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Nieu Bethesda is a mountain village 55 kilometres to the north of Graaff-Reinet, in a valley with the Kompassberg, South Africa’s highest free standing mountain as a backdrop. It was established by the Dutch Reformed Church in 1875 and given a biblical name by the Rev Charles Murray of Graaff-Reinet.

In the twentieth century it began to wither as people left the rural areas. It was so quiet with so little traffic that the council leased certain streets for growing potatoes. During this time one inhabitant, Helen Maartins, began creating fantastic concrete sculptures in her house and yard, often of owls. She changed the interior of her little house by embedding crushed glass into the walls to bring in more light. The community sometimes looked askance at her eccentric activities. She committed suicide in 1974 because of her failing eyesight but her creations saved her village.

The old church hall at Nieu Bethesda The dry river bed through the village Nieu Bethesda is an area rich in fossils

The playwright Athol Fugard wrote a play about her life called "The Road To Mecca", which was later filmed.  People then flocked there to see her house, known as the “Owl House” and discovered that there is a lot more to Nieu Bethesda, such as the stunning setting, the streets lined with pear trees, the beautiful church and the dry river bed where fossils  can be found.

Nieu Bethesda Map

@Nieu-Bethesda Accommodation
@Nieu-Bethesda Accommodation
@Nieu-Bethesda offers a variety of affordable B+B and self-catering accommodation throughout the tranquil village. Large groups and campers can also be accommodated. All meals are available at “The Karoo Lamb” with an emphasis on...
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Aandster Accommodation
Aandster Accommodation
A bright, comfortable old Karoo house - Aandster is stylishly furnished, well equipped for self-catering and decorated with original art works. Aandster can accommodate up to 12 guests.
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Ganora Guest Farm, Camping, and Excursions Accommodation
Ganora Guest Farm, Camping, and Excursions Accommodation
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Ganora Guest Farm, just outside the village of Nieu Bethesda, in a beautiful setting in the foothills of the Sneeuberge, offers accommodation in four quaint buildings, each part and parcel of the history of the farm. Guided tours:Fossil; Rock Art;...
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The Owlhouse Backpackers Nieu Bethesda Accommodation
The Owlhouse Backpackers Accommodation
A quiet, cosy lodge in an established Nieu Bethesda garden, the Owlhouse Backpackers reflects one of its previous lives as the Buddist meditation centre. Take with a dip with the goldfish in the dam, hire bikes to explore Nieu Bethesda or hike in...
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The Water Tower Nieu Bethesda Accommodation
The Water Tower Accommodation
A circular double-story with an interesting past, the Water Tower sits in a pleasant garden in the heart of Nieu Bethesda. This quirky building was first a water tower and then a Buddhist meditation room. With whitewashed walls and wooden floors, it...
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Cape coastal accommodation with West2Wild Coast

 

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