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LOCAL TIME: 03:36 pm | Friday, 12 April
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Graaff Reinet, Karoo Heartland, Eastern Cape

Dutch Reform Church in Graaff Reinet - just one of the towns's beautiful old churchesGraaff-Reinet is one of the oldest towns in South Africa and the oldest in the Eastern Cape, and is full of beautifully restored and maintained churches and examples of old Cape Dutch architecture – all heritage homes.

As a heritage destination, it’s hard to beat – with over 220 heritage homes, churches, building and monuments in and around the town – making Graaff Reinet nothing less than a ‘living museum’.

There are four museums in Graaff-Reinet that also exhibit smaller items of the town and area’s heritage – from 1820 Settler and Boer War memorabilia, to fossils discovered in the surrounding Karoo and in the Valley of Desolation. The cultural heritage on display here is not just the Afrikaner heritage however; the life and story of legendary Pan African Congress Founder and Apartheid Freedom Fighter Robert Sobukwe is also displayed.

Outside of the town, nature beckons. Backed by the Sneeuberg Mountains and surrounded by the Camdeboo National Park and the more arid semi-desert beyond, Graaff Reinet is a scenic oasis in an awe-inspiring landscape that offers many opportunities for outdoor leisure and adventure activities. Don’t miss the Valley of Desolation in the Camdeboo National Park.

Graaff-Reinet is in the centre of a sheep farming area (at least what isn’t part of the Camdeboo), and the locals are known for their warmth and friendliness – characteristic among those with deep roots in the beautiful, open but often arid and unforgiving Karoo Heartland.

Getting there: Graaff-Reinet lies on the N9 National road between Aberdeen and Middleburg. From Cape Town take the N1 east, from Johannesburg take the N1south to Colesburg. From PE there are a no of routes, but the quickest is via the R75.

For more information on the Eastern Cape, visit ShowMe Eastern Cape.

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