Graaff-Reinet is the fourth oldest town in South Africa. It also boasts more national monuments than any other town in South Africa and has a whopping 220 heritage sites. The town has many famous sons of which Anton Rupert is probably best known. The founder of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) Robert Sobukwe is another. All this from a place that really sits in the middle of a very unpopulated part of the Great Karoo.
The town itself is enclosed by the Camdeboo National Park. In that park is the “Valley of Desolation” lookout point, which really is a good place to start your tour of the town, as you can see the town in its entirety from a lookout point close it, especially the way that the Sondagsrivier makes a horseshoe around the town. Most of the historical sites are on the inside of this horse shoe.
The Mayor Daantjie Jafta welcomed me at the historic Drosdy hotel for scones and tea before we headed to the Valley of Desolation lookout point. From here we went for a braai at Reinet house, which is one of the most prominent museums in town. Over a hundred guests welcomed us on the stoep and whilst listening to live Jazz music we drank some local ‘withond’, pure distilled alcohol made right there at the museum. It was an elobaratedly staged event, perfectly coordinated by local tourism pivot Chantelle Marais, with various courses and treats from the area being served throuout the afternoon and evening. Pierre Els from Mirino butchery (049 892 6111) supplied some of the delicious lamb chops for the evening, and the local ostrich and sheep farmers showcased how good their products really are. I can honestly say that it was the best ostrich that I had in my life. A combination of meat quality and braai quality (by a local chef) I guess.
Thank you Mountain View Guest House for hosting us in your B&B that evening. (http://www.safarinow.com/go/AMountainViewGuesthouse/)