Graaff Reinet, Eastern Cape, South Africa

The Gem of the Karoo and the fourth oldest European town in South Africa, Graaff-Reinet is lying in a bend of the Sundays River and in the shadow of the rocky Sneeuberg. There are many good hotels and guest houses in Graaff-Reinet as well as a beautiful campground directly at the Sundays River.

This Karoo town is a little out of the way, so it's not included on most itineraries. This is a pity, as it's one of the Eastern Cape's most interesting settlements. Pretty much a cultural and erudite destination, this lovely town has a surprising number of art galleries, museums, monuments and magnificent buildings.

Other fascinating attractions include the Hester Rupert Art Museum, a number of museums set up in stately homes. There is also a fascinating collection of Cape Silver in the magnificent sandstone Dutch Reformed Church, which dominates the town with its central location and high steeple.

More than 200 buildings in Graaff-Reinet are National Monuments. A horse and carriage ride offers an introduction to the well maintained Cape-Dutch architecture of this historic place. It is also recommended to visit the Reinet House in Murray Street, the Old Residency in Parsonage Street, the Old Library and the Drostdy in Church Street.

Graaff-Reinet is situated on the N9, which links the Garden Route town of George with the N1 at Colesberg, and thence to Johannesburg. Graaff-Reinet is about 300km from George and 800km from Johannesburg.