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LOCAL TIME: 04:59 am | Wednesday, 22 September
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Nieu-Bethesda, Karoo Heartland, Eastern Cape

Hidden away for many years in a valley in the Sneeuberg Mountains, the peculiarly charming little village of Nieu-Bethesda is today a haven for artists and those whose souls thrive on breathtaking scenery and country simplicity.

This country ‘dorpie’ has been much written about, and descriptions range from ‘irrisistable’ (Getaway magazine) to ‘eternally unchanging’ (Getaway again) to ‘donkey carts are the cleanest way to travel’ (Sunday Times).

The lush valley the town sits in, is fed by the Gats river and a mountain spring, and presents a cool, green contrast to the surrounding Karoo landscape. The town is so small that it is a sightseeing destination in its entirety, and it is best described according to ‘doesn’t have’ and ‘does have’:

What the dorpie doesn’t have: a petrol station,  tarred roads, a bank, credit card facilities, stress, unfriendly people in a hurry who ignore you on the street, pollution.

What it does have: mountain scenery, trees, donkeys, friendly locals, clean air, a water mill, artists, the Frans Boekkoi Sculpture Studio, the Kitching Fossil Exploration Centre…and a mad little spot called The Owl House.

The Owl house is Nieu-Bethesda’s most famous attraction, and was initially responsible for revealing the existence of this sleepy village, and for the fact that Nieu-Bethesda, with a resident population of around 1000 people, also now has thirteen guesthouses, two restaurants, two art galleries, and a pub.

Note: There is cell-phone reception in Nieu-Bethesda (we think) but cell phones are light-heartedly discouraged unless absolutely necessary.

Getting there: Nieu-Bethesda lies 50km north of Graaf Reinet and is accessed off the N9 (R61). From Graaff Reinet take the N9 north, turnng left after 27.5km. Follow the signs.

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