Graaff-Reinet is a peaceful town in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. Known as the “Gem of the Karoo", it is the fourth oldest town in South Africa, characterised by warm friendly people, historic 19th century architecture, rolling hills, and vast open plains. Scroll down to browse our list of idyllic Graaff-Reinet accommodation.
Graaff-Reinet, named after the founder, then governor, Cornelius Jacob van de Graff and his wife Cornelia Reinet, features some of the most magnificent examples of Cape Dutch architecture. The vibrant past is preserved in four museums, with collections of photographic memorabilia, firearms, artworks, and ancient fossils that trace the history of the Karoo and Graaff-Reinet up to the present day.
More than 200 buildings in Graaff-Reinet are National Monuments, offering a touch of history in every nook and cranny. There are more heritage sites in Graaff-Reinet than in any other town in South Africa. Take a horse and carriage ride through the historic town and be introduced to the Reinet House, the Old Residency, the Old Library, and the Drostdy. National monuments in Graaff-Reinet such as the Gideon Scheepers Memorial, Anglo Boer War Memorial, The War Memorial, The Huguenot Monument, and the Krugersdorp Monument are well worth a visit – and a photograph.
Graaff-Reinet, lying under the shadow of the picturesque Sneeuberg Mountain, is surrounded by the Camdeboo National Park and an abundance of sheep and game farms. Camdeboo, meaning “green valley" is a 14,000 hectare reserve stocked with zebra, kudu, mountain rhebuck, wildebeest, and springbok, as well as numerous bird species. Visitors to the park should not miss out on viewing the Nqweba Dam and the Valley of Desolation, providing some of the best examples of jointed pillars formed by dolerites, some rising to 120 metres. This “cathedral of mountainsâ€ offers many Graaff-Reinet visitors an incredible spiritual experience.
The rural town of Graaff-Reinet offers a place where one can enjoy the silence and the starry night sky without many of the city’s distractions. The area offers some of the best star gazing in the world, with clear night skies studded with countless stars and bright planets easily visible with the naked eye.
Graaff-Reinet holds claim to fossils of some of the earliest forms of one-celled life discovered here, indicating life existed in this region for three billion years. The richness of pre-dinosaur fossils in the Graaff-Reinet region is world-renowned, attracting researchers, archaeologists, and palaeontologists from around the world.
Other activities to enjoy in Graaff-Reinet include trout fishing, birding, hiking, paragliding, and specialised tours for game viewing, rock art, fossil studies, and township walkabouts. While you’re in Graaff-Reinet, be sure to taste traditional Karoo lamb, visit the Dutch Reformed Church (the only one in South Africa to have a chimney and a kitchen), and play a round of golf at Graaff-Reinet Golf Course.
Experience the magic of Graaff-Reinet by booking one of the following charming accommodations.