For More Affordable Places to Stay in Graaff-Reinet, Try Self-catering
Many of those who are unfamiliar with this quaint Karoo town might actually wonder why, affordable or otherwise, anyone would be looking for a place to stay in Graaff-Reinet unless, of course, they are headed further afield and are simply in need of a break from the driving and some refreshment. In fact, they would be doing the town a grave injustice. Just for a start, as only the fourth town to be established by the early settlers in the Cape of Good Hope, it occupies a unique and well-deserved place in the annals of South Africa’s history.
Founded in 1786 by the Dutch East India Company, the town’s name derives from that of the governor of the Cape Colony who, at that time, was one Cornelis Jacob van der Graaff, and his wife’s name – Reinet. Its chequered history began just nine years later when the town’s burghers unseated the landdrost and proclaimed the region an independent colony. However, its independence was short-lived, cut short by the British who invaded and ruled the Cape and its four settlements before returning ownership to the Netherlands in 1803.
These events and a great many more are chronicled in the museums and their heroes commemorated in the monuments of Graaff-Reinet and some of the other Karoo towns that followed. Together with its role in the Great Trek and Boer Wars, they serve to explain a little of what now motivates so many visitors to seek an affordable place in which to stay for a couple of days in this small but memorable community.
Quite apart from its colourful history, the town’s location also provides a powerful draw for the country’s nature lovers. Almost completely encircling the town is a national park that occupies some 194 km2 of the Karoo and is the twenty-second of its kind to be established in South Africa. Known as the Camdeboo National Park, after a Khoikhoi word meaning a green hollow or valley, among its most stunning physical features are the towering dolerite columns, formed by vulcanism and erosion over millions of years, that dominate the aptly named Valley of Desolation.
The park offers plenty of opportunity for recreation including trails for hikers to explore and others to challenge the skills of 4×4 enthusiasts. For the wildlife lovers, the region is home to numerous varieties of buck, including red hartebeest and klipspringer, as well as the threatened Cape mountain zebra. Picnic spots galore and a dam where visitors can enjoy boating, fishing, and windsurfing provide even more excellent reasons why affordable places to stay in Graaff-Reinet are now in such demand.
One of the ways that many tourists choose to economise is to see to their own meals and just pay for their room. In this Karoo town, there are quite a number of self-catering guest houses from which to choose but, for sheer luxury at a price that one can easily afford, there are none to compare with KarooRus. Consisting of six air-conditioned apartments and a separate self-contained flatlet, each with its own private entrance, the facilities include an en-suite bathroom, breakfast nook, a fully-equipped kitchenette, and DStv. Secure off-street parking and a stone’s throw to some of the best restaurants in town are the cherry on top.