19 000ha park protects some of the low-lying plains as well as the mountainous terrain in the area. It contains the Valley of Desolation. Within its boundaries are 12 species of large game and 225 bird species. There are several hikes, varying from a 1.5 km stroll to a day walk and an overnight trail. 4x4 enthusiasts have a choice of either the Koedoeskloof or Driekoppe trails. There is a tented camp and some campsites are being developed in the park. 

The Valley of Desolation - is formed by the extraordinary geology of the mountains that create impressive dolerite rock pillars, which are easily seen from various viewpoints along the walking trails. En route to the main viewpoint a toposcope stands on a small koppie, from where there is a magnificent view of Graaff Reinet.

Mountain Zebra National Park – situated 12km from Cradock, the park nestles amongst the craggy heights of the Bankberg mountains in the far eastern area of the region. Proclaimed in 1937, the park embraces undulating plains and plunging valleys where the Cape mountain zebra was saved from extinction. Accommodation is in the restored Victorian homestead at Doornhoek (that sleeps 6), or in cottages and campsites at the main rest camp. There is an à la carte restaurant, a shop selling basic commodities, a fuel station and a swimming pool. Day visitors are welcome.

The Owl House – this iconic house was created by eccentric artist Helen Martins. It became famous by being featured in world-renowned playwright Athol Fugard’s film, ‘The Road to Mecca’. Obsessed with the interplay of light, colour and reflection, martins covered walls, ceilings, windows and other surfaces with bright paint and glass. The effect is amplified by the many candles, lamps and mirrors she collected. The Owl House is rated a premier ‘outsider art’ destination and attracts 15 000 visitors annually, from all over the world. It’s open to the public daily (except Christmas day). Opening times: 09h00-17h00 in April to September / 08h00-18h00 in October to May.

Blouwater Railway - for a rail journey with a difference give Charles Kingwill a call to book a seat on his rail van, which trundles up the 11km-long Lootsberg Railway Pass and back. He can take a maximum of 9 passengers per trip. Trips run from Monday to Saturday between 09h00 and 15h00. It takes 2 hours, and you can take your own picnic and refreshments.

Tuishuise –mention Cradock and the first places that come to mind are the historic Tuishuise. Even if you’re not planning to stay overnight (although you should), make a point of exploring Market Street where they are situated. 

When to go

To Do

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