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Nieu-Bethesda

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Dec 15, 2021

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

Church Street in Nieu-Bethesda
A statue at the Owl House

. . . Nieu-Bethesda . . .

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

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

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

  • Donkey Cart tours, +27 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. In Jan 2009, 15-20 minute tours of the village were 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 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 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 49 841-1733. Museum open daily from 8AM to 6PM in summer and from 9AM to 5PM 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. 

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