Cradled in a crook of the Sundays River, to the approaching traveller, Graaff-Reinet seems like a verdant oasis in the stark surrounding landscape, Yet, practically every visitor remarks on its unique old-world character.
Graaff-Reinet is home to more national monuments than any other town or city in South Africa. Round every corner a piece of our history is revealed to interested visitors. A short stroll down Cradock Street will reveal more than 50 of these historic homes.
Take a walk back in time down Parsonage Street in the centre of town. On the western end is the seat of the former Dutch authority of the Cape (Drostdy Hotel), while facing it at the eastern end lies the erstwhile ecclesiastical power. Now known as Reinet House museum, it forms part of a museum complex of four historic buildings. The imposing stone structure of the Grootkerk at the northern end of Church Street overlooks the commercial hub of the town.
Art lovers meander through town and visit the Hester Rupert Museum, home to one of the best collections of 60's and 70's South African paintings, sculpture and graphics - Irma Stern, Alexis Preller, Maggie Laubscher, Judith Mason, Cecil Skotness and Walter Battis to name but a few of the "greats". Or visit the Pierneef Museum in Middle Street where the collection of Johannesburg Station panels are on permanent display. For collectors of art and antiques, Windmill Junction offers surprises wherever your eye wanders. From shabby chic furniture to yellow-wood cabinets, collectibles, fine art from local artists, deli foods and sauces from local suppliers.
For the energetic Graaff-Reinet offers a wide range of activities including bowls, clay pigeon shooting, horse riding trails, mountain-biking, squash, tennis and micro-light flights. There is also a very competitive nine hole golf course with excellent greens for the golf enthusiasts.
Nature lovers will be delighted to discover that Graaff-Reinet is uniquely surrounded by the Karoo Nature Reserve which is a mecca for hikers, photographers and students of flora and fauna. Included in this reserve is the famous and awe-inspiring Valley of Desolation as well as the peak Uitkyk, from which paragliding enthusiasts from all over the world come to share the thermals of the vast Karoo skies with the resident Black Eagles.