Karoopark Guest House
Tel: +27 49 892 2557
Fax: +27 49 892 5730
Email: info@karoopark.co.za

Fact File


Graaff-Reinet ~ the Gem of the Karoo

Did you know?
  • Graaff-Reinet is home to more national monuments than any other town in South Africa.
  • Many private dwellings have been restored to their original form and Graaff-Reinet can boast with over 200 homes proclaimed as national monuments.

  • The Graaff-Reinet colony was established in 1786 after farms belonging to Dirk Coetzee were purchased on which to establish the village.
  • It is the oldest town in the Eastern Cape Province
  • The town is named after Cornelis Jacob van de Graaf, former Dutch governor and his wife Cornelia Reynet.
  • It was the fourth district to be proclaimed in South Africa

    Hence it received a seat of local government. The property is now utilized for hotel accommodation. However the attempt to secure government authority turned out to be difficult since the self-assured citizens resisted any supervision.

  • Graaff-Reinet was even proclaimed an autonomous republic in 1795.
    This endeavour failed due to the arrival of the English at the Cape that same year.
  • From the mid 1800's the town became known as a bustling trade center and it became a certain stopover for travellers to the interior.
  • In the mid-nineteenth century it was one of the starting points for the exodus of the Voortrekkers.
  • When the Boer War broke out at the end of the 19th century, the citizens of Graaff-Reinet fought on the side of the Boers.
  • The town is also known for its irrigation furrows that were first laid out in the 1820's by the Landdrost, Andries Stockenström.
  • Extensive vineyards existed at that time, and Graaff-Reinet was well-known as a wine and brandy producing area. Here ostrich farming had a vigorous start and the Camdeboo farming region became popular with the Cape Town butchers long before the town was actually established.
  • The broad streets of Graaff-Reinet are due to the fact that ox wagons needed enough space to turn.
  • Graaff-Reinet has retained much of the character of a 19th century rural town. With its painstakingly restored buildings, its monuments and historic associations, it's virtually a living museum.
  • The town lies 759m above sea level.
  • Graaff-Reinet's climate varies extensively over the seasons. Summer: Hot weather with average temperatures of 31°C. Winter: Cool but dry with average temperatures of 6,1°C.
  • Graaff-Reinet now has a population of over 44,000 people.
  • Some interesting tidbits on Graaff-Reinet that is worth reading.