Why “dear ol'”? Because it’s one of South Africa’s oldest towns, after Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Swellendam. I didn’t know that. I Google and Wiki gives me information. 😊
Graaff-Reinet is a small old town in the Eastern Cape. We were there only for a night’s rest on our way from Johannesburg to George so apart from a quick sigh-seeing – if you can call going to town sight-seeing – we didn’t really experience the town. Perhaps we can stay longer next time as I found out here that it isn’t as boring a small town as I thought it was. We had concluded that it was just a town where travelers stop to rest for the night but it is quite an interesting little place after all.
I guess the popularity of a tourist place is reflected on the number of lodging facilities. There are, of course, little towns with many accommodation options because they are the most sensible stops during a long road trip. Perhaps, presence of at least one of the hotel groups or chains is the better indication of the “attractiveness-to-tourists” of small towns. I didn’t see that in Graaff-Reinet. However, the town does have quite a variety available to travelers.
My father found ours via Sleeping Out. I suppose I trust the likes of Sleeping Out because they have been around for many years. Word of caution to travelers if paying in advance is to pay to Sleeping Out and not directly to the lodge. Some people have lost money paying directly to a “pretend lodge owner” who doesn’t even have a room to let for the night. In fact, we almost got conned like that for our accommodation in George/Wilderness. Fortunately, my habits as an Accountant insist on bank account details in writing, with proof of such details.
Back to Graaff-Reinet, our “home for the night” was Kingfisher Guesthouse. For 4 adults and 1 toddler, it was R1,400.00 for the night. It was a huge room, with the main area furnished with a double bed and the other sleeping area had 2 single beds. Hubby was going to follow-up 2 days later so my parents claimed the main area and my son and I had the 2 single beds. My toddler normally sleeps with hubby and me anyway and we fit comfortably on that small bed. There was one huge bathroom, with a hand-held shower in the bath. The whole look was homey and there were little interesting things in the room so it is definitely better than a cold road lodge room from a hotel chain.
It was a pity that there was no air-conditioning and the electric fans provided hardly helped. We were there on a hot summer night. We couldn’t really leave the windows open, not only for safety and security, but because of mosquitoes. At least they provided the room with Peaceful Sleep spray to keep the insects away. Otherwise, our overall experience was “good enough”, to quote my father when he gave feedback to the owner.
The owners were fine. The man/husband seemingly friendlier than the woman/wife as he really tried to convince us to have a braai (barbecue) for supper. My mother, however, insisted that we didn’t need to mingle and we ate in the room. There was Steers at our last fuel stop and we bought a whole roast chicken. My father and my son went to Graaff-Reinet town to grab some necessities after we checked in. Luckily, the town didn’t sleep early and they found a grocery store that was open even at about 8pm.
Their brief trip to town showed them that it wasn’t only a stop for a snooze halfway to our destination. My son was adamant that we needed to do a touristy thing and see town before leaving in the morning. (He did have another motive – play Pokemon Go and take over some gyms. *laugh*)
And to town we went but only after I took some pictures of the B&B.
The town isn’t big at all, I suppose, or maybe we just didn’t check all of it. We didn’t have a lot of time to go around the town as we needed to be at the George Airport by 1pm. No matter how short a time we had, I still found the beauty that’s available.
Graaff-Reinet has the most beautiful NG Kerk I have seen to date! (See image below for what “NG” is; Kerk is Afrikaans for Church.) Basically, it’s the Dutch Reformed Church. This happens to be Hubby’s church. Unfortunately for him, he was not going to stop here but in Colesberg.
Here are the rest of the many pictures I took of the Church. I am posting them as individual images as I’d like to show off its beauty.
Picture below was taken from the other side. I love those trees!
And here’s another lovely building across the church. I think this is the municipal building. We couldn’t find the entrance so this is all I have.
The rest of the town doesn’t seem to belong to the modern world and it’s really cool. I love its old rustic feel. It’s a delightful departure from my hustling and bustling city jungle. What a wonderful welcome indeed!
And here we are, being the tourists that we are. 🙂
See you in the Garden Route next! I’m thinking — my new favorite place, Thesen Islands in Knysna.