Situated on the N9 between Middelburg and Aberdeen, Graaff Reinet lies in a crook of the Sundays River. The town is overlooked by Spandaukop, and the foothills of the Sneeuberg and Banksberg mountains.
Most of the countryside surrounding the town lies within the boundaries of the Camdeboo National Park. The park is home to the Valley of Desolation, a famous landmark of the region. Just west of the town is the Nqweba Dam.
At the top end of the busy main street stand 2 icons of the town, the historic Drostdy Hotel and the magnificent Dutch Reformed Church. The real beauty of the town, however, lies along the backstreets. Here grand old houses and charming cottages vie for attention with African flame and jacaranda trees.
Look out for
The Valley of Desolation – situated in the 19 000ha Camdeboo National Park, this is probably the town’s biggest attraction. The scenic drive from here to the summit of the mountain affords spectacular views over the Karoo plains and of Graaff Reinet. En route to the main viewpoint, a toposcope stands on a small koppie.
Camdeboo National Park – the park offers visitors the chance to see 12 species of large game and 225 bird species. There are several hikes of varying distances.
Architecture – Graaff Reinet has a heritage of beautiful buildings that are considered the pinnacle of Cape Dutch architecture.
Dutch Reformed Church - this is the actual town’s main icon. Completed in 1887, it is one of the most beautiful churches in the country.
Museums – these showcase collections of fossils, contemporary art, historic photos, antique furniture and more. Reinet House is part of this 4-museum complex, and is a favourite for its doll collection and period furniture. The other 3 are Urquhart House, with its peach pip kitchen floor; The Old Library with its fossils, photos and clothing collections; and The Old Residency with its gun display. Tickets for one or all can be bought at any of the 4 museums.
Hester Rupert Art gallery - is considered to house one of the most representative South African art collections in the country. The 32 famous Johannesburg Station panels - painted by well-known artist, Pierneef, in the early 1930s - are on display in the Old Missionary Church in Middle Street.
Obesa Cacti and Succulent Nurseries - spread over 13 plots (6ha in total) outside of town. The nurseries are home to 4 000 species of these fascinating plants.