Nieu-Bethesda is a small village in the Eastern Cape, most well-known for the Owl House, and it's artistic community.
Church Street in Nieu-Bethesda
A statue at the Owl House
From Middelburg (north) take the marked gravel road (27km).
From Graaff-Reinet (south) take the first turn off to Nieu-Bethesda - 25km tarred 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.
- 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.
- Ganora Excursions, ☎ +27 (0)49 841-1302, . Guided tours are offered to San and Khoi shelters found on Ganora farm, where rock art dating back to 10 000 years ago can be viewed. The farm’s private museum also houses a collection of Bushman artifacts and fossils, while guided fossil walks are available if bookings are made in advance.
- Kitchining Fossil Exploration Centre, ☎ +27 (0)49 849-1733. The Kitching Fossil Exploration Centre showcases the rich fossil deposits found at Nieu-Bethesda and in South Africa in general. The centre was established as part of a collaborative programme between the Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, the Albany Museum in Grahamstown and the Department of Science and Technology to set up palaeotourism and provide employment opportunities.
- The Owl House, ☎ +27 (0)49 841-1733, . 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.
- Bethesda Art Centre, ☎ +27 (0)49 841-1731/729, . 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.
- The Two-Goats Brewery & Deli, ☎ +27 (0)49 841-1602. Enjoy homebrewed ale, fresh goat’s cheese and homemade bread under the trees at our micro brewery and deli. You can also meet the goats who provide the cheese, a couple of cows, ducks and a peacock or two. Take a tour in the brewery and cheese factory.
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 eetplek, ☎ +27 (0)49 841-1780. Traditional food served with township style. Book in advance, and Antie 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.
- Allemann se Huisie, ☎ +27 (0)49 841-1642 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)49 841-1657), . This cottage is a self-catering garden cottage with twin beds, suitable for two guests. It also features a kitchenette and en suite bathrooms, as well as a braai area.
- Ganora Guestfarm, (7km from Nieu-Bethesda), ☎ +27 (0)49 841-1302 ([email protected]), . 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 ([email protected]), . Dorm beds, doubles, singles and camping are available in this bright, clean home, previously a Buddhist meditation centre.
- Rustpunt, Agatha Street, ☎ +27 (0)72 635-8531 ([email protected]), . Self catering cottage with beautiful mountain views open spaces and forest views, very quiet and peaceful. 1 Very comfortable cottage with kingsize/twin bed, bathroom, fully equipped kitchen,electric blankets, wall heater, fan, large veranda with braai facilities. 1 luxury double room en-suite (double bed)and bathroom part of the main house not self catering with coffee and tea facilities, breakfast on request, private entrance, veranda with beautiful open spaces and mountain views.