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'''Nieu-Bethesda''' is a small villag in the [[Eastern Cape]], most well-known for the Owl House, and it's artistic community.
'''Nieu-Bethesda''' is a small village in the [[Eastern Cape]], most well-known for the Owl House, and it's artistic community.
[[Image:OwlHouse.jpg|thumb|200px|A statue at the Owl House]]
[[Image:OwlHouse.jpg|thumb|200px|A statue at the Owl House]]

Revision as of 12:13, 6 January 2009

Nieu-Bethesda is a small village in the Eastern Cape, most well-known for the Owl House, and it's artistic community.

A statue at the Owl House

Get in

From Middelburg (north) take the marked gravel road (27km).

From Graaff-Reinet (south) take the first turn off to Nieu-Bethesda - 25km gravel road.

From Cradock (east) take the Graaff-Reinet road. When at the T junction turn right towards Middelburg for 600m and then left towards Nieu-Bethesda for 27km.

Get around


  • The Owl House, +27 (0)49 841-1733, [1]. Museum open daily from 8 am to 6 pm in summer and from 9 am to 5 pm in winter. A community effort to preserve the life work of Helen Martins, a home-bred artist who turned her house into an exhibit, until her suicide in 1976. Using raw materials, like concrete and glass, she and a Bushman artist sculpted the Owl House and its garden. Entry fee R25.
  • James Kitching Fossil Interpretation Centre, +27 (0)49 841-1733. See and learn how the area looked 280 million years ago. Spot fossils in the river bed.
  • Donkey Cart tours, +27 (0)83 870-0381. Sam will take you on his donkey cart through town and will tell you all you need to know about the village. As of Jan 2009, 15-20 minute tours of the village are R30 for an adult, R10 for a child, or you can tour the township as well for double the rate. R30 for adults, R10 for children.


  • Bethesda Art Centre, +27 (0)49 841-1731/729, [2]. Art, music, dance, theatre ... visit the gallery, see a class in progress, take part in a workshop, or catch a performance at the magical open-air theatre.
  • Creche, +27 (0)49 841-1656. Visit the creche in the township.
  • Brewery. Visit the local brewery for some local beers.

There are several hiking areas around town, and biking and horse-riding opportunities as well..


  • Egbert's Book and Coffee shop.. Enjoy coffee at Egbert's while you browse through his book shop. Art also for sale.
  • Inclusive Books. Art and books.

There are numerous art shops, and local cement and other crafts can be bought from the side of the road.


Because the village is so small, most eateries require you to book in advance for anything beyond light meals. Most food includes the local karoo lamb, so vegetarian food needs to be specifically requested. Try some sheep's yoghurt or sheep's cheese, a surprisingly mild taste, and probably more palatable for most than goat's dairy.

  • Auntie Evelyn se plek, +27 (0)49 841-1780. Traditional food served with township style. Book in advance, and Auntie Evelyn will prepare a set 3-course meal for you, including "moerkoffie", which, translated politely, is very strong coffee! "Vegetarian" options include fish bobotie. It was superb, but let her know in advance if you don't eat fish. Evelyn will come and chat with you, making this an enjoyable way to meet the local community.
  • Sneeuwitjie Restaurant, +27 (0)49 841-1656. An inspiring initiative serving tasty home cooking to raise funds for the community pre-school.
  • The Brewery & 2Goat Deli, +27 (0)49 841-1602. Visit the local brewery & deli to enjoy Bethesda beer and goat cheese.
  • Waenhuis Pub & Grub, +27 (0)49 841-1627. Enjoy meals & drinks in a nice atmosphere and at a fire during winter. Big screen for rugby and other big events.



There is ample accommodation in the town, with numerous guest houses available.

  • Ganora Guestfarm, (7km from Nieu-Bethesda), +27 (0)49 841-1302 (), [3]. Choose between a cozy cottage with rustic charm that sleeps 6 has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen and lounge or Double on-suite bedrooms also in old sheep pens that has been changed into very comfortable rooms. Various activities available, mountain biking trails, birding, guided tours to Bushmen Rock Art, private fossil & artifact museum, fossil walk and you can enjoy a swim in the rockpools at the canyon walk. Transport can be arranged.
  • Owl House Backpackers, +27 (0)49 841-1642 (), [4]. Dorm beds, doubles, singles and camping are available in this bright, clean home, previously a Buddhist meditation centre.

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