Nieu-Bethesda: where it’s OK to be part of a mystery…


Mountains en route from Aberdeen to Graaff-Reinet and Nieu-Bethesda

I always feel excited and very privileged to travel...

I grew up in the heart of the Karoo in a little railway town called Noupoort. Traveling, for a long time in my life, consists of driving to my mom's aunts in Hanover, every second weekend and the odd once-in-two-months visit to Colesberg. And when you have to get next level medical treatment, it included a visit to Port Elizabeth via train. Which in itself was a “circus” coming to town.

I have traveled later in life to many cities and destinations, which broadened my horizons and re-framed my outlook on life... However, traveling to some rural destinations in South Africa feels like a special "spa treatment" for my soul. Especially, when you bear in mind that I grew up in a rural part of our country.

“We don’t really know this part of the country”, my wife said, as we were driving from Aberdeen, to Graaff-Reinet and eventually on to Nieu-Bethesda in the middle of July. “There are more mountains in this part of the Karoo than one imagine”.


So we stayed at Ganora Guest Farm and Experiences, seven kilometers from Nieu-Bethesda for a whole week. And we soaked up the dust and cold and vastness of the area. I must say that De Wet Cellars outside Worcester “supplied” the white and red muscadel and hanepoot for inner warmth. Beautiful.

We discovered fossils and interesting stories, walked the dusty streets of Nieu-Bethesda and explored the artists, owls, and mysteries. I was fascinated by the work of the well-known sculptor Frans Boekkooi. And at night... we watched the stars.


Sculptor Frans Boekkooi

André Cilliers' place at the Brewery and Two Goats Deli was a good stop. The scenery around the brewery is magnificent and there is always a hustle and bustle of activities on the premises. We watched the roasting of coffee beans and tasted his beers. Very good quality! Wait till he brings out the platters with goat cheeses, home baked bread and smoked pastramis…


Best craft beer (ales) this side of Sneeuberg

The world famous owl house doesn’t need and introduction. We took our time to absorb the mysteries of the woman artist Helen Martins, her house with the different colors and art forms and the garden with all the excellent sculptures of owls and camels, mermaids and wise men.


Color and mystery inside the Owl House

Do I want to live in Nieu-Bethesda? No, I don’t think so. But I need the taste, the sound and the inner-conversation with myself, when in a rural place like Nieu-Bethesda.

You should really go and stay there, for more than one night or day.

I took pictures of our experience – click here for a slide show of Nieu-Bethesda...

Deon Kitching

2 Responses

  1. Wonderful to hear how you experienced our Karoo!
    • Deon Kitching
      Thank you so much, Hester. We had a great time. Especially on Ganora Guest Farm and Experiences with you and JP.

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