Graaff-Reinet in the Camdeboo

Did you know that Graaff-Reinet is the fourth oldest town in South Africa – after Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Swellendam? The town was the centre of the most short-lived republic in the 1800’s.

The word Camdeboo, derived from the Khoi word meaning ‘green pool’ or ‘green hippo pool’ (from the Khoi Cam-/Kam – ‘green’ and –debo(o) ‘pool, hippo pool’), has become synonymous with a sense of magical mystery.  It was first popularised in Eve Palmer’s book ‘The Plains of Camdeboo’, published in 1966 and stretches from the south of the Sneeuberg to as far as Pearston and Murraysburg.

Surrounded by the Camdeboo National Park, Graaff-Reinet, the heart of the ‘Great Karoo’ – Place of Thirst – is a boundless and mysterious area covered by vast livestock and game farms, where broad plains roll away to distant koppies and multi-layered mountains that seem to touch the indigo sky.

Listen to the silence, breathe in the aged earth and the Karoo bossies (which conjure up the taste of Karoo lamb!), and gaze at a startling clear horizon that seems drawn at the other end of the earth.  Our clear night skies are studded with countless stars and huge bright planets; even other galaxies are visible with the naked eye, offering some of the best star gazing in the world.

We invite you to experience the magic of this area, discover eccentric little hamlets, sprawling farmsteads, the historical town of Graaff-Reinet and the nearby villages of Aberdeen and Nieu Bethesda, populated by warm and welcoming people that love to share their stories and legends.


  • The Valley of Desolation
  • The Camdeboo National Park
  • Historical Museums in Graaff-Reinet (Reinet House, Old Library Museum, Hester Rupert Museum)
  • Obesa Cactus and Succulent Garden