courtesy of ea1494 Panomario
courtesy of Graham Hobbs Panomario
courtesy of Graham Hobbs Panomario
Graaff Reinet Holidays - Eastern Cape Tourism, Western Region
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Graaff Reinet owes its name to Governor Cornelius Jacob van de Graaff and his wife Cornelia Reinet, who founded the quaint little Eastern Cape town of Graaff Reinet in 1786. To this day, Reinet House, built in 1811 and named after Cornelia Reinet, stands in its newly renovated glory as the Graaff Reinet Museum, which is home to the famous Black Acorn grape vine, one of the largest living, fruit bearing grape vines in the world.
It is here, in the Eastern Cape, Graaf Reinet Museum complex where the Eastern Cape's past is preserved with collections which document the rich history of Graaff Reinet. Also housed in the Graaf Reinet Museum complex is the Old Library, which was opened in 1847 and operated until 1982 until it officially became part of the Graaff Reinet Museum, displaying interesting exhibits which include Bushman rock art, fossils, turn of the century clothes and William Roe's photographic study of life in Eastern Cape Graaff Reinet in the 1800's.
In keeping with the historic flavour of Graaff Reinet, the streets are lined with fine examples of well preserved 19th century Eastern Cape Cape Dutch, Victorian and Karoo architecture. Graaff Reinett has over 200 buildings claimed as National Monuments (more than any other town in South Africa), including some of the original slave cottages.
Another chunk of Eastern Cape history is still evident at the one time ‘men only’ Graaff Reinet Club (also on Church Street), which dates back to 1875. This Graaff Reinet watering hole was a favourite of the Coldstream Guards during the very bloody 2nd Anglo Boer War, and before leaving for England on 20 May 1900, the 'going away' party ended with dancing and firing shots into the bar, which have since been plugged but bear witness to the rowdy carousing.
Visitors to Graaff Reinet are warmly welcomed by the locals who still relate the tale of the Coldstream Guards, and at the Coldstream Restaurant (women also welcome), which forms part of the Graaff Reinet Club, guests feast on true Eastern Cape style fare such as venison, succulent Karoo lamb and ostrich steak. Also try the Agave Restaurant - one of the most romantic restaurants in Graaff Reinet, where creative Karoo cuisine emerges from a classical French background, producing 'French Karoo' cuisine.
Things to do in Eastern Cape, Graaff Reinet:
Eastern Cape, Graaff-Reinet Golf Club
Eastern Cape, Hester Rupert Art Museum
Eastern Cape, John Rupert Theatre
Eastern Cape, Obesa Nursery
Eastern Cape Camdeboo National Park
If you prefer your feet firmly on the ground, you will enjoy the Camdeboo National Park hikes along one of the short or long hiking trails. Bird viewing is in abundance, with sightings of over 250 Eastern Cape bird species which include ostriches, southern pale chanting goshawks, lesser honeyguides, speckled mousebirds, brown-hooded kingfishers, and of course, the mighty black eagle which soars overhead.
For the watersport enthusiast, the Nqweba Dam lying within the Eastern Cape Camdeboo National Park covers over 1 000 hectares when full, and provides 'cool' fun for the whole family with boating, canoeing and windsurfing. The avid fisherman will delight in the Nqweba Dam fish selection, as moggel, common carp, African catfish, mullet, round herring, mosquito fish and river goby are plentiful.
Travelling distances to Graaff Reinet:
...from Camdeboo National Park - 15.8km