The Dutch Reformed church dominates the skyline of Graaff-Reinet

Graaff-Reinet is a town in Karoo Heartland.


Graaff-Reinet was established in 1786 and is the 4th oldest town in South Africa and the oldest town in the Eastern Cape Province. It was established to bring law & order, religion and education to the many Dutch farmers on the Eastern Frontier. It was named after the then Dutch East Indian Company Governor of the Cape, Cornelius Jacob van der Graaff, and his wife Cornelia, whose maiden name was Reinet. The town is renowned for its architectural heritage and at 220 sites, has more national monuments than any other town in South Africa. It was once one of the largest centres in the Cape Colony, as it was on the direct route to the minefields of the interior. Today it still functions as an important farming centre with the raising of Merino sheep, Angora goats, ostriches and game being the main activities in this area of the eastern Great Karoo. It is also well known for the nearby Valley of Desolation, which today forms part of the newly established Camdeboo National Park of about 15,000ha.

Get in

Get around

Graaff is small enough to get around the centre on foot. You can arrange tours to the Valley of Desolation using one of the agencies near the church.


The Valley of Desolation

The old town centre architecture is well-preserved and you can actually feel the Karoo-atmosphere there.

was once saved from demolition by the Rembrandt Corporation and was named after the mother of Anton Rupert, who was the head of the corporation at that time.


The Reinet House Museum


Most shops are located in Church and Caledon Streets around the Dutch Reformed Church which is in the center of town. On the corner of Parsonage and Church Streets are two little shops called Out of Africa and African Adventure which are both jam-packed with all kinds of curios. McNaughton's Bookshop near to Absa Bank in Church Street has a wide selection of tourist maps, guide books and general information about the area. They also carry a large range of new books with some Africana.


For the best meals in Graaff-Reinet visit:


The Graaff-Reinet Club


The Drosdy Hotel
Graaff-Reinet seen from above.

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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, August 20, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.