Eastern Cape, South Africa
Where history and Karoo Hospitality meet.
One of the Smart Team’s absolute favourite things to do is travel. Yes, we love experiencing the wonders to be found abroad BUT we also ADORE the vibrant and charming gems of our very own beautiful country, South Africa.
At the top of our MUST-see beloved local gems is Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape.
Set in a curl of the Sundays River, the Karoo town of Graaff-Reinet is the fourth oldest settlement in South Africa and has seen more than two centuries of travellers, adventurers and prospectors pass through it’s picturesque streets.
Established in 1786, this delightful heritage town is the only “dorp” in South Africa that is virtually surrounded by a national park – the Camdeboo National Park, which is home to the world-renowned Valley of Desolation. The town has over 220 heritage sites which is more than any other town in South Africa and has examples of magnificent Cape Dutch Victorian and Karoo Arichitecture.
With a stunning array of gorgeous deli’s and restaurants to choose from you’re definitely spoiled for choice in Graaff-Reinet!
- Polka in Somerset Street offers heavenly freshly baked breads and irresistible pastries. Delicious hamburgers, thin-based pizzas and authentic Karoo dishes such as sweet lamb chops and slow-roasted leg of lamb. *Our favourite is the delicious fig and brie thin-based pizza.
- Also not to be missed is the 5-star luxury boutique Drostdy Hotel built in 1806 and situated on the historic town’s main thoroughfare, Church Street. Every meal at the hotel’s De Camdeboo restaurant is a taste of the Karoo itself. Local venison, ostrich and the famous Karoo lamb feature prominently and are infused with the flavours of fynbos, wild rosemary and thyme that grow on the surrounding Camdeboo plains.
- Enjoy a delicious cuppa or artisan G&T at Maria’s Coffee Roastery in Somerset street.
- Also, we highly recommend a stop at the De Camdeboo Wijnkamer (wine shop) at the gorgeous Drostdy Hotel which offers an excellent selection of the best wines across South Africa at cellar prices.
- Another local Graaff-Reinet gem to absolutely take note of the the newly opened The Muller House restaurant & bar in Muller street offering scrumptious cuisine and an exceptional wine bar.
We love the delightful sights and sounds of the Karoo. Tranquil, historic and simply beautiful.
- Gaze in awe at the breath-taking views on top of the Valley of Desolation in Camdeboo National Park and watch the sun go down over the Plains of Camdeboo. *A memorable experience!
- Admire the architecture of the magnificent Victorian Gothic Dutch Reformed Church (Groot Kerk), which looks a lot like Britain’s Salisbury Cathedral. A local farmer cut, prepared and donated all the stone for this great building.
- Visit Stretch’s Court at the Drostdy Hotel, a picturesque restored street of Karoo cottages with brightly painted shutters and doors as well as the
- Reinet House Museum, a Cape Dutch building, formerly the Dutch Reformed Church parsonage
- Check out the biggest Cacti collection on the planet and walk the fascinating succulent plant labyrinth at Obesa Nursery.
Loren Battersby for Loren Battersby Photography
*Sources: eatout.com, Wikipedia.com